The Chain

The Chain

by Adrian McKinty


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"This nightmarish story is incredibly propulsive and original. You won't shake it for a long time."

"McKinty is one of the most striking and most memorable crime voices to emerge on the scene in years. His plots tempt you to read at top speed, but don't give in: this writing - sharply observant, intelligent and shot through with black humor - should be savored."

"A masterpiece. You have never read anything quite like THE CHAIN and you will never be able to forget it."
* * * * *






"Diabolical, unnerving, and gives a whole new meaning to the word "relentless". Adrian McKinty just leapt to the top of my list of must-read suspense novelists. He's the real deal."


"Pairing an irresistible concept with a winner protagonist, THE CHAIN promises to be your new addiction once you succumb to the first enticing page."
"A grade-A-first-rate-edge-of-your-seat thriller. I can't believe what went through my mind while reading it."

"Diabolically gripping. Nail-biting, smart, and convincing. Hang on tight, because once you start this book, you can't stop - you'll be caught in THE CHAIN."

"THE CHAIN is the rare thriller that's not only fiendishly clever but also powerfully empathetic, with both hair-raising twists and complex, fully-realized characters."


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316531269
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 07/09/2019
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 709
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Adrian McKinty was born and grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland during the Troubles of the 1970s and 1980s. His father was a boilermaker and ship's engineer and his mother a secretary. Adrian went to Oxford University on a full scholarship to study philosophy before emigrating to the United States to become a high school English teacher. His debut crime novel Dead I Well May Be was shortlisted for the 2004 Dagger Award and was optioned by Universal Pictures. His books have won the Edgar Award, the Ned Kelly Award, the Anthony Award, the Barry Award and have been translated into over 20 languages. Adrian is a reviewer and critic for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Irish Times and The Guardian. He lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

What People are Saying About This

New York Times bestselling author of The Cartel and - Don Winslow

“You have never read anything quite like The Chain and you will never be able to forget it. Brilliant. Beautifully written. A masterpiece of tension. The Chain scared the hell out of me but I could not put it down! I raced to the end of the book and then went back to see how Adrian McKinty pulled it all off. The Chain belongs in the elite company of world-class thrillers like Gone Girl and The Silence of the Lambs. This is nothing short of JAWS for parents.”

Author of Into the Black Nowhere - Meg Gardiner

“Diabolically gripping. Adrian McKinty has written a novel that’s nail-biting, smart, and convincing, with a plot-jolting twist that readers of Gone Girl will love. Hang on tight, because once you start this book, you can’t stop—like the characters in the story, you’ll be caught in The Chain.”

New York Times bestselling author of The Better Sister and The Wife - Alafair Burke

“Rachel Knight’s daughter has been abducted, and the only way Rachel can save her is to add another kidnapped child to the terrifying chain. Pairing an irresistible concept with a winner protagonist, The Chain promises to be your new addiction once you succumb to the first enticing page.”

Author of the Edgard Award-winning Bluebird, Bluebird - Attica Locke

"The Chain is a grade-A-first-rate-edge-of-your-seat thriller. I can't believe what went through my mind while reading it--the things I might be willing to do to save my child."

Author of Thirteen - Steve Cavanagh

"A masterpiece. One of the finest novels ever produced in the genre. This is up there with Marathon Man and The Silence of the Lambs. It just doesn't get any better than this."

New York Times bestselling author of The Witch Elm and The Trespasser - Tana French

“Adrian McKinty is one of the most striking and most memorable crime voices to emerge on the scene in years. His plots tempt you to read at top speed, but don't give in: this writing -- sharply observant, intelligent and shot through with black humor -- should be savored.”

Author of November Road - Lou Berney

“Adrian McKinty’s The Chain is the rare thriller that’s not only fiendishly clever but also powerfully empathetic, with both hair-raising twists and complex, fully-realized characters.”

Author of The Killing Habit - Mark Billingham

"The Chain is a unique and unforgettable thriller. Breath-taking, breakneck, brilliant."

New York Times bestselling author of Mystic River and Since We Fell - Dennis Lehane

“The Chain is diabolical, unnerving, and gives a whole new meaning to the word ‘relentless.’ Adrian McKinty just leapt to the top of my list of must-read suspense novelists. He writes with confidence, heart, and style to spare. He’s the real deal.”

