The Chain by Adrian McKinty – #Audiobook Review – #readingirelandmonth21 – #TBT

The Chain by Adrian McKinty

(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense 

Book Blurb:

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.

My Review:

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 Chain by Adrian McKintyThe 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.

Book Details:

Genre: Kidnapping Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers, Crime Thrillers, Suspense
Publisher:  Mulholland Books – Hachette Audio

  • ASIN: ASIN : B07K6HCYPY

 Print Length: 369 pages
Listening Length: 10 hrs 9 mins
Narrator: January LaVoy
Publication Date: July 9, 2019
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Chain [Amazon]

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4 stars

Adrian McKinty - authorThe 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.

 

January LaVoy - narrator, actressThe 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

Tell No One by Harlan Coben – An #Audiobook Review #suspense #TBT

Tell No One by Harlan Coven

Book Blurb:

Critically acclaimed, best-selling author Harlan Coben has won the Shamus, Anthony, and Edgar Awards during his impressive career.

Tell No One by Harlan CobenTell No One is an irresistibly suspenseful thriller infused with nail-biting tension and packed with shocking plot twists. It has been eight years since Dr. David Beck’s wife, Elizabeth, was murdered by a serial killer. When Beck receives a message containing a phrase only Elizabeth should know, he is tormented to tears. Either someone is playing a sick joke, or the wife he’s never stopped loving is still alive. He’s been warned to tell no one, and as the desperation of his search for the truth intensifies, he heads straight toward a deadly secret.

Coben tempers the drama with dashes of sly humor and a cast of unforgettable characters, including a bare-hands assassin, a glamorous plus-size model and a drug dealer with a soft spot for Dr. Beck. Listeners will relish Ed Sala’s exhilarating narration. 

My Review:

Tell No One by Harlan CobenNo, I hadn’t read everything the author has turned out and sure if I did it was years ago—before I started reviewing—but thumbing through the Netflix offerings came across The Stranger his ebook originally published in 2015. Admittedly, I couldn’t find the audiobook in my local well-stocked library, but here was Tell No One (originally published in 2009) and I must say—close enough. There’s a mild case of déjà vu lurking there.

Okay, yes, there is quite the hook and the premise gets you to reading. The novel is fast-paced and the prose engaging. I couldn’t quite get into any of the characters—main (i.e. Dr. David Beck) or the support characters who were all over the place from medical colleagues to partner of his sister to the street thug who rescues him. I must admit, however, to rooting for the street thug to split—while he had the chance.

I don’t know. What was I expecting?

The narrative gets to spinning when Dr. Beck receives an email that almost convinces him that the wife he thought he’d lost eight years ago is still alive. No, he’d never found a replacement, isn’t married, still pining over the soul mate with whom he’d carved momentous occasions on a pine tree. Also, nature being what it is, has unearthed two bodies at the site where the kidnapping and his attack took place and a whole new scenario opens. Hmmm…

Coben heaps it on, adding twists, adding bits of clues concealed as info, adding more characters, explosive scenes, and enough tender scenes between he and Elizabeth that even the most romance addicted YA would begin to gag. There are more questions, but suddenly Beck himself appears to be a POI in his wife’s kidnapping and death. Wait. Is she really dead?

He’s on the lam and amazingly with the help of his street thug buddy evades the dragnet. Oh, I’m telling you, this will get quite a bit more complex and convoluted, stretching into disbelieving territory before it all winds up in conclusion. Even then, this is a tough act to sell and I’m not wholly buying. Yes, lots of suspense building and at this point I was just curious to see how the author was going to pull it all together, but then he didn’t. Not for me. I was kinda bummed.

The Stranger by Harlan CobenSo, now let’s see—The Stranger (Netflix series) has the same kind of harried husband, discovers a devastating secret about his wife, wife disappears; unlikable, unrelatable main and support characters. Unfathomable conclusion leaves you somewhat flat. What? is written across your forehead. Maybe just mine, but I downloaded the ebook and I’ll report back.

Book Details:

Genre: Mysteries, Suspense Thrillers, Kidnapping Thrillers, Serial Killer Thrillers, Murder Thrillers
Publisher:  Recorded Books
Print Length: 396 pages
ASIN: B002SXIF4A
Listening Length: 10 hrs 36 mins
ASIN: B0078IX10I
Narrator: Ed Sala
Audible Release Date: February 13, 2012
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Tell No One [Amazon]

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4 stars

Harlan Coben - authorThe Author: With over 70 million books in print worldwide, Harlan Coben is the #1 New York Times author of thirty one novels including RUN AWAY, FOOL ME ONCE, TELL NO ONE, NO SECOND CHANCE and the renowned Myron Bolitar series. His books are published in 43 languages around the globe.

