'The Chain' by Adrian McKinty

Rachel has had a rough few years. As a single mother and breast cancer survivor, she is stronger and tougher than most – which makes her the perfect target of The Chain.

When Rachel’s daughter Kylie is kidnapped, she is sent a clear message; ‘You are now part of The Chain. In order to save your child, you must kidnap another.’ Rachel finds that she’ll do anything to get her daughter back – but what she doesn’t realise is that once you’re part of The Chain, there’s no getting out.


(This review contains minor spoilers which aren’t integral to the plot).

I was immediately intrigued by the blurb of The Chain by Adrian McKinty, as it sounds very dark and high-risk, and I never usually read thrillers where the stakes are so high. So I picked this one up to challenge myself, and because it sounded fascinating.

The concept of The Chain itself is quite smart – if your child is kidnapped, you must then kidnap another. The only way your child will be released is when the family of the child you kidnapped, kidnaps another. (Sounds complicated, but it’s better explained in the book). Because of the nature of The Chain, it’s never-ending, and once you’re involved you’re never fully out – the masterminds behind it all make sure of that.

I thought the plot of this was so promising, but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. There are two parts to the novel – part 1 is Rachel and her ex-brother-in-law Pete trying to rescue Kylie by kidnapping another child, and part 2 is them trying to plan how to dismantle The Chain forever. As you can guess, that’s a lot of action and storyline to cover, and I sometimes felt like the rapid-nature of the book made some scenes feel a bit too rushed. For example, when Rachel is finally reunited with Kylie, you would think that this was an important moment in the book, but it’s actually quite diminished and skimmed over. I didn’t feel particularly attached to any of the characters, but scenes like that would’ve made me feel a lot more sympathetic, so it was a bit of a shame that they were kind of side-lined.

Some scenes also felt a bit out of the blue – Rachel’s sudden romance with Pete was a bit odd, especially as nothing romantic between the two characters was ever suggested beforehand. It didn’t ruin the plot, it just felt a bit out of place.

I was invested in the story because of the plot rather than the characters, and it is a very easy read. As I said, it’s a very high-risk thriller, and there were a few good twists that I enjoyed.

I gave it a 3/5 on Goodreads, so I didn’t hate it, although this review may sound like it! I think I just wanted a bit more from the characters.

Have you read The Chain? Let me know your thoughts!

Favourite quotes:

“George Orwell was wrong. In the future, it won’t be the state that keeps tabs on everyone by the use of surveillance; it will be the people.”

“To live at all is miracle enough.”

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