Author: Gordon Reece
Publication date: February 28, 2011
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Length: 329 pages
Genre: Suspense thriller
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
Sixteen year old Shelley and her mother move to Honeysuckle cottage in the middle of the countryside, fleeing their fears and anxieties and hoping to put behind them years of suffering at the hands of others. Shelley has endured terrible bullying from the girls who used to be her best friends, and her mother has been left reeling following a divorce from her selfish, demanding husband. For Shelley and her mother are ‘mice’ timid, nervous and obliging. And for a while, in their cottage-haven, the women flourish. But one night, their fragile peace is shattered when Shelley wakes to hear a creak on the stairs. Someone has broken into the house …
In the shocking, chilling events that follow, Shelley’s world is turned on its head, as the women find themselves tested as never before. And as their lives spiral out of control, the tension reaches fever pitch, and Shelley begins to wonder: if she and her mother are not mice after all, then what are they?
Having received a review copy of this book, I was really excited about picking it up and reading it because it sounded really promising. As those of you who follow my reviews might know, I absolutely love murder mysteries – I have some kind of an obsession with crime fiction, in fact. Even though Mice is actually a thriller – a genre I haven’t actually read before – it was right up my street. It’s one of those books that you’re simply unable to put down, something that makes you stay up at odd hours in order to find out what happens next. It draws you in to such an extent that you literally can’t move until you’ve finished reading it – only when the story reached a conclusion did I feel like I could breathe again.
What really struck me literally two pages in the story was Reece’s writing style. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of authors whose style simply blew me away but Reece is definitely one of them. His story is so clever and is written in such a sophisticated, such an eloquent way that you cannot help being completely drawn into his world and “listen” to every word he says, or in this case every word the narrator (and protagonist), the sixteen-year-old Shelley says. If I had to choose two aspects of the book that I loved the most then the author’s style would be one of them, followed by its unique storyline.
It’s very difficult to talk about the plot without giving anything away so I won’t go into details. The book, among many other things, deals with a situation where a mother and her daughter know they need to stay calm and not to panic but they’ve repressed their emotions for such a long time that something just snaps. They do something they’d never have done before and their momentary outburst causes several difficulties. Even though Mice is a thriller, the first incident that basically starts the ball rolling wasn’t terrifying in itself, at least for me. The way Reece gives us an insight into what goes on in their mind and how he describes the situation and the consequences was more haunting and effective for me.
All in all, I think Mice would fit into the category of psychological thriller perfectly, where the main emphasis is on characters and the consequences of their actions – or in other words, what they do when reality sinks in. I wasn’t familiar with Reece’s work right until now but he quickly became one of my favourite writers and after reading this book, I’ll make sure to keep an eye on his upcoming books. He’s just brilliant. I can’t praise him enough.
* Thank you to Pan Macmillan for sending me a copy of this book for review *