It is late and you are absolutely exhausted. Another day struggling to make ends meet has taken its toll on you and you really just need to unwind. Then it happens- the baby starts screaming. Your paternal instincts kick in and you pick up the wailing infant in an attempt to soothe their pain. Unfortunately, this is one of those times where nothing seems to work. Now, at this point any normal parent would take additional measures to ease the child’s discomfort. Well, normal parents are not the main character in Robert R, McCammon’s, Mine. See, the main character in Mine is a woman known as Mary Terror and what she chooses to do is take the child and shove its face into a white hot oven range. Yep, you know that this is going to be an intense read from the get-go.
Laura Clayborne is a successful journalist with a successful stockbroker husband. But her marriage is foundering and her biological clock is winding down. David, her newborn son, is the only light of her life.
Mary Terrell, alias Mary Terror, is a scarred survivor of the Sixties. A former member of the terrorist group, Storm Front Brigade, she now festers in a world of warped memories and unrelenting rage. Quite simply, Mary Terror is mad. Murderously mad.
When Mary Terror steals Laura’s baby and heads west, killing anyone in her way, Laura realizes the only way to stop her is to hunt her down. But the closer she gets to Mary, the more she must think and act like her….
Mary Terror is a child of the sixties, a lover of peace, except that somewhere along her life’s path hate and evil began to replace the concepts of love and empathy. These feelings have slowly devoured Mary over the years, to the point where she is just a shell of her former self. She is a pure ball of mangled insanity and misplaced madness. Her distorted view of reality has led her to the belief that the only way to make things right is to get a child and take it to her ex-love in California. Mary is simply trying to find her place in a world where her ideals are no longer the status quo. Instead of adapting, as many of Mary’s friends from the 60’s have, she still holds the same anger and hatred toward “the system” and attempts to fit them into modern society. The result is one of the most frightening characters that you are likely to read. Mary’s drive knows no bounds as she steals a child and takes off for the West Coast, leaving a trail of death in her wake.
McCammon writes Mary Terror with frightening realism. The descriptions of her thoughts, drug use and habits make this character really jump off the page. McCammon puts forth the present day Mary Terror without bias- allowing the reader to discover how far-reaching her madness truly is. These descriptions are contrasted beautifully with flashbacks of Mary with the group known as The Storm Front Brigade. The reader can begin to make the connections in their head between the two eras as we slowly begin to see how Mary’s mind has devolved. Having these flashbacks add quite a bit of “fat” to the story and also help the reader catch their breath during one heart-pounding story.
Mine is one of the most intense reads you are likely to come across. There are points in the novel where the story works up to a pace so frantic that your palms will sweat. At its core, the book is about a mother’s love for her child and the lengths parents will go for the ones they love. This is the center of all the tension throughout the book. The reader will cringe as Mary Terror attempts to care for poor baby David in her own unique way and they will certainly be on the edge of their seat as Laura realizes that the only person she can trust is herself in the pursuit of Mary. It is a classic cat-and-mouse game that is written with sniper-like precision.
For me, Mine is McCammon stepping away from his normal style and writing something to have a bit of fun. This book does not share anything in common with the deep emotional themes of Boy’s Life or the sweeping scope of Swan Song. Nope, this book is simply an action driven tale done to complete perfection. McCammon is not reinventing the wheel here; he is simply making the most streamlined and ferociously fast wheel that we have ever seen.
If you are looking for a wonderful page-turner with some truly horrific elements sprinkled in with non-stop action than Mine may just be the book for you!
You can read more about Mine and all things McCammon over at Robert’s site.