Your Preview Verdict: The Island by Adrian McKinty

Your Preview Verdict: The Island by Adrian McKinty

Propulsive, terrifying, and blade-sharp, The Island is the next thrilling adventure from the mastermind behind the award-winning global sensation The Chain, and a family story unlike any you’ve read yet.

You should not have come to the island.

You should not have been speeding.

You should not have tried to hide the body.

You should not have told your children that you could keep them safe.

No one can run forever . . .

Read some great reviews from our Preview readers here:

I did not know much about this book before diving in and all I can say is Wow! This book was a wild ride, from that first chapter onwards I was completely hooked. Heather is one of the main characters, she is married to Tom, who is a widowed Doctor, with a daughter and a son. They are on a trip to Australia for Tom’s work conference and the kids really want to see koalas. The family end up on a remote island and the story just escalates from there. Following a tragic accident on the island the family end up in a nightmare situation. This book was gripping and tense and I felt I was glued to every page while seeing what would happen next. I loved Heather as a character she was such a strong female lead and I felt she was extremely likeable. I do not want to say too much about the book because I don’t want to give anything away. It was unlike most of the other thrillers I usually read but had some great twists and I really felt I could not put it down until I knew how it all ended. I feel lovers of fast-paced addictive thrillers will love this one. Karis, WA, 5 Stars

I really enjoyed this. I loved The Chain so went in with high expectations and was not disappointed! Belinda, NSW, 5 Stars

Wow! Absolutely fantastic, edge of the seat, action packed, thrill ride! This was the first novel I have read by Adrian McKinty and if ‘The Island’ this is any indication of his talent what I can hope to expect from other novels, I am hooked! ‘The Island’ is superbly written sweeping the reader into the thrills and drama of the freakishly terrifying Island. My heart was racing, I was right there with Heather gripped in terror as she scrambled to save the lives of her family. Very highly recommended for any lovers of and action packed, edge of your seat, gasp a moment, thrill ride. But a word of warning though, if you want a good nights sleep, this is not a book to read before bed, you won’t be able to put it down! My heart is still racing!! Katrina, QLD, 5 Stars

Compelling, gripping, mind blowing. 3 words that immediately come to mind when I think of this book. Set on a little island just out from Victoria, The Island shows what happens when outsiders threaten the life that was started many years ago by one man. If it wants for Heather’s upbringing and her survival knowledge, I have no doubt this book would of ended very differently 😬 In fact, when I grow up , i want to be as resourceful as Heather! This story was one of the those ones that when your not reading it, you can’t stop thinking about it. I loved every bit about it. Jessica, QLD, 5 Stars

I was gripped by this book. It had so much action to keep you on the edge of your seat. Heather, her husband and his two children get trapped on an island off Victioria and are faced with a family of maniacs who live on the island. Heather proves to be a very strong woman which kept it interesting. Great story. I recommend. Renee, QLD, 5 Stars

I really enjoyed The Island, what an awesome page turner. Just couldn’t put it down. A very believable story line that kept me on the edge of my seat. Scary, brings out the best and worst of human nature. Loved it. Kevin, WA, 5 Stars

This is an exciting, twisty, adreline packed book. Highly recommend it, you will want to read just one more page, and then just one! I could not put it down, even when I was scared and hiding , I was jumpy whilst reading, what a thrill ride. I didnt know who to trust in the book, a dream trip gone wrong, a family running for their lives, like really running. This book had my heart pounding with the twisty tale. Andreea, ACT, 5 Stars

Adrian McKinty’s The Island is genuinely freaky, an intense battle for survival and an awesome heart pumping read! Tom and his family visit a private island off the Australian coast and find themselves in an utter nightmare of a situation. While they are driving around the island a tragic car accident occurs that dramatically turns their island experience upside down. The story is jam packed with tension and suspense. It is uniquely written in that it is fast paced as well as eerily tense throughout. You won’t want to put it down. The characterisation is genius, with each character given life through descriptive prose and lively detail. The scene setting is colourful with vibrant imagery of Australia. Oh the ending will blow your mind for sure!! I totally recommend this thriller. Samantha, QLD, 5 Stars

A non-stop gripping thriller that leaves you holding your breath at every turn. When Heather and Tom decide to take a sightseeing trip, their kids Olivia and Owen, persuade them to visit a private island where they are promised koala and kangaroo sightings. When an accident leaves 1 dead, everyone ends up fighting for their lives. Even those that live on the island. Amanda, VIC, 5 Stars

