Thursday, 16 February 2012


Mice by Gordon Reece
Paperback, 330 pages

Published February 2nd 2012 by Pan Books
(First Published September 1st 2010)

My shelves: adult-fiction, arc-or-review, books-i-own, crime-thriller-mystery, currently-reading, horror, read-in-2012, realistic-fiction, title-appeal, young-adult
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:
'Shelley, darling,’Mum said. ‘Don’t be frightened. He just wants money. If we do everything he says, he’s going to go away and leave us alone.’
I didn’t believe her, and I could tell from the trembling of her hands and the catch in her voice that she didn’t believe it herself. When a cat gets into the mousehole, it doesn’t go away leaving the mice unharmed.

I knew how this story was going to end.

Shelley and her mum have been bullied long enough. When they retreat to an isolated cottage in the country, they think their troubles are over, and they revel in their cosy, secure life. But one night, an intruder disturbs their peace and something inside Shelley snaps. What happens next will shatter all their certainties.

My thanks go to Pan Macmillan for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

I finally feel as though I can stop holding my breath now that I've finished reading Gordon Reece's debut novel, Mice. It was the title that made this appeal to me at first as it seemed quite strange, especially teamed with the cover photograph. I just had to see what this was all about. Now I'm not usually excited by the thought of crime or thriller based books, but this one had me gripped! This is a novel that will appeal to older teenagers and adults alike.

There are two main characters in this book - Shelley and her mother. They are both seen a mice, meaning that they are quiet, subservient and when we first meet them, they are seeking a place to hide. We gradually learn what has made Shelley and their mother this way - a nasty family separation and some very severe bullying. I've noticed that some people found the start of this story slow, but I have to disagree. I thought that the gradual development of character as well as some recollections of Shelley's suffering at the hands of her once 'friends' (which included being set on fire) to be both necessary and interesting. The quite emotional first half of this book made me really connect with Shelley. I thought her actions, thoughts and feelings felt very realistic for someone who was bullied, and for someone of her age. 

Our characters start to get their lives back on track when they find a new home, Honeysuckle Cottage, which is remote in the countryside where the bullies can't find them. Everything should be getting better, but then something changes their lives forever. I'll not tell you exactly what happens - you'll have to check it out for yourself, but it is eventful and quite horrific!

During the second half of the book, nearly everything dramatically changes. The pace speeds up, the plot propels forward and the characters go through waves of emotion and change. Shelley and her mother change a lot, discovering things about themselves and we see parts of their personality that were previously hidden.  Together, they grow from mice into much stronger, wilder animals. They are quite complex characters, but they are also very straight forward in their thoughts and actions.

I can understand why this book may be slightly controversial, especially due to the ending as it may look to send out the 'wrong message', but this is a work of fiction and as a form of entertainment, it certainly is successful. The story, and character's reactions, is at points difficult to believe, but it's not completely unrealistic. This book was full of suspense and it was certainly a thriller. I held my breath throughout a lot of this story, and was completely enthralled straight away. I was always on edge, wanting to know what was going to happen next - it was really difficult to put the book down! 

This was a remarkable debut novel from Gordon Reece, with great writing, and I'm excited to see what he offers us in the future. This is a book I will be recommending to quite a few adults in particular.


  1. Wow great review...I'll be looking forward to reading this one! It sounds really intense and like a great read. :) Thanks for reviewing.

  2. I'm looking forward to this one and curious about the possibly controversial ending. Great review!

  3. This sounds like a nailbiter. Sometimes I'm just in the mood for something that keeps me worried throughout and this sounds like it would really be perfect. I'd never heard of it until your review so thanks for the recommendation. Geez, even the cover is kind of creepy.

  4. Love your review! I shared a link on my blog today:

  5. sounds like a great book, I found the title and your review very intriguing! thanks for sharing your thoughts on it!

  6. Hmm, this sounds like my type of book, for sure! I will definitely check it out. Thanks for a great recommendation! :-)

  7. Hello, dear! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. I'm following you back :) I adore the owl theme you've got going on. Too cute.

    I haven't heard anything about this book yet, but it sounds like something I would really enjoy. I might have to check it out. Thanks for the review!

    Lilly @ BookLungs


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