World Book Night

As part of World Book Night, The City Adventurers took part in a book reading event that was organised by the local library service.

We were not told in advance what book had been chosen, so turned up not knowing what to expect. in our case, the book chosen was Those People Next Door by Kia Abdullah. As this event was replicated across the country, different library services may have been offering different books.

Those People Next Door by Kia Abdullah

It is described online as a twisty, page-turning courtroom drama and suspenseful legal thriller to keep you up at night. Instead of the full book, we were each supplied with a “Quick Read” copy of the book. We had the choice of reading it alone or reading it as a group. We chose the group reading. At the end of each chapter the narrator gave us points to discuss based on the story so far.

The book is split into sections. The first part covers Salma Khatun and her family moving to a new house and meeting the neighbours. Assumptions are made on both sides and things quickly deteriorate with the people next door. The end of this section culminates with a shocking incident. Part two is set five months later and covers the ensuing court case. Part three is an epilogue section examining what happens following the trial.

As we only had a limited time to read, we only got through the first six chapters together and had to finish the book on our own.

A number of people on the night felt the story concentrated on racism. Indeed, the public forum discussions were quick to pick up on the racial undertones, although the narrator pointed out the initial comments made by the characters could be class based prejudice rather than race.

As the story continues it becomes clear that assumptions are being made on both sides. As previous experiences and past hurts come into play, the bad relationship between the couples quickly escalates into full-blown acts of revenge and retaliation and racial comments.

Personally I think this story should come with a trigger warning for anyone who has suffered a major dispute with a neighbour. Any major dispute, not necessarily race related. By concentrating on the racist comments, the revenge and retaliation aspects of the book are overlooked and these can cause intense stress and anxiety, regardless of race. The book is powerfully written and certainly is a “thriller to keep you up at night”. It’s ability to trigger can be especially problematic if you are are reading and discussing it with a group of strangers!

A toxic story, that is thought provoking and balanced. The book is well written and it is easy to see why it was made Thriller of the Month by Waterstones.

The full book of Those People Next Door by Kia Abdullah is available from Amazon and City Adventurers Solve The Murder Bookshop.

Those People Next Door: A Quick Reads short story 2024 is also available from Amazon and City Adventurers Solve The Murder Bookshop

The City Adventurers love reading about mystery, so we’ve started our own book club. Click here to join! 

Join the Solve The Murder Book Club

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