Shelley and her mother Elizabeth are “mice” – timid, nervous and extremely non-confrontational women. They never stand up for themselves and suffer the consequences silently.
Shelley’s father leaves them for a younger woman and Elizabeth does not put up a fight. Shelley is bullied relentlessly at school and never says a word to anyone – not even her mother – and instead contemplates suicide. The torture escalates to a point that Shelley is lit on fire in the girl’s bathroom. No one is punished for the act. Instead, the school administration decides that it would be best if Shelley did not return to school at all and assign her tutors.
Elizabeth takes Shelley and the meager money she receives from the divorce and moves them to a cottage deep in the woods. Life is good for them for a while as they are isolated and do not have to deal with people.
One night, Shelley is awakened by a creak on the stairs and her worst nightmare ensues. A man has broken into their home and begins to terrorize and rob them. It is Shelley’s birthday and that combined with seeing the man punch her bound mother in the face causes something to snap deep inside her. She manages to get untied, chases the intruder outside, stabs him repeatedly and struggles back into the kitchen with him. The man manages to get on top of Shelley and just as he is about to strangle her to death, Elizabeth kills him with a skillet.
The women are terrified that they will be prosecuted for killing the man as Shelley chased him outside before beginning to stab him. They attempt to cover the murder up only to be blackmailed by an accomplice that they never saw that night.
Mice was a very compelling read. However, the story dragged at times when the women refused to stick up for themselves. The climax more than made up for this with so many twists and turns you almost needed a road map to keep up.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Viking Adult. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.