Harlan is the creator and executive producer for the Netflix television dramas SAFE starring Michael C. Hall, Audrey Fleurot and Amanda Abbington, and THE FIVE starring Tom Cullen and OT Fagbenle. He is currently filming THE STRANGER, based on his novel, for Netflix starring Richard Armitage, Siobhan Finneran, Jennifer Saunders and Stephen Rea. Harlan was also showrunner and executive producer for two French TV mini-series, UNE CHANCE DE TROP (NO SECOND CHANCE) with Alexandra Lamy and JUST UN REGARD (JUST ONE LOOK) with Virginie Ledoyen. KEINE ZWEIT CHANCE, also based on Harlan’s novel, aired in Germany on Sat1.

Harlan’s novel TELL NO ONE (NE LE DIS A PERSONNE) was turned into the renowned French film, directed by Guillaume Canet and starring Francois Cluzet. The movie was the top box office foreign-language film of the year in USA, won the Lumiere (French Golden Globe) for best picture and was nominated for nine Cesars (French Oscar) and won four, including best actor, best director and best music. The movie with subtitles is now available on Netflix, Amazon Prime and DVD/Blu-Ray.

Winner of the Edgar Award, Shamus Award and Anthony Award – the first author to win all three – international bestselling author Harlan Coben’s critically-acclaimed novels have been called “ingenious” (New York Times), “poignant and insightful” (Los Angeles Times), “consistently entertaining” (Houston Chronicle), “superb” (Chicago Tribune) and “must reading” (Philadelphia Inquirer).

In his first books, Coben immersed himself in the exploits of sports agent Myron Bolitar. Critics loved the series, saying, “You race to turn pages…both suspenseful and often surprisingly funny” (People). After seven books Coben wanted to try something different. “I came up with a great idea that simply would not work for Myron,” says Coben. The result was the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller TELL NO ONE, which became the most decorated thriller of the year. Two books later, Bookspan, recognizing Coben’s broad international appeal, named NO SECOND CHANCE its first ever International Book of the Month in 2003 – the Main Selection in 15 different countries.

Harlan was the first writer in more than a decade to be invited to write fiction for the NEW YORK TIMES op-ed page. His Father’s Day short story, THE KEY TO MY FATHER, appeared June 15, 2003. His essays and columns have appeared in many top publications including the New York Times, Parade Magazine and Bloomberg Views.

Harlan has received an eclectic variety of honors from all over the world. In Paris, he was awarded the prestigious Vermeil Medal of Honor for contributions to culture and society by the Mayor of Paris. He was won the El Premio del Novela Negra RBA in Spain, the Grand Prix de Lectrices in France, and the CWA/ITV3 Bestseller Dagger for favorite crime novelist in England. On the other end of the spectrum, Little League Baseball inducted Harlan into their Hall of Excellence in 2013, and Harlan is also a member of the New England Basketball Hall of Fame from his playing days at Amherst College.

Harlan was born in Newark, New Jersey. He still lives in New Jersey with his wife, Anne Armstrong-Coben MD, a pediatrician, and their four children.

The Narrator: Ed Sala received a master’s degree in playwriting from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va. He’s lived his life primarily as an actor, appearing on and off Broadway, at Carnegie Hall and in movies and episodic television. His plays have been produced from New York City to Melbourne, Australia. He considers himself very lucky to live a life in this business.

©2021 V Williams

Hoodoo Harry – a Book Review

Hoodoo Harry by Joe R LansdaleTitle: Hoodoo Harry by Joe R. Lansdale

Genre: Currently #56 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in the Kindle Store, Kindle Short Reads, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

Publisher: Mysterious Press.com and Open Road Media LLC

Publication Date: August 1, 2017

Source: Open Road and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Hoodoo Harry – The cover definitely sucked me in.

H and Leonard - a Sundance TV seriesNew to the Hap and Leonard series by Joe R. Lansdale, I went into this novella with an open mind. I’m on record for accepting mysteries and the cover looked like the book had a humorous bent to it, so I bit. Goodness! I do get myself into some very unusual books! Well, more appropriately a novella–VERY short read–and thought this would give me a break from profound emotional fiction. I had no idea when I accepted this download offering that there was a Sundance TV series of the same name.

Continue reading “Hoodoo Harry – a Book Review”