The Chain – a freak-out for parents

By Gill Canning

Adrian McKinty The Chain
What would you do if you got a phone call from a stranger who said they had kidnapped your son or daughter and they were going to kill them unless you kidnapped someone else’s child?

Book review: The Chain

This is the premise of The Chain, a new novel by Adrian McKinty. A sort of kitchen table thriller, it presents a scenario that is perhaps pretty unbelievable but gripping nonetheless. The Chain is an anonymous criminal enterprise that forces strangers to kidnap a child and pay a ransom in order to have their own child released. This is how it goes: you receive a phone call telling you that your child has been kidnapped. To get them back, you must pay a ransom and then kidnap someone else’s child. If you involve the police, your child immediately dies. You must force the parents of the child you kidnap to pay the ransom and kidnap yet another child. Only once that is done, will your own child be released.

McKinty, who has written 14 books and also writes for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Guardian newspapers, got the idea for his book from the kidnappings that go hand in hand with the drug trade in Mexico, combined with the superstition of the chain letters of his  Irish 1970s childhood. The result is a terrific read that makes you question what you would do if faced with such an unenviable choice.

(Spoiler alert: you might reasonably think, when the main character Rachel’s kidnapped daughter Kylie is released by her kidnappers and she’s safely home, that their troubles are over. Unfortunately for Rachel, they are, of course, only just beginning.)

This book is crying out to be made into a thriller in the Taken mould. I, for one, will be lining up to see it. Watch this space.

The Chain by Adrian McKinty is available from July 9, 2019.

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