Book Reviews: The Chain, The Fireman, and The Hunting Party.

Today’s reviews are all grown up books I’ve read this year. I don’t know who I am either.

The Chain by Adrian McKinty

The Chain was the book I read on my last pre-Covid outing as the news that we were likely heading to lockdown broke, so it will always stick in my head for that, but also because it terrified me. The premise is that your child is taken, and to get them back, you have to kidnap someone else’s child. There’s money involved too and drama, but it was the central question of “would you kidnap someone else’s child to save your own” that hooked me most, and I don’t know that I liked myself very much when I answered this. The Chain is definitely a book of two halves, and the first follows Rachel as she finds out her daughter has been taken and wrestles with whether or not to kidnap another child; the second half looks more at unearthing the people behind the chain. The whole boook fascinated and terrified me in equal measure. The characters are fascinating, brilliant, but not entirely likeable. There are some really great twists too. It’s a fast-paced page turner. I will definitely be looking for more books by this author.

The Fireman by Joe Hill

Lucinda put this on my TBR in September, and there was something very unnerving about reading about a pandemic terrorising the world during a pandemic terrorising the world. I loved this one though. It’s very dark. The virus here causes people to develop something called dragon scale which spreads until it takes over your entire body and you combust. It follows Harper, a teacher who turns to nursing during the pandemic and then contracts the disease whilst pregnant. Her partner is a truly vile excuse of a human, and she ends up leaving and finding a community of people living with the virus, and a man enigmatically known as The Fireman. He seems to have the power to control the virus and wield it’s power in a way no-one else can. The community becomes increasingly cult like and there are difficulties inside and outside of their camp. Harper’s only goal is to live long enough to bring her child safely into the world and she has to make some difficult decisions to achieve this. This is a haunting book. It wouldn’t be an easy read at any time, but especially so in the current climate. It is brilliantly written, and a great story, so if you can deal with the subject matter at this time, I’d definitely recommend it.

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

The Hunting Party was pitched to my as being an adult S.T.A.G.S. Personally I didn’t find any similarities to S.T.A.G.S, but it was a good adult thriller and I did enjoy reading it. A group of friends go away on a New Year holiday to the middle of nowhere, but one of them dies and the others are all suspects. It is creepy – the setting of the middle of the country in the grounds of an estate. I couldn’t honestly say I liked a single one of the characters in the book, although their friendship dynamics made for interesting reading. Their lives have caused them to drift apart; they are all harbouring secrets (some shocking, some less so), and there’s a sense of them feeling forced to act like they enjoy each other’s company. A lot of the time I just wanted to smack their heads together! I couldn’t understand why they persisted in going away together when it’s clear that they barely like each other. There’s also a housekeeper on the estate who gives off a sense of warmth and caring, and the dark and brooding gamekeeper who appears occasionally and (inevitably) ends up as a suspect. It is cleverly plotted with great twists, and a good page-tuner. Definitely recommended if you enjoy awkward friendships and thrillers.

Have you read any of these?

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