Customer Reviews

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The Chain 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Anonymous 30 days ago
Loved it. Fast paced, Great thriller, inventive storyline
Anonymous 30 days ago
Change_Agent_Des 16 days ago
Excellent. Could not put it down. Very believable. Only complaint was when the author said that the train from Beverly Massachusetts goes to South Station. Alas, it goes to North Station. Well written. Deserves to be on the NYT best seller list.
3no7 4 days ago
“The Chain” by Adrian McKinty is about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. This kind of thing does not happen in civilized, safe Massachusetts, and yet there they all are, involved in the complex entanglement that is “The Chain.” The events are non-stop, and each chapter identifies the time to emphasize the frantic pace. A thirteen-year-old girl does not even notice the man with the gun until he is almost next to her. “If you scream, struggle, or try to run, I’m going to shoot you. Do you understand?” She nods…“All right. Good. Keep calm. Put this blindfold on. What your mother does in the next twenty-four hours will determine whether you live or die.” There it is; the terrifying premise of the book, a kidnapping. The only way for a parent to get back a child is to kidnap someone else’s child. “You’re in The Chain now.” No matter what, one must never break the chain. The fear is palatable right from the start and grows on every page. The conspiracy, the psychotic dependence, and, surprisingly, the comradery grow as well. Parents fear each other and yet depend on each other to keep the chain intact and to bring home their children. Alternating chapters are told from the points of view of the various players so readers observe all sides of the trauma, follow all the clues, and witness all the mistakes. Each parent is not the first in the chain and will not be the last. Readers are immediately aware of the hidden dangers of social media as parents scour online posts looking for the next victim. They easily find schedules, activities, opportunities, and openings so they can add the next child, the next family, to the chain; so they can get their child back. Unfortunately, “The Chain” will always be there, lurking in the background even after their child is safe at home. “The Chain” will be part of them for the rest of all their lives. McKinty depicts civilization as a thin, fragile veneer covering the law of the jungle -- Better you than me; better your kid than my kid. He turns victims into accomplices and then makes them complicit in the torture of yet more parents. The Chain seems unbreakable, but it is vulnerable because some children are not as compliant as their parents are. The sky is falling because children are poking holes in it, and readers watch as pieces fall all around. McKinty also makes a book recommendation. The narrative mentions Elizabeth Smart; Smart’s book “My Story” is truly inspiring. One of the children mentions her. “Elisabeth Smart. That was the Mormon girl’s name. In that interview, she had been dignified and calm. She had said that there was always hope in these situations. Her faith had always given her hope.” “The Chain” It is quite different from McKinty’s Sean Duffy series. It will keep readers turning page after page, and looking over their shoulders. McKinty notes that seventy-seven is the sum of the first eight prime numbers and the atomic number of iridium. It is an ending number. All books should end on the seventy-seventh chapter. They never do, however McKinty does. Readers hope that this is not the end but the beginning of something new for McKinty.
Barnseys_Books 6 days ago
There's currently a huge buzz surrounding this novel, so when I received a review copy from the publisher I was thrilled and delighted. It seems everyone's either talking about it, currently reading it or adding it to their 'Want to Read' lists. I was drawn in by the blurb; it's exactly my kind of book. An unknown caller telephones Rachel O'Neill and informs her that her daughter Kylie has been kidnapped. The only way to secure her release is to pay a ransom and abduct another family's child. Failure to do so or calling in the cops will result in Kylie's death. The Chain must not be broken. Author Adrian McKinty's characterisation is exceptionally good. We have Rachel, a feisty divorced mother-of-one. Having survived breast cancer once, she's now facing up to the likelihood of its return. When Kylie is abducted, she turns to ex brother-in-law Pete for help. Unknown to Rachel, Pete, an unemployed ex-marine, is battling his own addictions. Casting aside individual issues, they're determined to put an end to The Chain once and for all. The idea behind this book is fantastic and it really appeals. Fast-paced and totally engrossing, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It had me gripped from start to finish and I very highly recommend.
Sandy5 8 days ago
When I first saw the cover for this book, I was intrigued and then, when all the reviews started popping up saying how great it was, I put myself on the list to read it. As I started reading it, I couldn’t stop thinking about it and then, I started applying the book to my own personal life. What would I do if I was in Rachel’s shoes? How far would I go? I was literally sucked into this book! In the end, what really surprised me, was how involved Rachel became. I was captivated by what was happening inside these pages but Rachel was possessed. Kylie was taken from the bus stop. As she makes her way into their car, Kylie’s mind reflects back to all the warnings that she had received over the years about getting into a stranger’s vehicle. Yet, here she was, sitting next to a hooded man, driven by a woman she didn’t know. Her mother, Rachel will soon receive the first of many