cover image The Chain

The Chain

Adrian McKinty. Mulholland, $28 (368p) ISBN 978-0-316-53126-9

An original premise, relentless pacing, and strong female characters lift this nail-biter from Edgar winner McKinty (the Sean Duffy series), which takes a no-holds-barred look at how far a parent will go to protect her child. Divorced teacher Rachel Klein, a cancer survivor, lives on Massachusetts’s Plum Island with her 13-year-old daughter, Kylie. She’s driving to Boston one day to see her doctor when she gets a call from an unidentified woman who sounds upset. The woman tells Rachel that she has kidnapped Kylie, and the only way to get Kylie back is for Rachel to kidnap another child. The woman, whose own child has been kidnapped, and Rachel are now links in a chain of abductions. If Rachel doesn’t follow the program, Kylie will die. In desperation, Rachel and her retired military brother-in-law, Pete O’Neill, eventually kidnap a random child to win her daughter’s release. At that point, an angry Rachel and Pete, ignoring warnings to continue to remain silent and do nothing, go on the offensive to track down the people responsible for the kidnapping chain, culminating in a violent confrontation in a marshy area south of Plum Island. Readers won’t be able to put this thriller down. Agent: Shane Salerno, Story Factory. (July)