Polar – McKinty dropped “The Chain”

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Acclaimed by Stephen King, the Irish author of the crazy thriller “The Chain” takes us to a wild island, behind closed doors, at the mercy of its inhabitants…

Polar – McKinty dropped “The Chain”

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In the prologue, on a beach at the other end of the world, a young woman is about to kill a man she barely knows with a machete. Obviously, for an American from Seattle, this is not quite the custom. The plot of this thriller will lead us, like her, to consider this option as a logical, even inevitable conclusion. Because the dream vacation in Australia is going to take a… crazy turn. Heather, the young masseuse who has just married a paternizing doctor, father of two teenagers, finds herself with her new family on a private island. They wanted to see koalas, they will find themselves captives of degenerate madmen. And we wriggle like in The Chain – success of this Northern Irishman -, which developed a real devilry: the equivalent of a Ponzi scheme coupled with a “Sophie's choice”. With Chased, it's confirmed: Adrian McKinty, it's been a long time since we've seen anything so mean.

Chased, by Adrian McKinty, translated from English by Pierre Régnier, Mazarine, 368 pages, €22.

Polar – McKinty dropped “The Chain”

Polar – McKinty dropped “  The Chain”

The killer extract

Perched on the blasted eucalyptus, a crow with a a skeptical yellow eye stared at her.
That crow was death.
If he croaked, she was dead. If it caught Jacko's attention by flying away, she was dead.
The bird was watching her with its head tilted slightly.
She crawled carefully through the dry grass, then, reaching level with the tree, stopped to catch her breath.
With the bottom of her T-shirt, she wiped the sweat that was dripping down her forehead. She sucked off the moisture collected on the fabric as best she could.
Having allowed herself a few moments of respite, she resumed her progress on all fours, beyond the tree, to the end of the strip. grassy.
Now there was only the beach between Jacko and her. No vegetation. Zero protection. There was little point in crawling along the ground any longer.
Slowly, without sudden movement, she stood up and moved the machete from her left hand to her right hand. It was an old object, quite heavy, all rusty. She clenched her fingers on its cracked wooden hilt, hoping the blade wouldn't fly out of it when she raised it to strike.
Firmly on her feet, she began to walk.
Killing living things, she had done before – salmon, trout, ducks.
But here it was different, wasn't it? not ? Very different.
Here it was a human being.
Sitting astride the barrel of oil, Jacko had his back to it. The rifle strapped behind his shoulder was an antique, but it looked pretty dreadful enough.
She continued to walk cautiously, her bare feet making no sound on the sand and pebbles.
In the bay, a short distance from the shore, a huge mass rose to the surface of the water. They had done well not to attempt to swim across to take shelter. The scarred dorsal fin that pointed skyward was that of a great white. Jacko had noticed her too. Suddenly he stood up, grabbed his rifle and shouldered it to aim at the shark. A loud bang shook the serenity of the beach. Herons and seagulls took flight from the mudline.
She looked behind her.
The crow perched on the tallest branch of the charred tree had not flinched. He was still looking at her with his head bowed. He was patient. He had seen this kind of scene before. No doubt he was expecting scavengers to land soon.
Jacko had missed his target.
“Shit! he growled to himself as the shark drifted away into the bay, then disappeared under the water.
She waited for him to put the gun back behind his shoulder.
But he just stood there, staring out at the sea, the gun in his hands.
Olivia was still lying in front of him – inert.< br/>The walkie-talkie hissed.
Jacko pulled on the bolt handle of the rifle, a copper caliber cartridge case. 303 ejected from it and landed on the sand, he pushed the bolt and a new round entered the chamber.
If she made the slightest noise and he turned around, he would shoot her without hesitation in the chest. She knew about weapons – she'd pretended to like them once, so she could spend time with her father. She knew that at this distance, the exit wound from a .303 bullet would be the size of a tangerine.
She stood still, waiting for Jacko to drop the rifle. He continued to stare out to sea, muttering under his breath. The sun was behind her and her very long shadow threatened to slip into Jacko's field of vision. She didn't like it at all.
Unfortunately she had to approach him that way, from behind.
She had no other option. But if he glanced to his left, he would see the end of her silhouette projected on the sand.
At least she was downwind.
When calm returned, the seagulls resumed their explorations on the mud. The herons were landing on the water.
The sun was beating down on his neck and his arms.
Jacko finally put the rifle behind his shoulder to sit down. He took out a lighter and some cigarettes, lit one, pocketed the packet and the lighter. She risked a step forward. His shadow moved too.
Jacko didn't react. She was now standing less than five meters from him. He tilted his head back and blew the cigarette smoke skyward. She took two more steps in his direction on the pebbly beach. Gently. Toes first, then soles, then heels. Place your foot with the greatest lightness every time.
Toes, soles, heel.
One more step.
Start again, until…
A brief, sharp twinge of deep pain.
The sharp edge of a shard of bottle had cut into the skin of her heel.
She bit her bottom lip to stop herself from screaming. Her shadow swayed across the sand as if trying to get Jacko's attention. Blinking back tears, she sat cross-legged. There was blood, but the shard hadn't penetrated his flesh too deeply. She grabbed it between two fingers to pull it out, then licked her thumb and rubbed the wound. The pain started to ebb. She applied a flat pebble to the wound. The bleeding seemed to lessen. That would do. She couldn't sit here indefinitely.
She rose to her feet and took three small, cautious steps.
Now her treacherous shadow was inviting itself into Jacko's field of vision.
Closer, a little closer…
She could see the print on the back of Jacko's sweat-soaked yellow tank top. There was a red star above the words bintangbeer.
She smelled good, too. It reeked of sweat, cigarettes and motor oil. The beach was peaceful again. The echoes of the gunshot having dissipated, all she could hear was the roar of the sea in the strait.
To his left, the last threads of morning mist were evaporating in the sun. The atmosphere was as if expecting the heat to come. Another scorching day was coming—at least forty-five degrees.
Today, she remembered, was February 14. Funny how the seasons were reversed. At home, the temperature could not exceed five degrees.
Valentine's Day.
Exactly twelve months earlier, Tom had walked through the door of the institute, in West Seattle, to her first therapeutic massage appointment. It was snowing that day. Tom still had snowflakes in his hair when he lay down on the table.
How much change a single year could bring…
She was then childless, in a precarious professional situation, and lived in a wet furnished near Alki Beach. Today she was married, responsible for two teenagers, and about to kill a man she barely knew on a beach halfway around the world.
She took two steps, soundlessly , and raised the machete.

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