calls from an “Unknown Caller, and she will wish that she had done many things differently.” Rachel will then begin fulfilling the requirements to get Kylie back. Rachel, a woman who is fighting cancer hopes that she too, can fight this chain letter which she will discover, cannot be broken. I enjoyed all the different viewpoints that the author provided in this story. I felt these gave me a complete picture of the events and it provided a more elaborate account of what was happening. I liked how Rachel matured in the story. In the beginning, Rachel was scared and timid but by the end of the novel, she was a totally different character. As the story progressed, I felt as if something came over Rachel and she was on a mission. I kept wondering what came over her, why was she acting the way she was and when was this going to end? Planting myself in her shoes, I don’t know if I could have stepped where she did or went as far as she went. I did feel that the book changed tempo halfway through. One part felt intense and vibrant while the other part felt stealthy and sly. This was a fantastic, on-edge mystery that kept me focused till the very end.
Anonymous 10 days ago
Fast paced, great story with compelling characters. A great summer read.
Anonymous 11 days ago
What a great story! I highly recommend this book!
Anonymous 12 days ago
hug your kids
SimplySusan 13 days ago
Wicked cool concept! In order to get back your kidnapped loved one, you must kidnap someone else and force their family to kidnap yet another person. Get it? Like one of those horrible chain letters but with much more serious consequences. The book is in two parts. And, had it stopped at the end of part one, I would have given it 5 solid stars. But the second part felt anti-climactic. Mr. McKinty obviously tried very hard to keep the suspense level high, and I'll admit there were some good moments, but it did not live up to the first half. It almost felt like a different book. That being said, this is still an amazingly terrific book about a seriously demented plan of terror. Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of the book. This review is my own opinion.
moo77hb 15 days ago
Thank you so much to the publisher and netGalley for a copy of this book! Wowsers this is one thrill ride of a book. I think this book would be every parents nightmare. Your child has been upducted and the only way to save them is to do the very thing that destroyed your world. Plus it is almost never ending, you will always be a part of the chain. The author did an amazing job of reeling you in and making you part of this terror. Every parent has to wondering what they would do in the very same situation. It is amazing what you would do to save someone you love. The characters are rich and flawed and not all of them are likable, which makes this much more realistic. I am not just talking about the "bad guys" either. Truly, what makes a person good or bad are their actions. Every one in this book takes actions that are questionable. What would you do? I have no idea. This is what makes this book so good. It stays with you well after reading it. As a parent myself I don't think I will ever forget it!
Anonymous 16 days ago
I loved this book
Anonymous 16 days ago
Terrifying premise, which could happen in our society today. The characters are well drawn., as their good and not so good actions are made apoarent. We all have darkness somewhere, and it is sometimes bubbles up when we are in great stress. The nivel is well paced. No grass growing under the story. Sheds light on horrors that can accomany the technology of today' and also the power of love.
Anonymous 21 days ago
I heard about this book on social media, and due to all the excitement and praise, I had to pre-order it. Man! What an incredible, frightening and twisted ride. Thank you Adrian McKinty. Being a parent, I cannot imagine what Rachel (Main character) was going through. No spoilers, but the evolution of this woman’s character in the book proves that you don’t mess with a Mama Bear. This book sucked me in from page one, and I carried it around with me and read it every free moment I had, until it was done. It was an emotional roller coaster that had me riveted. This book has an original premise that will have you thinking, and talking about, long after you have finished the book. READ THIS BOOK! I heard that Mr Mckinty has a movie deal in the works for this, and if the adaptation is half as good as this book, it will be awesome
Anonymous 21 days ago
Not up to McKinty standards. Bring back Sean Duffy!
Nanna51 21 days ago
This is a terrifying book because it is so realistic and I was reading I kept thinking that this scenario could actually happen to anyone. The main character in this book is a divorced single mom who is already suffering through just finding out that she has breast cancer. Then she becomes a victim of the chain. Kidnappings done by establishing a chain. Do what you're told or your loved one dies and so will everyone else that you care about. The premise of this book is absolutely horrifying. The action is fast-paced, the characters are flawed and mostly likable (except for the villains, of course). What a compelling book! I highly recommend it to those who love thrillers! Disclaimer Disclosure of Material Connection: I purchased a copy of this book for my Kindle. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own.
tschnitzler 25 days ago
The overview of this book states it is a nightmarish story. Wow, was this true! Our main character, Rachel, receives the most horrible phone call a parent can receive: A stranger has kidnapped your child. The "ransom" is to free your child you must abduct someone else's child. When the next parents abduct another child, your child will be freed. There are more demands than this involved, but this part is the most frightening. If the chain does not continue, your child will be killed. When faced with having your child killed, what choice does a parent have but to comply? Just when the reader believes all is going to be well again, The Chain introduces a new twist. Rachel is smart and brave throughout. Excellent read--highly recommend!
