ANARCHY OF THE MICE by Jeff Bond starts off strong–the kind of action-adventure readers may find hard to put down. Its concept is unique and fascinating: what if civilization’s present-day over reliance upon data was turned on its head by every single bit of it just permanently…disappearing? And we’re talking everything. All those lovely or worrisome numbers that appear on people’s bank statement screens. All government and societal records. There would be no more knowing or proving what belonged to whom. No more human resource files or jailhouse records. Everyone would get a fresh slate. On the other hand, concepts like officially enforced law and order would be rendered null and void.
In terms of plot, the various elements of the story initially unfold well. A hacktivist group called the Blind Mice have decided to hold a mirror up to this dysfunctional world, beginning by crippling a ‘Despicable Dozen’ corporations; i.e. the worst offenders such as American Dynamics who become subject to website crashes, factory slow-downs, document leakage, etc. Eventually dissatisfied by the public’s lack of response, the group progresses towards utility power grid interruptions and the murder of prominent figures. Meanwhile, divorced mom, private investigator, and fresh-faced idealist Molly McGill is invited by Quaid Rafferty, a handsome ex-governor, and Durwood Oak Jones, a private arms/small force contractor, to help infiltrate the Blind Mice.
Throughout the early chapters of this 450+ page suspense thriller, keeping up with ever-escalating mayhem is manageable and even exhilarating at points. But here’s the rub. If an entire crash of all societal systems did indeed lead to a potential reign of anarchy, how characters who feel like genuinely real people would cope is likely to be uppermost on many readers’ minds. Therefore, if the goal is to hold audience attention, delving more deeply and effectively into the emotional inner and outer lives of each individual crucial to the story is paramount. And it is this element that the book does not accomplish as well. There’s plenty of corruption and a bit of romantic appeal. There’s even enjoyable witty banter along the way, in between double-dealings and explosions. But who these people intrinsically are who are featured in what turns out to be quite an extensive cast of characters remains somewhat of a mystery. By the book’s conclusion, most are still superficially engaging, at best.
Burly of plot and premise, yet not as well-built in terms of character development, ANARCHY OF THE MICE by Jeff Bond careens from one dynamic moment of society trying to make order from chaos to the next.
~C.S. Holmes for IndieReader