The Chain by Adrian McKinty

The FBI are professsionals, but the woman holding her daughter isn’t afraid of the criminal justice system; she’s afraid of The Chain. The person above her on The Chain has her son. And if Rachel is perceived as a defector, this woman’s instructions are to murder Kylie and select a new target. The woman is sounding increasingly on edge. Rachel has no doubt she will do anything to get her son back… (p. 63)

I read this book in two days, something I have not done in weeks. “Are you coloring now, instead of reading?” my husband asked, because I seem more enthused about the pages I’ve finished in Johanna Basford’s Magical Jungle than I am about what I’ve read. Which isn’t much of anything, lately.

The premise of The Chain is much as is described in the quote above: parents must kidnap a child, and pay an exorbitant ransom, in order to get their own child back. It involves technology and spyware to a terrifying extent, and worse yet, explores what a person might do which is against his or her principals. In theory.

I read breathlessly until the end, which seemed just a little stretched; yet, I had to know how it would turn out.

There is the now-typical strength of a female protagonist, a strength I never doubted women having especially when it comes to mothering. But, what truly fascinated me was the author’s note at the end. Having grown up in Ireland, whose people apparently hang on to superstitions, he remembers his fifth grade teacher asking her students to bring in anything that frightened them. What he brought in was a chain letter, and the teacher burned these items from her students, effectively destroying whatever power they imagined was held over them. The seeds for The Chain were planted with the chain letter, and I found that background fascinating. Especially the teacher’s role, in helping her students conquer their terror.

The Chain was an interesting psychological thriller, with an original idea, which kept a fast pace. I read it for the Readers Imbibing Peril Challenge XIV.

SPOILER: The woman who masterminded the Chain with her twin brother was raised in a commune type of place, surrounded by drug addicts. It didn’t bode well for their emotional well-being. She discovered the negative power of a chain letter in school, using it to manipulate her classmates. As an adult, she and her brother formed the kidnapping chain largely for money, but also for power and control. Our protagonist, together with her brother in law who was in the Marines, work to beat the Chain and get her daughter/his niece back from the kidnappers. Which they do, but of course there is emotional residue from which one can barely recover…untold fears and nightmares keep recurring. Ultimately, with the help of another victim of the Chain, they locate the twins and bring them down.

18 thoughts on “The Chain by Adrian McKinty

  1. My copy of this had to go back to the library before I got very far. Now I’m in a long queue to get it again…. maybe I should have followed your approach and just kept reading g until it was over.

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  2. Wow, Bellezza, don’t we need this type of books at times? I love when a book keeps me reading, like this one was for you.

    I’m on chapter LVIII of Moby Dick, still loving it and going strong. I know I have up to 70 in your posts of quotes.

    I also had to ask you, if you want, to email me your address, for I wanted to give you An Artist of a Floating World. In my last trip to the used book store, I found this and a copy of The Unconsoled for me. I’d love for you to have it.

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    • I love to alternate something “heavy” with thrillers. Kimbofo of Reading Matters and I have also discussed this, how a psychological thriller is just the ticket for a respite after digesting those beautiful classics. I have read this 3/4 of the way through Moby Dick, but of course, will return to the whale.

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  3. I’ve heard a bit about The Chain, but actually not as much as I would have thought. Or maybe I just missed it. I think it has been out for a few weeks. Yes, our library has a gigantic hold list on it too. I’ll probably try it in upcoming days and I’ll plan to have some uninterrupted reading time. Ha!

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    • You are such an aficionado of mysteries, and, I think, thrillers. This is one that has a fresh idea, as opposed to the all too common dead woman-wife-girlfriend. It really interested me, and bless that teacher who took his fear as a fifth grader away.

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  4. I read this one awhile ago and really did enjoy it. It was a fun one to dive into and get lost in for a bit. I think that’s why I enjoy these suspense thrillers – they are just easy reads that are overly dramatic and over the top, but still so enjoyable. Glad you liked it 🙂 Definitely a good pick for RIP. I’m going to read The Institute for RIP, which I am really looking forward to. I just need to finish Vintage 1954 first – I’m taking my time because I don’t want to stop reading Antoine Laurain’s words just yet 🙂 Hope you are well, M. x

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    • I love suspense thrillers for being “easy” reads, too; sometimes, I like to read just for the fun of it, not always for deep, heartbreaking concepts.

      Ever since you mentioned The Institute, I have been intrigued. I downloaded a sample of it on my new nook, and I am eagerly reading it while wary of being scared to death. I’m not sure how he’ll handle the main idea of children being hurt…That said, when he takes on the fight of evil being overcome by good, I’m all for that. As I know you are, too. xo

      p.s. I’m teaching 4 and 5 year olds in Bible Study Fellowship every week. At first I was worried about their young age, and now I know they are utterly charming. They are so much smarter than I thought they would be!☺️

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    • It always alarms me when I include a spoiler, and yet when I don’t, even I can’t remember the novel’s ending in a few short months! I guess it helps me, or others who don’t want to read the whole novel, most of all. I know with Something’s In The Water, I could care less about the mystery; I just wanted to know what it was!

      The Chain will not disappoint you, I think.

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  5. I haven’t heard of this book, but it sounds like a wonderful thriller. I will see if I like the audiobook reader and add it to my list, one way or another. We’re on our two-month road trip and I’m not reading much, but I’ve started to get interested in my audiobook (The Nest), so maybe that’s the way to go while traveling. Hope all is well with you, my friend.

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