Wow! What a cracker… as I was reading this I was thinking that how it was like an Aussie version of Deliverance, so I was not surprised to find in the acknowledgements that the author had used this in his inspiration. The Island is easy to read, although as a Victorian, I was mildly uncomfortable… yikes, is this family for real?? I love books with an Aussie flavour, and this one wasn’t too “Ockerish”, so I think it will certainly have appeal both here and overseas. The characters and story were well written, and I could easily see this as a movie. This is my first time reading this author, but I’m going to seek out his earlier work, as I enjoyed his writing style. Thank you to @BetterReading and @HachetteAus for an advanced, uncorrected proof in exchange for an unbiased review. Tracy, VIC, 5 Stars

Wow! This book grabbed me in the first few paragraphs and I found myself picking it up to devour a few pages whenever I had a spare minute. The plot was unexpected and just when I thought I knew what was going to happen – there was a twist I couldn’t have predicted. If you are after a book to keep you on the edge of your sit – this is it. The author wrote beautifully to paint the story in my mind, I could easily visualise the island and it’s unique inhabitants! Nicole, NSW, 5 Stars

The Island tells the story of Heather and her family’s adventure in Australia. McKinty taps into the familiar trope of Australia as a wild country populated by even wilder people and animals. I particularly liked the theme of connection to country underpinning the story. The pace is thrilling and unrelenting with writing on par with Stephen King and action reminiscent of The Hunger Games. McKinty had me hooked and I couldn’t put this book down! Anne, VIC, 5 Stars

Fantastic read. Could not put this book down. Best book have read in quite awhile. Stays with you long after it ends. Heather is a pocket rocket and you just love her endlessly by the end. Five Stars without a doubt. Paula, SA, 5 Stars

The Island by Adrian McKinty is a fast-paced action-packed thriller. Prepare yourself for a roller coaster, wild, non-stop ride. Tom Baxter, his new young wife Heather, and Tom’s two children Olivia and Owen are headed to Australia from the USA for working vacation. Heather hopes the time away will bring her closer to her stepchildren. All Olivia and Owen want to do is see a Koala, the family take a trip to a tourist area called Dutch Island, owned by the O’Neil family. When a car accident leaves the family stranded and what they think is a rescue soon becomes their worst nightmare. Will they ever get off the island? Filled to the brim with intrigue, action, and suspense, The island hooks you in from the start and refuses to let go until the end. Author Adrian McKinty infuses the narrative with a sense of tension and dread that will have you biting your nails in trepidation. The plot is completely unpredictable, and you’re never quite sure what’s going to happen next. What I found so intriguing about McKinty’s writing is how he managed to hold my attention with each character, he made them come alive and capture my imagination, each being so different from the other. If you’re looking for a well-written action-packed thriller, I recommend The Island. Thank you Better Reading and Hachette Australia for the opportunity to read and review. Melissa, SA, 5 Stars

The Island had me glued from the first page. From the descriptive scenes of the outback, to the secretive characters not only in the immediate family but the characters on the island – this is a page turner. The book has a way of drawing you into the fast paced storyline and it’s Heather, one of the main female characters, that captures you from the beginning and takes you on her journey. It you close your eyes, you can imagine the places visited by these characters, even if you have never left your own backyard. It’s a book that has numerous twists and turns, right till the end – which is what I really love. Rachael, NSW, 5 Stars

Calling this the best thriller of 2022 by far! I loved this fast paced, mysterious and tense adventure! I was up late at night as I could not put this book down. Jessica, QLD, 5 Stars

Oooft! I felt like I was running while reading this book. What a page flipper, it’s a quick read, so exciting. This will be the perfect read for anyone about to hit the airport from USA and travel to Australia for their first holiday. It is quite descriptive in nature of the locations in Australia along with Melbourne Victoria, and a great twist on some of the things folk from overseas hear and expect of the Aussies and the wildlife. I loved the nature of the characters and the growth they experience through out the thrilling adventure, and loved Heather, what a pocket rocket she turns out to be. I enjoyed this so much I have even convinced Husband to read it, and I think he too, will appreciate it. This was my first Adrian McKinty novel, but it wont be my last. Sharon, QLD, 5 Stars

This book should come with a warning. I couldn’t put it down. Loved it, best book I’ve read this year that scared the daylights out me. Adrian McKinty is a genus, this is what true nightmares are made of. His research for this book was superior, it was like a history lesson that scared the crap of you. Realistic Horror! So gripping, suspenseful and chilling. I loved the characters, the back stories didn’t take you away from the actual story. Once again loved every chapter! Christie, NSW, 5 Stars

