Robert R. McCammon's MINE

Synopsis  Introduction letter  Hungarian edition preface  Reviews 

Synopsis

With over five million copies of his work in print, Robert R. McCammon has earned the reputation as one of the most innovative storytellers of our time. His New York Times bestselling novels, Swan Song, Stinger, and The Wolf's Hour, explore fantastic landscapes and the hearts and minds of those who inhabit them. Now his dramatic new creation, MINE, rivals Thomas Harris's The SIlence of the Lambs for sheer, riveting storytelling power. It is a novel of psychological terror and unrelenting suspense set against the backdrop of America today.

Laura Clayborne is a successful journalist, the wife of a stockbroker with her own BMW and a house in the right Atlanta suburb. Her biological clock ticking down, her marriage foundering, Laura hopes that her newborn son, David, will make her life everything it ought to be.

Mary Terrell, aka Mary Terror, is a scarred and battered survivor of the radical '60s. Once a member of the fanatical Storm Front Brigade, Mary now lives in a hallucinatory world of memories, guns, and above all, murderous rage. Prompted by a personals ad in Rolling Stone, she becomes convinced that the former leader of the Brigade, the man she knows as Lord Jack, is commanding her to bring him the child she was carrying when her life and the lives of the other Storm Front radicals exploded in a bloody shootout with the FBI.

Mary Terror steals Laura's baby from a hospital room, and heads west on her journey of the damned: clutching an innocent child to her side, killing anyone who gets in her way, searching for Lord Jack. Stunned, weakened, Laura realizes that the woman who stole her baby is getting away with it, and sets out to hunt her down. What Laura doesn't know is that the closer she gets to Mary Terror the more she will have to learn to think and act like her—even to kill like her....


--From the back cover of the Pocket Books Advance Reading Copy of MINE, first published in May 1990.

Robert R. McCammon's Letter Introducing MINE

Dear Readers:

I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce you to my next novel, MINE, which will be published in hardcover by Pocket Books in May.

I sat down to write a ghost story. When I finished, I'd written MINE. Not exactly what I'd started out to do, and certainly not a ghost story in the traditional sense, but a ghost story all the same. MINE is the story of a past era, and a walking dead woman haunted by the specters of what used to be.

Mary Terror, a woman lost in time, yearns for the days of radical militancy and the underground presses, an era of black-light posters, roach clips, strawberry incense and psychedelic dreams. She remembers like the touch of an old lover the violence of those times—the clashes with "the pigs" on college campuses, the Weather Underground's bombings, the rage of the Black Panthers, the cold calculations of the Symbionese Liberation Army. Her own angry band of brothers and sisters—the Storm Front—is long gone, destroyed by the police in a shootout in 1972 that also took the life of her unborn child. Mary Terror escaped the inferno, and she's lived alone, on the run from the murders of her past, since 1972. She talks to God in her room, and listens to his commands at thirty-three and a third revolutions per minute. She waits like a coiled-up snake, an arsenal of guns around her, and she sniffs the air for the bitter, hated scent of pigs. Mary Terror is insane. Mary Terror is deadly.

And Mary Terror wants a baby.

What happened to those children of the sixties who learned the language of hatred, who swore oaths upon their bloodstained manifestos and vowed to never surrender? What happened to those soul survivors, when the clock of hours ran out on their day and the night came on fast and brutal and lonely? What happened to them, when the world stopped watching?

Most of them changed. Took off their bell-bottoms and cut their hair and merged into the stream that leads always into the future. Most of them married, had families, and now fret about rap music and their kids getting into drugs. Most of them went on.

But Mary Terror, with blood on her hands and darkness in her heart, has a different destination. Back into the twisted maze of the past, back into the domain of bombs and guns and highways heading toward a dream of glory across a haunted land.

Mary Terror is going to go back, in a search to recapture her youth and the days of the Storm Front, the best days of her life.

And this time she's going with a baby in her arms.

Even if the child is not her own.

So, a ghost story? Yes, I think MINE is. The ghosts of a time and place. The ghosts of what used to be, whispering from the yellowed pages of a Rolling Stone. Mary Terror's journey, into that land where the past and present meet in a violent and inexorable collision, is about to begin.

Robert R. McCammon


Copyright © 1990 by Robert R. McCammon. This letter originally appeared in the Pocket Books paperback edition of Blue World, first printed in April 1990. Reprinted with permission of the author.

Preface to the 2004 Hungarian translation

To say I'm pleased that Mine is being published in a Hungarian edition is an understatement. Words sometimes fail even a writer.

I'm particularly pleased because with the publication of my works in your country, it means I'm published around the world. This is important and amazing to me because I never dreamed I'd "grow up" to be a writer in the first place. Really, who would think of such a career for oneself? To create pictures from the air, to craft those pictures into word images that mean something to people you have never met nor will probably ever meet, yet you will share a bond with them over great distances. Even across oceans and continents.

Also, when I became a writer I never imagined I'd have a voice across those oceans and continents, yet the book you're holding in your hands is proof that we never fully know what our future will bring, or what road we will take to get there.

I'm very proud to be a writer, and to have been a fulltime writer for most of my life. I'm proud also of this book, because I think in it I was able to create characters who live and breathe and truly become alive. This is the great wish and dream of the author: to create real people from paper and ink. To have those characters find new readers in places I have never been is a great--and to me, astounding--addition to the dream of creation.

So you see why I say it's an understatement. Words do sometimes fail the writer. But we have to do the best we can, and so the words I have will have to do.

Thank you for accepting me in your country. Thank you for reading my work. Thank you for being a part of the act of creation that is the great wish of every person who tries to tell a story and who hopes that the story finds a home in both the mind and the heart, even across oceans and continents.

Robert R. McCammon


Copyright © 2004 by Robert R. McCammon. This appeared as the preface to the 2004 Hungarian translation of Mine (entitled Csak az enyém, published by Agave Könyvek (Agave Books). Thanks to Val Varga. Reprinted with permission of the author.

Reviews and Comments (may contain spoilers!)

New!!  From Publishers Weekly (May 1, 1990)

MINE: A Novel of Terror
Robert R. McCammon Pocket Books $18.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-66486-2

Primarily a writer of supernatural horror, McCammon (Stinger) here abandons the supernatural without forsaking the grisly details. Mary Terrall, aka Mary Terror, one-time member of the Storm Front, a Weatherman splinter group of the '60s, is now 40-something and psychotic. During her dreary day job at Burger King she mentally murders customers; at night she does LSD and dreams of having babies and joining Lord Jack, the Storm Front leader. Deciding to search him out, Mary cases a local hospital and steals the newborn son of Laura Clayborne, whose marriage is disintegrating. With nothing to hold her, Laura sets out after Mary and the baby, tracking them through remnants of the revolutionary group on a trail strewn with dead bodies. McCammon undercuts his story by portraying all his left-wing characters as motivated by adolescent rebellion, rather than by radical politics. That aside, however, he delivers an expertly constructed novel of suspense and horror. (May)

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