*I received a free ARC of this book, with thanks to NetGalley and Orion Publishing Group. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
YOU WILL BECOME EACH ONE.
* * * * *
YOUR PHONE RINGS.
A STRANGER HAS KIDNAPPED YOUR CHILD.
TO FREE THEM YOU MUST ABDUCT SOMEONE ELSE’S CHILD.
YOUR CHILD WILL BE RELEASED WHEN YOUR VICTIM’S PARENTS KIDNAP ANOTHER CHILD.
IF ANY OF THESE THINGS DON’T HAPPEN:
YOUR CHILD WILL BE KILLED.
YOU ARE NOW PART OF THE CHAIN
* * * * *
“YOU ARE NOT THE FIRST.
AND YOU WILL CERTAINLY NOT BE THE LAST.”
Do not start The Chain just before bedtime. Or before an important appointment. Or before anything that might require you to put the book down before you finish. Because once you are in The Chain there is no way out. You have to see it through to the bitter end.
The plot concept here was an immediate hook. I’m old enough to remember the old-fashioned, paper, chain letters that used to do the rounds, and the thought of applying that to a child’s life was totally horrifying and mesmerising in equal parts. I’m not sure it would work in reality, as I just couldn’t see myself, or many people I know, being able to follow through successfully with what is required, no matter how motivated or willing we might be. Personally I think I would be the ‘weakest link’ almost immediately and any chain that came my way would grind to a sad little halt.
Luckily for the story, Rachel is made of far sterner stuff than me, and I was cheering her on as she tackled her part in ‘The Chain’ in order to protect her family and attempt to retrieve her child. That part of the plot takes us about halfway through the story, and then the plot and tone change.
Because the true, invidious effect of The Chain on its victims and perpetrators only becomes clear once the immediate action is over. There’s no escaping The Chain. And if you can’t ever be free of it, forget about it, or tell anyone about it, then how can you possibly heal or move on?
Rachel has a simple solution: tug on The Chain until it snaps! The second half of the plot takes us deeper into action/thriller territory as Rachel – assisted by her brother-in-law, Pete – attempts to turn The Chain on its creator, with unexpected results. Interspersed with this, the reader gets insight into the origins of The Chain and its creator, and therefore can see the train coming before Rachel even realises she’s found the tracks!
This is a simple and tersely-written thriller, with such a gripping plot-hook that I just couldn’t stop reading until the last page. I would recommend it to thriller fans looking for a quick, easy read, with plenty of suspense.
“Do you know what this is?” the man asks.
“It’s a gun,” Kylie says.
“It’s a gun pointed at your heart. If you scream or struggle or try to run, I’m going to shoot you. Do you understand?”
“All right. Good. Keep calm. Put this blindfold on. What your mother does in the next twenty-four hours will determine whether you live or die. And when…if we do let you go, we don’t want you to be able to identify us.
– Adrian McKinty, The Chain
The Chain is available on Amazon and from other good bookshops now!