Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Book Review: "The Chain" by Adrian McKinty

It seemed like any other morning. Rachel's 13-year-old daughter Kylie was waiting at the bus stop while she headed to a doctor's appointment. On the way she received a call from an unknown number. The call told her that Kylie had been kidnapped, and she was now part of The Chain.

Rachel was given explicit instructions. She has to pay a ransom electronically and then kidnap another child as her daughter had been kidnapped. If she follows the instructions to the letter, and the family of the child she kidnaps do the same, then Kylie will be released. Any deviations from this script, any calls to the police or FBI for help, any trying to outsmart those in charge will result in Kylie being killed, if not Rachel as well.

"You've never experienced fear until something or someone puts your child in danger. Dying is not the worst thing that can happen to you. The worst thing that can happen to you is for something to happen to your kid. Having a child instantly turns you into a grown-up."

Rachel is utterly overwhelmed by the tasks that lay ahead, but she has no choice. She never imagined she'd be the type of person to kidnap a child, be willing to sacrifice their life for her daughter's, but protecting your child makes you do unbelievable things. When your life is falling apart completely, how do you convince the world that it's just another day, that you're perfectly fine?

I'm giving a fairly vague plot summary because it's best to let things unfold without much knowledge or expectation. Adrian McKinty's The Chain has an amazing concept at its core—talk about the worst kind of pay-it-forward you've ever seen! Rachel and some of the others involved are tremendously believable even as the things that they are doing are utterly unbelievable, but it makes you wonder how you might react if faced with the same situation.

The book starts with a bang, but the pace starts to lag after a bit. At times the narrative gets a little too technical, and I'm never a big fan of when a book needs to spend a lot of time explaining the evil plot. And while the pace picks up toward the end, I found the conclusion tremendously predictable and a little ridiculous, which is saying a lot considering how crazy the whole concept is.

I've seen a few friends rave over this book, so maybe my cynicism with thrillers is showing again. McKinty is a talented writer and I love the concept he has come up with. If this interests you, I'd definitely encourage you to read it—July seems to be the month for me to challenge a lot of highly rated favorites!!

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