RowingRabbit 26 days ago
Darn it. I really wanted to read this, swoon & write a glowing review. Alas, it’s not to be. I assumed it would be a sure thing as I’m a HUGE fan of the author’s other books. His Sean Duffy books remain one of my favourite all time series. And maybe that’s the problem. If i’d received this book with an anonymous cover & been asked to guess the author, McKinty’s name would never have crossed my mind. This is a complete departure from anything else he’s written. The style of writing is so different & his signature wit is completely absent. The plot is original & horrifyingly creepy but it’s one of those books you really need to suspend your disbelief to enjoy & I think I lack the imagination to just shut down my logical side & go along for the ride. In this particular genre, I have to believe the characters are capable of their roles. I recently read an interview McKinty had given. I was shocked to learn he & his family has been evicted from their home & he was driving for Uber to make ends meet. Just goes to show you how tough it is to be a best selling author & still make a living. So he’s headed off in a new direction & who can blame the guy? You’ll notice I haven’t mentioned any details about the story. There’s no need. The characters are all fresh & the book blurb tells you everything you need to know. So while it didn’t work for me, it’s probably just a combination of my preconceptions & reader/book mismatch. The book is hugely popular & there are many 5 star reviews out there so please give those a look or better yet, just go in blind.
Anonymous 27 days ago
The Chain was excellent. I read it in three days, This book is well written and I had a hard time putting it down.
Twink 3 months ago
There's been lots of publicity surrounding the release of Adrian McKinty's latest novel - The Chain. Did it live up to the hype? Oh yeah it did - thriller readers are going to want to pick up this one! The premise is a frightening (and pretty dark) one... "Your phone rings. A stranger has kidnapped your child. To free them you must abduct someone else's child. Your child will be released when your victim's parents kidnap another child. If any of these things don't happen: your child will be killed." Takes the chain letter concept to a whole new level doesn't it? McKinty has created a great lead character in Rachel. She's a divorced, single mother battling breast cancer. Why in the world have her and her daughter been targeted? I love books that place an everyday person in an extraordinary position. Can they beat the odds? Thwart the 'bad guys'? Pull off the impossible? Rachel is a force to be reckoned with. Action is the word of the day in The Chain. The plot is driven forward by twists - most of them ones I could not have predicted. I love being caught unawares by a book. So, the game changes frequently and Rachel has to react and respond to the newest directive. Now, I must admit - some of those plot lines require a few grains of salt. And that's okay - this is pure escapist, entertainment reading. I had a three day weekend lately - and I devoured The Chain on that extra day. It's addictive, propulsive reading that will consume the reader. The Chain is an action packed thriller film just waiting to be made.
JulieB 4 months ago
The Chain. What an elaborate concept...and nightmare! This is the worst version of a chain letter you can possibly imagine...and be a part of!! This cover caught my attention when I first saw it on NG. Then it was popping up everywhere. It was receiving so much hype and praise, I had to request it. It’s easy...Follow The Chain and you get your kid back. Pay the ransom. Find another target and kidnap someone. The Chain continues. Each link in The Chain is precious. The Chain has to go on. No police! Whatever you do, Don’t Break The Chain! The Chain has never been successfully broken. McKinty didn’t waste time. From page one, this is a fast-past thriller, filled with action, tension and fear. I wasn’t sure McKinty could sustain that same emotion throughout the story, but he pulled it off! It’s Thursday morning and Kylie is sitting at the bus stop. Like a typical 13-year-old, her social media/phone are more interesting than her surroundings. Before she has time to respond, there is a man standing in front of her. He’s wearing a ski mask and pointing a gun at her. ”She knows she shouldn’t have gotten into the vehicle. That’s how girls vanish. That’s how girls vanish every day. If you get in the car it’s over. If you get in the car, you’re lost forever. You don’t get in the vehicle, you turn around and you run, run, run.” Kylie is thinking about her mom. She doesn’t deserve this. First the cancer, then the divorce, now her daughter is kidnapped. Rachel is on her way to the oncologist. Probably bad news. Her phone rings. It’s an unknown caller. “Two things you must remember,” a voice says through some kind of speech-distortion machine. “Number one: you are not the first and you will certainly not be the last. Number two: remember, it’s not about the money—it’s about The Chain.” McKinty is now on my radar and “The Chain”, which is my first read of July, is also a fav read of 2019! My Rating: 4.5⭐️’s (rounding up ) Published: July 9th 2019 by Mulholland Books Pages: 368 Recommend: Yes Excerpts: “A true predator sometimes kills even when it isn’t hungry.” Thank you to NetGalley, Mulholland Books and Adrian McKinty for this ARC in exchange for my honest review! #NetGalley #DontBreakTheChain
Kaceeey 4 months ago
Whoa! This book will have you laser-focused from the first paragraph...right to the last! Victim or abuser. Which is actually worse? And what if you had to play the role of both? Whatever you do...don’t break the chain! What would you do if your child was taken? What lengths would you go to get your child back? Could you live with your decisions? Brilliant, addictive, unputdownable! From start to finish I was also at the mercy of those behind the chain. (Ok...the author!) Couldn’t wait to see how this would play out! Definitely one of my favorite thrillers for 2019! I cannot stop thinking about this one! Highly recommend for all thriller lovers! Toes tapping! Can’t wait to see what this author comes up with next! A buddy read with Susanne! Thank you to NetGalley, Mulholland Books and Adrian McKinty for an ARC to read and review.
Katie__B 4 months ago
Entertaining and definitely a page turner but probably not a book you want to analyze to death as it does have some problems along the way. The pacing was excellent but I did prefer the first half over the second. A perfect example of a summer beach read. I'll admit when I first read the synopsis for this one I thought the whole chain idea was intriguing but I was afraid the story could potentially turn into a hot mess. Basically the concept is a parent receives word their child is kidnapped. In order for that parent to get their child back alive, the parent must go out and successfully kidnap another child. This chain has been going on for years and there are certain rules to be followed such as not contacting police. Sounds like a crazy idea for a story, but for the most part it's one of those "can't wait to see what happens next" type reads. I'll give the author credit for keeping things moving as it never felt like the story was being dragged out. I did have some issues with the writing in the second half and there were a few times I had to remind myself not to take the book too seriously when I started questioning whether or not something was realistic. Overall though this is a book that is meant to entertain even though the plot is pretty disturbing and it definitely held my interest. It's also the type of book you want to discuss with other readers so I'll be glad when it is finally published this summer. I'm dying to hear everyone's thoughts on the book. I won a free advance copy of this book in a giveaway but was under no obligation to post a review. All views expressed are my honest opinion.
Peter Donnelly 4 months ago
This book needs a seat belt because it blasts off at some serious speed. The opening chapters are shocking and the principle of The Chain is completely unique and deeply unsettling. Rachel Klein is a divorced single mother, with a 13-year-old daughter, Kylie. She has just been appointed to a new job and hopes that her life can take a step forward, especially with her battle against breast cancer being in remission for a year. Then the ultimate terror is just about to unfold. “Two things you must remember,” a voice says through some kind of speech-distortion machine. “Number one: you are not the first and you will certainly not be the last. Number two: remember, it’s not about the money—it’s about The Chain.” The stranger explains that Kylie has been kidnapped and that there will be a call shortly that she must be ready for. The second call comes from an upset woman who explains there are a number of parts and instructions that must be followed exactly or Kylie dies. First Rachel must pay twenty-five thousand dollars in ransom through a bitcoin exchange on the dark web or Kylie dies. For the second part, the woman explains that she has kidnapped Kylie so her son could be released. Her instruction is to kidnap someone to replace her daughter on The Chain, or Kylie dies. If Rachel breaks the rules her daughter will die and the kidnappers will move to another target or their own son will die. What a terrifying concept – I was stunned and impressed, shocked and fascinated, and afraid. The heart-racing terror looms constantly and the abject fear of failing drives family members forward. They must also face the distressing undertaking of carrying this out on another child and family. The ever-watching Chain will approve the targets because they must believe the families will be totally committed to the task and not break one of the fundamental rules by contacting the police. It’s all about the chain. The diversity of personalities is impressive and the emotional conflict Rachel has between trying to rescue her own child and not wishing to harm another is superbly managed. Rachel gets help from the only person she can trust to contribute to her plight and also stay away from the police – her brother in law Pete, an ex-marine. Pete is also a heroin addict and even he wonders if he’s a liability. She also has reason to believe her cancer may have resurfaced. They need to stay strong, they can’t fail! This is such a shocking plot, which is masterfully developed by incorporating the distress, the twists, and the frantic and terrifying steps Rachel must face. Not everything goes according to plan and the mistakes and challenges feel real and heighten the anguish. Rachel eventually considers not only saving her daughter but how she could possibly destroy The Chain to prevent untold suffering for other families, and so they won't ever come back for her. What is remarkable about this novel is the pace and content that comes from every nail-biting page. Adrian McKinty is an author from my home town but this is the first book of his I’ve read – not going to be the last, I’m proud to say. I would highly recommend this book and I’d like to thank Orion Publishing Group and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC copy in return for an honest review.
Anonymous 26 days ago
I dont know why i think of the song lol