Cover Image: The Chain

The Chain

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Rachel Klein has dropped off her daughter at the bus stop, like she normally does, and has gone about her day but a call from an unknown number is about to turn her life into hell. The caller claims they have Kylie and they will not release her until Rachel kidnaps another child.

While this all sounds preposterous, Rachel realizes this woman means business. Another family has gone through the same thing and that’s why her daughter was kidnapped. They are trying to get their child back and if Rachel has any hopes of rescuing Kylie then she needs to become part of the chain.

Rachel, who already has been dealing with a health crisis, is in a race against time to find a victim although thanks to social media she is able to find the right time and child to abduct. She can’t go to the police but she can reach out to her ex brother-in-law. She is struggling with the ethics of how can she cause so much pain to another family but she also wants her daughter back. Meanwhile Kylie is a smart young girl and she’s also got a plan of her own on how to escape from her abductors.

Is there a lot of tension in this thriller? You bet there is. Right from the first page it’s non-stop. Is it a bit unbelievable? Yes, but just go with it and you are going to enjoy turning the pages.
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First, let me thank netgalley and the publishers for approving my request for an early release of this book.  All reviews of my netgalley books can be found on goodreads and youtube.  Please be sure to check out the links attached.
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🔗I read the premise of The Chain and my immediate thought was “NOOOOOO way will I read this. Never. Ever. Nope.” And then I read it. I blame my friends for roping me into this as well as my serious issues with fomo. Here’s the deal- this was truly the furthest from scary a book could possibly be. I wasn’t shaking in a corner, I didn’t feel anxious and I didn’t really care for the well-being of the characters. And being that this book was about kidnapping children...I think this says a lot. Totally, unequivocally meh about the entire thing. ⁣
🔗Rachel gets a phone call that no parent ever wants to get. “I have kidnapped your child. Do not go to the authorities or your daughter Kylie dies.” But unbeknownst to Rachel, the nightmare has just begun. Rachel is now officially a part of The Chain. The Chain is virtually a maniacal chain letter masked in murder, extortion and kidnapping. Rachel is told that in order to get her daughter back she needs to do two things- Deposit a large sum of money into a highly protected account and then she must kidnap a child. Her only job is to make sure that The Chain continues. Mothers will do anything to protect their children, but how far is too far?⁣
🔗Sounds terrifying, right? Sounds like I’ll need years of therapy after reading this, right? Sounds like I’ll be keeping Keegan glued to my side for the rest of eternity (well this will likely happen but that is more so bc I’m obsessed with him). But sadly the answers to all of these questions is a With a spook factor of -4798631, I’ll be sleeping soundly tonight. On a positive note, I did read this in two days and it was a mindless, easy read. If you’re looking for something to make you doody your pants...this isn’t it. If you want something that requires no brain power, is quick and that’s swarming with really terrible humans not living their best lives...ding ding ding! We have a winner!⁣
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I am a member of the American Library Association Reading List Award Committee. This title was on the 2020 shortlist. The complete list of winners and shortlisted titles is at 
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A child has been kidnapped, the mother recieves an untraceable message that if she wants her daughter back she needs to pay a ransom and kidnap another child.  And the chain goes on...

1. A book where I can relate so much is one that I can get into!  And anybody can relate to this. It is a person's worst nightmare. Having something taken from them and then having to turn around and put that on another person.
2. The writing was easy to read and the book was a page turner. 

I recommend this read!

Dead Girls Club
The Silent Patient
The Perfect Couple
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The Chain was fast-paced and had an original concept that made the read both fun and thrilling. The characters were sympathetic, and although the thriller was pulpy at times, it was brimming with tension and the pace demanded the pages to be turned until the end. 
For a debut novel, McKinty seems to master the way a thriller is supposed to work. The complicated relationship between "the Chain" and Rachel O'Neill is fascinating. She is a sympathetic heroine, and the battle with cancer made the reality of her situation that much more harrowing.
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Rachel drops her daughter off at the bus stop and heads off to her oncologist's appointment.  But then she gets a call that changes her life.  Her daughter, Kylie, has been kidnapped.  To get her back, she has to pay a ransom and kidnap another child.  And then those parents have to kidnap another child in order to keep The Chain alive. Rachel leaps into action.  She will do anything to save her daughter, but she needs help.  Her ex-husband is out of town, so she calls his brother, Pete.  As an ex-Marine, she knows that he has the skills necessary to help her get Kylie back.  But will they be in time to keep The Chain going and get Kylie back alive?

