Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
It’s something parents do every morning: Rachel Klein drops her daughter at the bus stop and heads into her day. But a cell phone call from an unknown number changes everything: it’s a woman on the line, informing her that she has Kylie bound and gagged in her back seat, and the only way Rachel will see her again is to follow her instructions exactly: pay a ransom, and find another child to abduct. This is no ordinary kidnapping: the caller is a mother herself, whose son has been taken, and if Rachel doesn’t do as she’s told, the boy will die. “You are not the first. And you will certainly not be the last.” Rachel is now part of The Chain, an unending and ingenious scheme that turns victims into criminals — and is making someone else very rich in the process. The rules are simple, the moral challenges impossible; find the money fast, find your victim , and then commit a horrible act you’d have thought yourself incapable of just twenty-four hours ago. But what the masterminds behind The Chain know is that parents will do anything for their children. It turns out that kidnapping is only the beginning.
Somehow I feel like I was tricked into listening to this audiobook by a beloved author and then just before I clicked on my speaker, the author got switched. Reading the reviews, everyone loves McKinty’s Sean Duffy series. Of course, I weighed in for Reading Ireland Reviews and this was not anything like I expected.
The premise here, of course, is the kidnapping of a thirteen year old girl, Kylie. Rachel Klein, the mother, however, is not a monied person, and in fact a single mother with a history of cancer. It doesn’t make sense she’d have been the target of a kidnapper—can you really get blood out of a turnip? Apparently so.
In this case, it’s a terrifyingly unique ransom. Not just the money—no—she has now been inducted into the “chain.” Her daughter can only survive by her abducting another child and jumping through the hoops as she’s done. And the chain can’t be broken. Remember all the admonitions when you got a chain letter? Terrible things would befall those who didn’t keep it going. Talk about a rock and a hard place!
There are subsequent parents as Rachel works to free her own daughter. Can the daughter be returned unscathed? What must something like this do to a child? There is the obvious exposition of laying one’s life open on social media. Gees, TOO EASY! Just pick someone. Or maybe not. Must be the right family, the right child to insure the chain continues.
Rachel becomes a mamma bear and will countenance no less in the other mothers or families. But mothers and families are different. And Rachel can’t do it alone—she brings in a brother-in-law, former Marine. He waxes strong and dependent with his own physical problems.
The plot gradually reveals in small dollops those behind the chain. But at this point even the parents have been forced into acts they’d have never dreamed of doing. The narrative goes darker and stretches disbelief. Are any of the characters sympathetic now?
A thriller at the beginning, a suspense, not a lot of sagging, but tilts in the end to disbelief. Still, I’m intrigued enough that I’ll try this author’s main series as this is apparently a standalone and veers substantially from his norm.
Genre: Kidnapping Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers, Crime Thrillers, Suspense
Publisher: Mulholland Books – Hachette Audio
- ASIN: ASIN : B07K6HCYPY
Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars
The Author: Adrian McKinty is an Edgar Award winning crime novelist from Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Adrian studied philosophy at Oxford University on a full scholarship. In the early 90’s he emigrated to New York City where he worked in bars, building sites and bookstores for seven years before moving to Denver, Colorado to become a high school English teacher. He lives in Melbourne, Australia with his wife and two children.
His first crime novel Dead I Well May Be was shortlisted for the 2004 Dagger Award and was optioned by Universal Pictures. He has written a dozen novels since then. He has won the Edgar Award, the Ned Kelly Award, the Barry Award, the Audie Award and the Anthony Award. He has been shortlisted for the Dagger Award, Theakston Crime Novel of the Year Award and the Prix du Meilleurs Polar.
The Narrator: January LaVoy is an Atlanta-based actress, best known for her role as Noelle Ortiz-Stubbs on the long-running ABC daytime drama ONE LIFE TO LIVE. She has appeared on and Off-Broadway, in regional theaters across the country, and guest starred on several prime time network series, including Elementary, Blue Bloods, and N0S4A2. She is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA, and is a full-time faculty member in the Department of Theater and Dance at Emory University.
©2021 V Williams