13: 24: A Story of Faith and Obsession

13: 24: A Story of Faith and Obsession - M Dolon Hickmon 13:24 - a story of faith and obsession, at its' heart is a novel about revenge, a revenge exacted by a victim of physical and mental abuse. This is not a novel written to praise or attack any particular religion, although many anti-religion advocates could so easily find plenty of ammunition.

The cover is a little misleading as whilst two of the major characters are a rock fan and the cult rock star who is the focus of his adulation, and whose lyrics and motivations are examined in some detail, this is not the story of that band.

Our third major character is cop, Detective William Hursel as well as finding his main suspect 14 year old Chris Pesner, he needs to determine exactly what is the motivation behind the murders.

This is not so much a whodunnit, the book opens with the killer on his way to commit his second murder, and in fact we find ourselves watching in horrid fascination as he does the deed, instead we are concerned with the why?

The rock fan, Chris and the lead singer of the rock band Rehoboam Josh Sebala have made contact with one another long before 13:24's opening paragraph, and it is obvious to Detective Hursel from the offset that this is not a typical fanboy relationship. Why would the leader of a cult rock band with thousands of fans reply personally to just one fan? It is this connection that Hursel needs to understand and unravel in order to catch his killer before it is too late.

The abuse here is the use of belts and other instruments to beat children, it is not blatant child sexual abuse, although there are hints that the ultimate villain may indeed be so inclined. Certainly he is not opposed to kidnapping, child trafficking and murder to reach his ultimate goal.

Sadly, so many aspects of this novel mirror reality. Why has it been so easy to convince followers of certain religions that the brutal disciplining of very young children is the right thing to do? How does regularly beating a child down until you break them make you a better parent? There is a fairly big jump from spanking a naughty child, to beating a child and leaving them covered in bruises, or worse.

I am fairly conversant with the majority of strange fetishes and possible forms of abuse that human beings can inflict on one another and even knowing that this was a work of fiction, M Dolon Hickmon succeeded in unnerving me with this dark, disturbing tale of serial child abuse and the resultant trauma. Can I say that I was rooting for our killer all the way through this book?

This is M Dolon Hickmon's first novel, and that is somewhat surprising, an incredibly well written and researched book.

There is absolutely no reference in this book to the book penned by Michael and Debi Pearl,'To Train Up a Child', but it does not take a genius to see the correlations. The Pearl book advocates beating children into submission, beating children until you break their will, and then perhaps beating them some more to be certain. It states that you can pull your baby's hair as a disciplinary measure and even advocates that you start beating your child from the age of 4 months old. There are people who have used the Pearl book as their child-rearing bible, a few of these people have beaten their children to death.

To Train Up a Child is widely available, unfortunately.

This copy of 13:24 was received from the publisher for an honest review.

Recommended, it should spark an internal debate, especially for a parent.