Excerpt from The Chain

She Wore Mourning, the first book in the Zachary Goldman Mysteries series, is currently on sale for $0.99. Take the opportunity to start this series now!

I am almost finished reading The Chain by Adrian McKinty. A fascinating read, lots of suspense and thrills! It is not just a kidnap thriller; there is so much more to it.

I do have one beef with it, though. There is a scene where one of the little girls has an anaphylactic reaction to traces of peanuts. The kidnappers do not have an epi-pen for her, so one of them goes into town to get one from the pharmacy (without a prescription) and the other stays with the little girl as she is foaming, covered with hives, breathing strictured, etc. The woman who has stayed with her wonders whether she should give the girl antihistamines, googles it, and the first Google result says that she should not administer antihistamines because it will make the anaphylaxis worse.

No. Antihistamines will not make anaphylaxis worse and may improve the situation. Epinephrine is the first line of defence and thus should always be administered first, but if epi is not available, antihistamines are not going to make it worse. You are not supposed to administer antihistamines before epinephrine not because it will make anaphylaxis worse, but because it delays the administration of epi. Epi first, then antihistamines. Epinephrine is only effective for about 15 minutes, long enough to get the patient to the hospital. When they reach the hospital, she is going to be given antihistamines as part of her treatment.

Getting medical stuff like this wrong in fiction is a problem because people believe it. I would hate for someone not to administer antihistamines when they were available because they thought it would make anaphylaxis worse, and that they’re better off waiting for an hour to get an epi auto-injector. Someone struggling to breathe after two minutes is not going to survive. (Spoiler—the little girl does survive until they get epinephrine and is fine without any further treatment. Neither point is believable.)

On to my teaser:

I kidnapped your daughter so that my boy will be released. He’s been kidnapped and is being held by a man and woman I don’t know. You must select a target and kidnap one of that person’s loved ones so The Chain will go on.

Adrian McKinty, 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.

“You are not the first. And you will certainly not be the last.” Rachel is now part of The Chain, an unending and ingenious scheme that turns victims into criminals — and is making someone else very rich in the process. The rules are simple, the moral challenges impossible; find the money fast, find your victim , and then commit a horrible act you’d have thought yourself incapable of just twenty-four hours ago.

But what the masterminds behind The Chain know is that parents will do anything for their children. It turns out that kidnapping is only the beginning.


  1. Wow, this one sounds intense! Thanks for sharing, and here’s mine: “PLAYING NICE”

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