I was pretty much hooked from the very first page.  I don't remember the last time I read such a fast-paced book.  Rachel was a character that you could immediately get behind. She was a single mother who was facing a reoccurrence of cancer. And then her daughter gets kidnapped? How much worse could it possibly get for this woman? There is a point in the book that my excitement just waned. I was actually a little disappointed with the last half of the book.  I am trying to not give it away - but CLICK HERE FOR SPOILERS.

Bottom Line - I was almost willing to add The Chain to my "Best of 2019" list, but the last half was too predictable for it to make the list.  The first half of the book is one of the best thrillers I have ever read, the second half was disappointing, but not enough to keep me from recommending this book. Go into it with an open mind and you will be in for a mostly entertaining read.
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I was intrigued with this book just from the synopsis. While reading it, I could easily imagine it as a horror movie. The first part of this book was really good at showing Rachel’s emotions and hardships she was dealing with to get her daughter back. In the second part of the book every other chapter was about the people who began the chain – their upbringing all the way to present. I thought it was an interesting way to let the reader see both sides of it.
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McKinty takes the intentions of those incredibly annoying chain letters that we all received and fretted over in the 1980s in the Chain. Your child is kidnapped and in order to have your child released, you must pay a fee and kidnap another child or your child will suffer the consequences. And so the chain goes on and on and on, wreaking havoc and terror on countless families.

What I loved most about this was the very unique plot line. It has a similar essence to T. M. Logan’s 29 Seconds in its frantic pace and foreboding nature but add the element of having your child in dire danger, and you have a winning formula for a psychological thriller wrought with suspense, intrigue and imagination. A definite must-read!

Many thanks to Netgalley, Mulholland Books and Adrian McKinty for my complimentary e-copy ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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The Chain by Adrian McKinty was released on July 9, 2019 by Mulholland Books.  This was my first book by McKinty.  I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

The premise is simple.  You drop your kid off at the bus stop and then receive a phone call from a complete stranger telling you that your child has been kidnapped.  You can get your child back, but only if you kidnap someone else's kid within 24 hours.  Your child will then be released when the next set of parents kidnap another victim.  Welcome to The Chain.

The premise of this book immediately hooked me.  Then it was one of Jimmy Fallon's finalists for his summer reading club.  This book ended up being the winner, and I can certainly see why.  I flew through the first half of the book.  Rachel's sheer panic grips you right in the throat.  I can't even begin to imagine how terrifying it was for her to receive that call.  I hung on every word in the first half of the book.  The second half-not so much.  I was quite disappointed.  Sure-the ending made sense, but it didn't have quite the passion that the first half of the book did.  The culprits and their backstory felt....dull or stale.

The ending certainly didn't ruin the book for me.  I can't wait to read more from this author.  I just had really high expectations after such a stellar introduction and those just weren't met with this ending.

Overall, a quick thriller perfect for this time of year.

🌟🌟🌟🌟/5 Stars
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I'm gonna have to go with a 3 star rating here.  I absolutely loved the premise and the buildup and the first half, and the characters, and the intensity...but I hated how it all wrapped up.  I didn't like the why.  It seemed messy and complicated and kind of a let down.  So, the story is  your child gets kidnapped because you have become the next link in The Chain.  No rhyme or reason as to why you were chosen, really.  To get your child back, you have to pay a nominal ransom and take another child.  Oh, and you can't break The Chain.  If you do, your child (and most likely you, also) will be killed.  But fulfill your obligation, and you get your child back safe and somewhat sound.  It's really quite creepy.  It was driving me nuts trying to figure out what this was all about - it didn't seem to be about the money, or even the power play.  And when things finally were explained, it just didn't have the oomph I had hoped.
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Interesting premise for a mystery/thriller with roots in Mexican crime cartels. Enjoyable read but felt the end was a bit rushed and not all loose ends where addressed
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The premise of the story was intriguing and it drew me into the first third of the story but then I lost interest in finishing the story. Not one I’d recommend.
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You are a parent. Your phone rings. You answer it. It's a panicked stranger.

They tell you that they have kidnapped your child.

The stranger then explains that their child has also been kidnapped, by a completely different stranger.

Their child will be released only when you kidnap a new child.

Your child will be released only when, after you kidnap the new child, that child's parents kidnap yet another child.

And most importantly, the stranger explains, if you don't kidnap a child, or if the next parents don't kidnap a child, your child will be murdered.

You are now part of The Chain. 

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.
My take......

I suppose if I had read this ten years ago when my children were at a more vulnerable age, as opposed to grown adults, I may have been more petrified by the narrative. That said you'd need a heart of stone not to feel Rachel's pain. She's our main character and she's been having a tough time of things - battling cancer and getting used to the fact that her husband, Marty traded her in for a younger model. On her way to a medical appointment, she gets the call - Kylie, her daughter has been kidnapped, photo confirmation soon confirms this and she's now part of the chain. Pay up, kidnap another child, when their parents pay, your daughter will be released. Simples.

I quite liked this one without ever being totally enthralled. Rachel enlists her brother in law, Pete as support. He's ex-military and a drug addict. Without giving all the plot away, the pair do the deed and struggle to cope with the aftermath of events once Kylie is returned....... guilt, the burden of secrecy, ongoing fear as the chain organiser still taunt and threaten them, the disruption to every day life, the effect on Kylie who was kind of complicit in the kidnapping of another, the sheer lack of normality. All of it takes its toll.

A fightback then and despite the dangers of the all seeing, ever watchful chain cottoning on to what they're up to, Rachel and Pete, not romantically entangles endeavour to break the chain. 

Decent story, intriguing and a bit different. Events move fairly swiftly. We get flashbacks to the childhoods of our villains and we understand their motivations and events that have shaped them - manipulative little turds that they were. Adult turds now. Sympathetic characters in respect of Rachel and Kylie and the rest of their posse. Pete's helpful and capable, but she needs to keep an eye on that drug use. The ex-husband means well but is a bit of a tool. I enjoyed the time spent in the company of their nemesis.

Overall I quite liked it.

4 from 5

I've read and enjoyed Adrian McKinty a few times before, but not for a while - The Cold Cold Ground (2012)

Read - September, 2019
Published - 2019
Page count - 331
Source - Net Galley courtesy of publisher Mulholland Books
Format - ePub file read on laptop
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Not worth the hype. It was a great premise but the characters were fairly one dimensional. And I would have liked more background on them. I didn’t get the sense of realness from any character and none were like able. With that being said- for a quick thriller to divert and entertain - this is a decent pick
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I was super excited about this book after seeing some rave reviews but overall this was just ok for me. I finished it in a day so it definitely kept my attention but the writing style was so strange it kept throwing me off throughout the book. The last 1/3 of the book also goes really off the rails and became even more unbelievable. There is not a lot of back story or character building so everyone feels flat and I wasn’t super emotionally invested. Overall it was entertaining but won’t be one I’ll be recommended very often.
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Loved this - very fast-paced and exciting!  I love a thriller where I don't see the ending coming a mile away, and I didn't on this one. Will look for more by McKinty.
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This book started off so fast-paced and exciting with the threat of having to carry out "The Chain", but half-way through there was an abrupt switch from getting out of the chain to finding out who founded the chain and I did not like it.

My only complaint in the first half was that a nut allergy and a peanut allergy are not the same thing and I could've excused that confusion if it didn't go downhill later in the book by throwing in a few more things that felt like they were researched on Wikipedia. (Math, Philosophy, the obnoxious amount of guns that were named)

This book really needed to choose one or more POVs and stick to them the entire story. There are multiple POVs throughout the whole story, but some are not introduced until after the half-way point and it felt disjointed from the rest of the book.

Also, this book decided to wrap up neatly at the end and I don't think this was the right story for a HEA, that was just the easy way out for the author.

Thanks to Mulholland Books and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I am giving this book a 5 star rating. I really enjoyed the ups and downs in this book. The second half of the book definitely had me stuck to the book and wanting more. 

Rachel is such a strong character and with every twist and turn she became stronger. I loved the bond between mother and daughter,  there is nothing like a parents love. 

I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good suspense read. Adrian McKinty really out did himself with this novel.
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Thank you so much to @mulhollandbooks and @netgalley for the ARE of The Chain by Adrian Mckinty! Wow was this book intense, and by far my absolute worst nightmare as a parent.




This book will have my anxiety levels kicked up a few notches for a bit. It is hard to imagine what you would do if you were put into this unthinkable situation. I really loved the present day story line of the parents who were caught in the chain trying desperately to get their children back. The backstory of the people behind the whole operation at times seemed a bit far fetched but not to the point of not being entirely unbelievable. One of the things that I found most disturbing was the after effects of the kidnapping experience on the family. The book is definitely a nail biter and any parents worst nightmare.⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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