Fifty Mice

image001December 2014 from Blue Rider Press


Jay Johnson is an Average Joe, a thirty-something guy with a job in telephone sales, a regular pick-up basketball game, and a devoted girlfriend he seems ready to marry. But one weekday afternoon, he’s abducted on a Los Angeles Metro train, tranquilized, interrogated, and his paper trail obliterated. What did he see, what terrible crime—or criminal—is he keeping secret? It must be something awfully big. The trouble is, Jay has no clue.

Furious and helpless, and convinced that the government has made a colossal mistake, Jay is involuntarily relocated to a community on Catalina Island—which turns out to be inhabited mainly by other protected witnesses. Isolated in a world of strangers, Jay begins to realize that only way out is through the twisted maze of lies and unreliable memories swirling through his own mind. If he can locate—or invent—a repressed memory that might satisfy the Feds, maybe he can make it back to the mainland and his wonderful, even if monotonous, life.

Set in a noir contemporary L.A. and environs, Fifty Mice is a Hitchcockian thriller as surreal and mysterious as a Kafka nightmare. Chilling, paranoiac, and thoroughly original, it will have readers grasping to distinguish what is real and what only seems that way.


“[A] wonderfully paranoid jaunt through competing realities…Pyne’s confident hand guides readers to a surprising, popcorn-dropping final twist.” —Publishers Weekly

“Drawing on the noir tradition…a serious consideration of memory and how it functions, or doesn’t.” —Booklist review

“Exceedingly clever, expertly timed, and dripping with paranoia, the nightmarish scenario at the center of this thrilling story turns on a kick-ass dime.” – Karin Slaughter

“Screenwriter and author Pyne (Twentynine Palms) weaves a smart, exceedingly clever, and unusual tale with a horrible secret at its center, which is as much a late coming-of-age story as it is a thriller. Fans of brainy noir will find much to love in this highly satisfying, big-screen-ready book” – Kristin Centorcelli, Library Journal

“A unique thrill ride…. A real cat-and-mouse story….This plot is both gripping and suspenseful, as the author offers up a secret that will make all us ‘normal’ people out there think long and hard about the people powerful enough to change lives in an instant. Pyne is an extremely clever writer. “ – Suspense Magazine

“[Pyne] knows how to control a thriller, but in “Fifty Mice” he intentionally removes any notion of control. There is no telling what will happens from one page to the next because he creates a flawed, vulnerable character with no sway over his own memory. “Fifty Mice” illustrates the obscurity of life, how easy it is to erase a life not lived, and how difficult it can be to tell the difference between a mouse and a man.”– Boston Herald

“It’s an exciting, disturbing read. The words fly. The story twists and turns inward, then outward, then in on itself again, and everything that happens might be a ruse – social, mental, or both.” –

“FIFTY MICE is loaded with surprises, twists and turns that kept this reader guessing until the very end.” –

Read more reviews of Fifty Mice here.

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