You Would Never Break the Chain | Review of The Chain by Adrian McKinty
Publication Date: July 9th, 2019
Publisher: Mulholland Books (my copy was sent to me via Netgalley)
Page Count: 368
Why I Picked It Up: The synopsis was hard to resist.
Synopsis: You just dropped off your child at the bus stop. A panicked stranger calls your phone. Your child has been kidnapped, and the stranger explains that their child has also been kidnapped, by a completely different stranger. The only way to get your child back is to kidnap another child within 24 hours. Your child will be released only when the next victim'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.
Opening Sentence: “She’s sitting at the bus stop checking the likes on her Instagram feed and doesn’t even notice the man with the gun until he’s almost next to her.”
My Thoughts: There was a lot wrong with this book- but there was a lot I enjoyed about it too. First, I think it would help your reading experience to know that this premise was inspired by real kidnapping events in Mexico. You can read more about the authors story here. Knowing the author’s backstory doesn’t change my rating of the book, but it might ramp up the believably factor a little more. The story is told from a third party omniscient narration- that is, the author moves between characters and you know the thoughts, feelings, and motivations in all. You guys know that I tend to have an issue when there are too many characters to keep track of, but it didn’t bother me here. That said, I didn’t especially connect with the characters (and thought most were pretty one dimensional), but that didn’t stop me from reading through to the end.
I did like the protagonist, Rachel. She is a cancer survivor and single mother who literally would do anything to save her daughter. She studied philosophy at Harvard but is currently driving for Uber after having placed her own career on hold to support her ex-husband through law school. She consistently doubts herself and beats herself up (it was honestly sort of hard to read her negative self talk) but I was rooting for her.
“Kierkegaard said that boredom and fear lay at the root of all evil. The evil people behind The Chain want the money they collect, and what they fear is the individual who might bring the whole thing crashing to a halt. Rachel is not going to be that person.”
My biggest issue was the dialogue. I hate when characters say something out loud for the benefit of the reader- we don’t need it! It took me out of the story. I enjoyed the pacing of this- especially in the first section. It’s balls to the wall and borderline ridiculous in spots but if you just go with it, you’re rewarded with an ending that ties everything together.
While this isn’t on my all time favorite thriller list, it did suck me in enough to see how the characters fared.
TL; DR: if you are able to suspend your disbelief and are looking for a plot forward thriller with a unique premise, this might work for you.
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