One mistake can change the lives of many. Also shows that honesty is the best way of living life. A day’s drive to a private island soon turns deadly when a car accident turns fatal and suddenly the idyllic countryside takes on a sinister mantle and the hunt or be hunted game begins. Terry, SA, 4 Stars

This fast paced, action packed thriller is extremely engrossing from the beginning to the crazy end! It tells the story of a newly blended family who have come to Australia for a vacation while the husband attends a medical conference. Desperate to see some Aussie wildlife they take up an offer to go to “The Island” – a decision that ends up very costly, both financially and even more extremely so, emotionally! The drama unfolds when the husband accidentally hits a local woman on her bike, with the repercussions being enormous. As an Australian (in fact, a Melbournian, where this is set) I found a couple of inconsistencies at the beginning a little off putting. Jenny the medical sales rep, – I felt her language and tone didn’t feel right – I have never heard a fellow Aussie speak like that nor believe that someone in her field would. Secondly it is mentioned that they feel like they could still be in America due to the Target, Walmart stores. There are no Walmart stores in Australia… Once I got past this and into the flow of the story, I was drawn in and became fully invested in the story. Whilst I ended up enjoying it immensely, I took it as pure escapism, instead of believing it could really happen. If you like your thrillers to be totally believable, this may not be the book for you. Sue, VIC, 4 Stars

A year after the loss of his first wife, Tom, brings his two traumatised teenage children, Olivia (14) and Owen (12), and new wife, Heather, with him to a medical conference in Australia. After visiting Uluru and Sydney, they settle in Melbourne. On a day out looking for koalas and other Australian wildlife, they discover the mysterious Dutch Island, inhabited by several generations of one lawless family and the site of a former prison. Together with a Dutch couple they’ve just met, they talk their way into being allowed to cross the shark-infested waters by ferry to explore a little of the island for only 45 minutes. Driving too fast, Tom collides with a woman on a bike. Naively thinking they can hit and run back to the ferry before anyone notices, things go horribly wrong. No-one knows where they are and communication with the outside world is non-existent. Will they ever get off the island? Tom tries to bribe his way out but it’s skills Heather has learnt from being the daughter of two Army officers and Owen watching Bear Grylls on TV that are needed in order to survive. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Thrilling! Sarah, NSW, 4 Stars

Wow, Just Wow! This book (The island by Adrian McKinty) was bloody brilliant. Once I started it, I couldn’t put it down. One of the best thrillers Ive read so far this year. Zhyesha, WA, 4 Stars

I’ve read many books about islands this year! The island by Adrian Mckinty is my favourite one. It is a great little horror. It is a well written book with great characters and thrills and spills! Australian characters in books and movies seem to make good horror characters, because of the cheeky personalities. This book is full of gritty characters and horrific suspense. It’s not a full on book but a fun ride if you like horror and thrills. It’s a mix of crazy characters and critters. The family in this book are from overseas, which is always fun when they freak out at Australian wildlife!. You will like this if you like a good ” wolf creek” type thrill! Ray, WA, 4 Stars

Tom Baxter, Seattle orthopaedic surgeon, has brought his family to Melbourne where he will be delivering a keynote conference speech. His new and very young wife Heather has come under sufferance, but is working on her step-relationship with hostile 12 year old Owen and contemptuous teen Olivia. During a day trip food stop they are enticed by the proprietor to take the ferry to Dutch Island, home to native wildlife and the O’Neill family. The kids are keen to see penguins and koalas, but the Baxters are soon to encounter a plethora of less cuddly adorable creatures. Tom is speeding when his rental car hits and kills a woman riding a bicycle. No phone signal to call for help, uneasy about the consequences, Heather’s survival instinct overrides her moral compass and they hide the body and flee. Bribing the ferry driver to return to the mainland through tiger shark infested waters, a walkie talkie alert quashes their escape. Returned at gunpoint to the island, possessions confiscated, tied up in a putrid farm shed the Baxters must take on the united, shotgun toting O’Neills, a law unto themselves. Compensation negotiations fail when the victim’s husband demands a lethally higher price. Bereft after Tom is stabbed and taken away, Heather and the kids manage to break loose. The nightmare of thirst, Summer heat, harsh terrain, unexploded ordnance, rusty traps and predators, animal and human, test relationships and forge them. Primitive Technology You-Tube channel and Bear Grylls skill inspired moments convince Heather they can’t continue to run and hide but must take the fight to their enemy. In ‘The Island’ author Adrian McKinty ensures the reader’s pulse will be pounding as furiously as the fleeing Baxter’s. Anita, QLD, 4 Stars

