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Take it Back    by Kia Abdullah order for
Take it Back
by Kia Abdullah
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2020 (2020)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Kia Abdullah's Take it Back features brilliant London lawyer Zara Kaleel, who abandoned a fast track career to work at the Artemis House sexual assault center. Like many mystery leads, Kia has challenges and secrets of her own. She is close to her sisters and mother but was estranged from her father (now dead) and brother when she abandoned her arranged marriage.

The story starts when Zara takes on the case of sixteen-year-old Jodie Wolfe, who suffers from neurofibromatosis. It has left her with a badly misshapen face and made her the object of her classmates' scorn. Jodie accuses four teens (all from hard-working immigrant Muslim families) of gang rape. This causes an uproar in the community and many don't believe Jodie, including her best friend Nina.

Jodie claims that handsome Amir led her from a party to an empty building, where his friends (Hassan, Mo and Farid) were waiting. They took turns raping her, even Mo who'd been kind to Jodie in class. Zara believes Jodie and takes on the case, which leads her into a world of trouble, both personal and professional. Secrets from her personal life are revealed and she's reviled by the Muslim community.

The story twists and turns, leaving the reader unsure which side to believe. Not all of Jodie's statements are true. The boys claim that they treated her badly and called her names but did not touch her. Who to believe? The case becomes a 'flashpoint in race relations' and violence erupts. Then a video clip is played in court.

Kia Abdullah's Take it Back is an outstanding 'he said, she said' legal mystery, that will keep you guessing from the beginning to the very last page.

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