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Anarchy of the Mice
Jeff Bond, author
From Jeff Bond, author of Blackquest 40 and The Pinebox Vendetta, comes Anarchy of the Mice, book one in an epic new series starring Quaid Rafferty, Durwood Oak Jones, and Molly McGill: the trio of freelance operatives known collectively as Third Chance Enterprises. How far could society fall without data? Account balances, property lines, government ID records -- if it all vanished, if everyone's scorecard reset to zero, how might the world look? What savagery would take hold? The Blind Mice are going to show us. -------- Molly McGill is fighting it. Her teenage son has come downstairs in a T-shirt from these "hacktivists" dominating the news. Her daughter's bus is canceled -- too many stoplights out -- and school is in the opposite direction of the temp job she's supposed to be starting this morning. She is twice-divorced; her P.I. business, McGill Investigators, is on the rocks; what kind of life is this for a woman a mere twelve credit-hours shy of her PhD? Then the doorbell rings. It's Quaid Rafferty, the charming -- but disgraced -- former governor of Massachusetts, and his plainspoken partner, Durwood Oak Jones. The guys have an assignment for Molly. It sounds risky, but the pay sure beats switchboard work. They need her to infiltrate the Blind Mice. Danger, romance, intrigue, action for miles -- whatever you read, Anarchy of the Mice is coming for you.
This meaty debut, which launches the Third Chance Enterprises series, is a satisfying mix of action, romance, and anarchy. Molly McGill is a single mom who takes on temp jobs after her private business, McGill Investigators, fails. One morning, she has visitors: Quaid Rafferty, the charming and impeached former governor of Massachusetts; Durwood Oak Jones, a serious and resourceful former Marine from West Virginia, and Durwood’s elderly, obedient dog, Sue-Ann. They’ve founded a small freelance security service and beg Molly to join them in infiltrating and defeating the Blind Mice, a group of young hackers dedicated to “overthrowing the corporatocracy.” As important computer data on property lines vanishes, Bond creates a scary yet credible anarchist near future where looting and civilians carrying guns are all part of everyday life.

Many sections of the book drag on too long, padded by witty dialogue and confounding machinations. This flaw is redeemed by Molly, a likable character who uses her background in psychology to develop rapports with some of the more powerful Mice in the group. She gets particularly close to Piper Jackson, a 17-year-old African American computer whiz who facilitates the demands of the unhinged Mice leader, Josiah, in retribution for a white business owner setting up her brother to take the fall for the company’s misdeeds. By balancing Molly’s adventures with scenes of her life as a single mother, Bond makes her strength feel realistic and practical.

The crowded but compelling tale gets better when Quaid, Durwood, and Molly discover that the Blind Mice is conspiring with Fabienne Rivard, a power-hungry French heiress and CEO. The tough trio fight an uphill battle to return the world to normalcy. Bond uses classic spy thriller elements—including disguises, high-tech gear, and an underground lake full of piranhas—to produce a satisfying if overlong climax. Readers will be eager to see what will happen with Third Chance Enterprises’ next client.

Takeaway: This adventurous spy thriller with a touch of dystopia will satisfy readers who delight in memorable characters.

Great for fans of Ian Fleming’s James Bond series, Vince Flynn.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A+
Illustrations: -
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A-