Once you read this review, go forth and pre-order Adrian McKinty’s The Chain, then share the review with others and instruct them to do the same. This is a chain, but fortunately, it is vastly less dangerous than the chain as described in this juggernaut of a novel.
Every few seasons a book comes along that becomes almost ubiquitous; no matter where you turn, people are reading it, advertisements abound, and even those who have yet to experience it have an opinion on it. Books like the Harry Potter series, The DaVinci Code, and Gone Girl fall into this coveted, yet rare, category. The Chain has the potential to be that novel for the current season – and there is not a more deserving storyteller worthy of such attention. Adrian McKinty is the real deal and here he has stumbled upon a conceit that is so genius readers will wonder why no one has thought of it before.
The Chain is a fairly straight-forward thriller, hitting all the touchstones fans of the genre have come to expect, but in Adrian McKinty’s skilled hands, the ingenious plot and clever construction elevate the novel’s fresh and innovative aura. The forward momentum of this novel is so incredibly propulsive that readers will feel an addiction that is undeniable – with every moment away from its pages taunting the reader to return, like a drug addict desperate for another hit, another high.
The first half of The Chain is broken up into date- and time-stamped chapters, making the reader an active participant in the drama as it unfolds. Rachel’s daughter Kylie is kidnapped and Rachel is told that in order to ensure Kylie’s safe return – and the safe return of the kidnapper’s own child – she must pay a ransom and abducted another individual, one who is carefully chosen because that person’s loved-ones must also pay a ransom and then kidnap another victim. This vicious cycle is The Chain. One misstep or failure in the process with result in Kylie’s death and possibly – probably – that of others connected via the chain.
This section plays out from many perspectives, giving readers a fully-rounded accounting of this complex microcosm. Readers become privy to points-of-view from Rachel, Kylie, the previous kidnappers, the masterminds behind the scheme, and several others who become entangled in this brutal web as events proceed.
In the second half of the novel, Adrian McKinty gives readers a glimpse of the origins of The Chain. This was fascinating information and some readers might find themselves longing for just a bit more of it. “How evil develops” being one of those topics crime readers cannot seem to get enough of. Interspersed among these vignettes from the past is an accounting of another mission, one that is no less dangerous but which may be even more important than anything that has come before.
Saying anything more about this book would ruin The Chain for the reader, which will not happen here. Across these seventy-seven chapters – an internally significant number cleverly implanted by Adrian McKinty – characters are pushed to their limits, difficult choices are made, and lives are lost. Needless to say, the characters are forever altered, but what makes The Chain so unforgettable is that the reader is also affected.
In the end, The Chain cuts to the heart of the reader because it echoes the interconnectedness of humanity. Adrian McKinty takes one of our greatest strengths and turns it into a weapon – forcing both the characters and the reader to contemplate the unthinkable as every other avenue loses viability. Do not miss this book; everyone will be talking about it this summer.
Disclaimer: A print galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.