The Chain by Adrian McKinty

I recently read The Chain by Adrian McKinty as part of a book group selection, but also as a buddy-read with two friends. I organise a community book group, the Mostly Books Cosy Club in my local town. It allows people to socialise while reading great books and has more than 50 people signed up. I offer a selection of books each month for members to choose from, and The Chain was my blockbuster, adrenaline thriller option.

One of the aims of the Cosy Club is to get members reading a bit outside of their comfort zone. As the organiser, it’s important that I lead by example. I very rarely read thrillers, probably because there were never any in the house when I was growing up. It’s not a genre I interact with a lot, and for this reason I made it my monthly read. I then read it at the same time as two of my friends. We would read 10 chapters, have a chat, discuss our theories about what might happen, then read 10 more.

The Chain is brilliant for a buddy-read. The chapters are short, so there’s a good chance you can each get through your allotted amount. It plunges you straight in to the thick of it from the very first page. We were able to establish a good momentum with our reading and it has been a brilliant way to stay connected during Covid-19 lockdown.

The Chain revolves around a child abduction crime syndicate, influenced by the concept of chain/poison pen letters. Your child is abducted, and the only way to get them back alive is to pay a ransom and abduct another child. The parents of that child must then pay a ransom and abduct someone else’s child and so on.

When Rachel’s daughter is taken, she becomes a part of the chain. As the psychological torment of what has happened takes its toll, Rachel decides to break the chain for good.

Taking place in Massachusetts, this is a very American-film story. By that, I mean storage units filled with guns, ex-Marines, FBI and a great big shootout at the end! It reads fast, is gripping and great to get you out of a lull if your brain can’t focus very well.