I bought The Chain by Adrian McKinty because I’d seen that it was popular. It is a thriller about a missing child and I always enjoy thrillers about missing children. (I did actually slightly overdose on them a few years ago, it felt like every book I was reading was about a missing child, so I had to step back from them.) I’ve actually read far fewer thrillers than usual this year too, so it was nice to get back into a page turner.
The Chain is the story of Rachel, a newly single mum, and her 13-year-old daughter, Kylie. There is no messing around at the start – it kicks straight in with the action. Kylie is kidnapped from the bus stop on the way to school and the only way for Rachel to get her back is to kidnap another child. If she refuses to comply or goes to the police, Kylie will be killed.
The idea of kidnapping a child and putting another family through what she is going through is, of course, abhorrent to Rachel. But she has no choice and, before she knows it, is scouting out victims and buying a gun and a stash of burner phones. Rachel is part of The Chain and there is no escape other than to follow the instructions to the letter.
This is, without a doubt, a page turner. The action moves really quickly and seems to resolve pretty quickly too. But there is more to the story than the initial kidnapping. Being a kidnap victim or the mother of a kidnap victim clearly changes a person forever. Will Rachel and Kylie ever really recover from their ordeal?
I’ll be honest, for the first few pages I wasn’t sure whether I liked The Chain. It reminded me a bit of The Marriage Pact – a book that was so dark it seemed unbelievable. The idea that something like The Chain or The Marriage Pact could exist undiscovered alongside mainstream society was mind boggling. (Yes, I do like my books to be believable.) But it wasn’t long before I was really enjoying it.
If you like a fast-paced thriller, I would definitely recommend The Chain.