The Island by Adrian McKinty is an unputdownable holiday thriller. The book follows an American family on a working holiday in Australia, the family members consist of a father and his 2 teenage children and his new wife. They arrive in Melbourne and visit an island off the Mornington Peninsula to view Australian wildlife, but this visit turns into a fight and flight race for survival. This is nail biting, edge of your seat read! I would recommend it highly. Julie, VIC, 4 Stars

As a thriller, this book lives up to the genre. I enjoyed it but it was a little gruesome in some parts. Shows a family’s lawlessness when left to their own devices and under the control of a matriarch. With cunning and determination the heroes of this story prevail. Vivien, ACT, 4 Stars

Wow, what a page turner. I had to stay up way past my bedtime to finish this book, I couldn’t put it down. I don’t often read thriller-type books but I was so impressed with the unique story and really likeable characters. The pace was perfect, and the end didn’t disappoint. Highly recommend. Clare, NSW, 4 Stars

It took a while to get past the Australian clichés, but once I got into the headspace that it is completely fictional I really began to enjoy it. I wasn’t too keen on the characters at first. They seemed fairly one dimensional and not well developed but as the plot developed so did they. The teenagers displayed the usual angst and drama but luckily McKinty throws a curve ball our way, changing our opinion vastly. It was well-paced, exciting and delivered a good dose of suspense. The white Australians were easy to dislike and I found myself barracking for the Americans. I really enjoyed and respected the Indigenous aspects that McKinty introduced also which really added to the authenticity of the novel. As my first introduction to Adrian McKinty, I am looking forward to reading more! Rachael, QLD, 4 Stars

Hand on heart, I can honestly say that thrillers are generally not my “go to” genre when it comes to reading material. Usually I’m more of a crime girl. So perhaps that’s why the mention of “hiding a body” in the book blurb piqued my interest and made me want to read The Island by Adrian McKinty – and I’m pleased that I did. To summarise the storyline briefly, a family of American tourists (newly married dad and stepmum and two kids) visiting Melbourne decide they want to see and experience some real Australian wildlife and take a boat trip out to Dutch Island. However, a horrific accident while they’re on the island means that their day of discovery soon turns into a struggle for survival, ultimately testing their fragile family bonds. Although I personally found some of the characters and dialogue a little exaggerated or overblown, the story itself set a cracking pace, building tension as it went along, and it kept me interested and entertained from start to finish. Fans of exciting thrillers set in an Australian landscape will not be disappointed! Carol, SA, 3 Stars

The plot sounds great, unfortunately I couldn’t get into this book. The storyline was too predictable which spoiled it for me. Thanks for the opportunity to read this book for and honest review. Debbie, VIC, 1 Star

Thanks to Better Reading for an advance copy of this book. Wow what can I say. I really did not like this book! I am a fan of crime novels and thrillers but found this story line to be just ridiculous. There were also a lot of elements that really didn’t fit together. Firstly as an Aussie, I found the portrayal of the Australian characters insulting! Sure there are some unusual types out there (as there are everywhere), but these people are not your typical Australians! Apart from that, this book had some other issues. Heather starts out as a masseuse and by the end of the book has become a deadly assassin who knows how to manage herself in the wild. There is some reference to Aboriginals which felt misplaced, as did the half baked story line relating to domestic violence between the main character and his deceased ex-wife. I personally didn’t find this thrilling, rather felt it was more irritating than anything else. Belinda, NSW, 1 Star

Publisher details

The Island
Adrian McKinty
24 May, 2022


Propulsive, terrifying, and blade-sharp, The Island is the next thrilling adventure from the mastermind behind the award-winning global sensation The Chain, and a family story unlike any you've read yet.

You should not have come to the island.

You should not have been speeding.

You should not have tried to hide the body.

You should not have told your children that you could keep them safe.

No one can run forever . . .

Adrian McKinty
About the author

Adrian McKinty

Adrian McKinty is the author of fourteen previous novels, including Dead I Well May BeFifty GrandFalling Glass, and, most recently, The Sun Is God and the Detective Sean Duffy novels The Cold Cold GroundI Hear the Sirens in the Street, In the Morning I'll Be Gone, and Gun Street Girl. Born and raised in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, McKinty was called "the best of the new generation of Irish crime novelists" in the Glasgow Herald.

Books by Adrian McKinty


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *