The Chain, Adrian McKinty
Rachel Klein is going about her day when a phone call she receives sends her straight into the pits of parental hell.
Rachel’s daughter Kylie has been kidnapped and there is more than just a money ransom that needs to be paid in order for Kylie to be returned safely to her. Rachel is ordered to kidnap and ransom a child herself, thereafter, becoming part of THE CHAIN.
THE CHAIN could have been a lot more of a techno thriller than it was but it has enough prods directed at the reader about the dangers of social media and the nasty dark interweb etc that we are duly reminded of the ridiculousness of the way some now choose to live their entire lives out online. In full view of everyone they know, and many that they do not, to their peril.
The small cast of characters keeps your concern to a tight circle as Rachel, her brother-in-law and her daughter Kylie incrementally begin to either disintegrate or adapt to the new pressures. Rachel Klein is multitasking like a single mother in THE CHAIN and you have to tip your hat to the high level of stress and complexity that she is being forced to function at. Enduring cancer, her only child being taken, having to TAKE a child herself, fending off the evil masterminds, a new job etc. Much to do, much to do. All parents have to up their game and turn into superheroes when their children are under threat, and Rachel in this novel kicks it up more notches than we can count. Would we be able to do the same if we were Rachel? That is the big take home question from this read.
THE CHAIN serves very well for what it is mean to be – a fast paced thriller novel that you can easily see being snapped up for the big or small screen soon enough. It’ll hold down the corner of your beach towel just nicely, or perhaps keep you engaged and gripped for the entirety of your flight. Park your scepticism at the door as there’s plenty of moments where your head will start tipping to the left but it’s all good. You are here to be entertained, not educated. THE CHAIN dishes it up loud and large and does not disappoint.
Did you think this was going to a bush crime novel when you first clapped your eyes on the gorgeous cover of THE CHAIN? That, THE CHAIN certainly is not. THE CHAIN instead delivers a solid chase read where the ante is upped and lowered, people do some seriously dumb things, and people do some very brave things also. If kids getting hurt is one of your reading taboos, fear not, it doesn’t go too far down that road in this textbook ‘everywoman’ thriller. Everything you think is going to happen, does, and (most) everything you want to see get resolved and tied up in a box, eventually happens also.
Irish author Adrian McKinty is a two-time winner of The Ned Kelly Award for crime writing. He now lives in New York and remains a reviewer and critic for the The Sydney Morning Herald, the Irish Times, and The Guardian.
Update… Paramount Pictures has recently acquired the film rights for THE CHAIN.
You just dropped off your child at the bus stop.
A panicked stranger calls your phone.
Your child has been kidnapped.
The stranger then explains that their child has also been kidnapped, by a completely different stranger.
The only way to get your child back is to kidnap another child - within 24 hours.
Your child will be released only when the next victim's parents kidnap yet another child.
And most importantly, the stranger explains, if you don't kidnap a child, or if the next parents don't kidnap a child, your child will be murdered.
You are now part of The Chain.