Publishers love to flirt with the many jobs their authors have written before they can live on writing in the short biographies they print on the dust covers of their books. Far more unusual is the career of the Irish writer Adrian McKinty. He has been writing crime novels for almost 20 years, collecting prizes and good reviews, translating into German and French, not even selling bad.
Just not good enough.
And so McKinty and his family were thrown out of their house two years ago, and the acclaimed crime writer started working in various jobs at age 50: Tresenkraft, Fahrradkurier, Uber-Chauffeur. Maybe McKinty would not have written another novel so soon, if not one night a call from Shane Salerno woke him up. Salerno is the agent who had previously made Don Winslow a best-selling author, and he persuaded McKinty to continue.
Most recently, McKinty had created a seven-part romance cycle to the policeman Sean Duffy. Those who really want to know what life was like in Northern Ireland in the 1980s, when "the troubles" were everyday life, can not avoid this series. It shows impressively why the detective novel is the ideal medium to address social upheavals. With wit and force McKinty lets his cop talk about a time when death was a constant companion - and on the radio too often Phil Collins ran.
Mainstream were neither Sean Duffy nor its creator Adrian McKinty. Quite different than "The Chain", the novel that has now brought him the breakthrough. Ranked seventh on the "New York Times" best-seller list, which allegedly sells movie rights for a seven-figure sum.
A deserved success. Just for the wrong book?
"The Chain" is one of those thrillers living on the kind of idea that Hollywood agents love so much because they can pitch lenders to elevator rides. This elevator pitch could go something like this: "A child is kidnapped, and not only does the parent have to pay a ransom, but they also have to kidnap another child and ask their parents to do the same - until a mother starts to fight back, a perfect role for Jennifer Lawrence. "
The value system collapses
The idea does not seem to be bad, original, even. Because she's playing with the worst fears of almost all parents: what if something happens to my child? Because the value system of the parents collapses in the face of this extreme threat and become good citizens kidnappers and sometimes even murderers. At the same time victims and perpetrators caught in a moral dilemma.
For the backers in turn, this is a goldmine: "It's the Uber in the kidnapping business, where customers do most of the work themselves, and if it were the highest bidder on the market, it would be worth tens of millions of dollars."
The problem with this seemingly clever idea at first glance is that it is completely absurd. How could such a massive kidnapping series in and around Boston go unnoticed for years? Whether the traumatized abducted children babble something or their parents can not stand the pressure anymore and entrust themselves to the police or to a priest - someday someone always talks.
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04.09.2019, 14:39 clock
The Chain - If you break the chain, your child dies: Thriller
Anke and Eberhard Kreutzer (from English)
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But perhaps seasoned thriller readers simply overlook this lack of plausibility, and after all: McKinty makes it easy for them because he turns the volume knob to the right from the beginning. "The Chain" pops like an AC / DC concert. Too loud and a bit monotonous, but somehow also cool.
Another weakness of "The Chain" may be due to the calculation of the successful agent Salerno. He wanted to have an "American novel" from his new client McKinty, as he wrote in the epilogue to "The Chain". Brighter and more emotional and simple knitted.
Lots of debts on the karma account
It would have been unthinkable for McKinty to invent such an unrealistic protagonist as Rachel Klein: a single mother who, despite having finished her studies in philosophy, gets on with lousy jobs and has just learned about her second cancer diagnosis, whose child is kidnapped within a few days raise the ransom and kidnap a child, and their only friend and ally is their ex-brother-in-law to fight the sinister criminals, a retired soldier treating her post-traumatic stress disorder with heroin.
Phew, take a deep breath. And gather strength for banalities like, "There are so many bad people in the world, with a lot of debt on the Karma account, so why did it have to happen to her just like everything she's been through in recent years? ? " These explanatory passages are teeming with "The Chain" as well as old-fashioned TV crime thrillers, which summarize what has just happened so that even those who have just nodded off or have taken a snack come along.
"The Chain" is literary fast food, which can be tolerated if you do not think about what you are eating right now. But maybe readers will get an appetite for McKinty's fillets. The good news: He has already completed two more Duffy novels.