Kia Abdullah: Truth Be Told

This review is written with thanks to HQ for my copy of Truth Be Told via Netgalley.


Kamran Hadid feels invincible. He attends Hampton school, an elite all-boys boarding school in London, he comes from a wealthy family, and he has a place at Oxford next year. The world is at his feet. And then a night of revelry leads to a drunken encounter and he must ask himself a horrific question.

With the help of assault counsellor, Zara Kaleel, Kamran reports the incident in the hopes that will be the end of it. But it’s only the beginning…

Powerful, explosive and important, Truth Be Told is a contemporary courtroom drama that vividly captures today’s society. You will not stop thinking about it for a long time to come.


Take It Back was one of my top reads of 2019, so I was excited to see what Kia Abdullah would do with her second novel. I was pleased to see Zara Kaleel again: it’s clear from Truth Be Told that she still has some unresolved issues, and I cared about her as much as the characters involved in the court case. Despite her being from a different background to me, I found her very easy to relate to and her determination and compassion makes her a very convincing central character.

Kia Abdullah does not shy away from difficult issues in Truth Be Told. I really appreciated the opportunity to learn more about the subjects that arise in this novel. She gives us a valuable, yet incredibly sensitive insight into Muslim culture, and addresses the extremely important issue of consent in a way which is accessible to all readers, allowing us to consider for ourselves the implications of the events of the novel upon everyone involved.

I’m told that a trial is usually a long, drawn out and quite dull process. However, Abdullah’s writing style is such that I was able to grasp the details of the trial very quickly and was drawn into the action immediately. I admire the skill involved in planting doubt in the mind of the reader, and I was constantly wondering how I would vote in the position of the jury. The tension in the courtroom is palpable, and it only increases tenfold as the novel reaches its end. I am reluctant to say any more for fear of spoilers, but it is safe to say I will be playing this book over in my mind for a long time to come.

Truth Be Told is available from Amazon.

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