13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession
by M. Dolon Hickmon
13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession
by M Dolon Hickmon
Publisher: Rehoboam Press
Publish Date: March 25, 2014
Goodreads 17 Ratings | 12 Reviews
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“For some readers, this account of obsession, abuse, and redemption could strike too close to home; but those who want a hard-hitting, emotionally charged crime story should place this near the top of their reading list.” —D. DONOVAN, eBook Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
A CRIME THRILLER WITH A SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS TWIST
A teenager named Chris knocks on the door of his mother’s ex-boyfriend—then shoots the man dead in premeditated fashion. Hours later, an officer responds to a loud music complaint and discovers a second body surrounded by a gruesome scene. With few clues to explain ‘why’, blame for the crimes settles on Chris’s obsession with the dark and violent rock band, Rehoboam. Reporters broadcast this speculation under sensational headlines, but detective William Hursel is convinced there is a deeper motive. Trailing Chris while doggedly unraveling prior events, William uncovers an underworld where human traffickers ply the wealthy with unseemly indulgences.
Meanwhile, Rehoboam’s lead singer, Josh, thinks he may finally be ready to take the next step in his relationship with the band’s fiery female drummer. But when news of Chris’s crime spree triggers flashbacks of a harsh, fundamentalist upbringing, Josh finds his career and his romance unexpectedly interrupted. Linked to William’s investigation by his cryptic responses to Chris’s fan-club letters, Josh must eventually choose between clearing his name and keeping the secrets of his past.
“Hickmon’s taut, gripping fiction debut journeys into a world of subversive rock-and-roll, dark perversions and deep emotional scars. . . . Hickmon weaves these separate plots together with an unforced ease, as when he effectively portrays Rehoboam’s struggling early years in well-deployed flashbacks. The narrative’s lean, unadorned prose becomes intensely involving as the plot hastens to its climax”
Five years ago, child abuse survivor, writer, musician and activist M Dolon Hickmon envisioned 13:24, a pop culture thriller that would serve as a unique child abuse education campaign. Drawn from his personal experience of childhood maltreatment, combined with cutting-edge research and true crime headlines, the finished book opens a window into the gritty realities of childhood trauma and lifelong recovery, in a format that readers will find nearly impossible to put down.
D. Donovan, eBook Reviewers, Midwest Book Review:
“13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession is truly a complex and multi-faceted novel. To call it a crime story would be simplistic: woven within the plot are insights on obsessive behavior patterns, how music can provide subliminal impulses toward destructive actions, and how even religion can provoke a turn to the dark side of death and destruction. The characters are varied, with plausible motivations, often deeply rooted in their pasts. Through their actions, reactions and decisions, an absorbing Biblical mythology comes to life within a modern underworld of human trafficking.
The story opens with a teenager named Chris, who has a deadly premeditated violence in mind for his mother’s boyfriend—and who winds up shooting the man dead in a very deliberate manner. Chris’s mother is also found murdered in a grisly fashion, and other than Chris’s infatuation with a rock star’s demonic stage act, Detective William Hursel finds few clues as to ‘why’. With Chris vanished and now a fugitive, it is up to Hursel to piece together prior events. What he discovers opens his eyes to another world.
Moving between Chris’ life and band leader Josh’s affluent existence, Hursel uncovers dark and complex links between the two and their experiences. Faced with the evidence of those connections, Josh decides to clear his name by joining the probe into what really happened. Hard truths emerge, lending insights into Josh’s motivations not only for creating the kind of image that lures young fans to his brand of music, but for building a lifestyle that defies any kind of faith at all. Throughout, flashbacks of degrading childhood mistreatment drive an evolving darkness that sends ripples into the present.
Also at stake are beliefs and interactions between secular psychologists, their patients, and lives changed by death, faith, and abuse. It is a story about lifetimes of fear, plots of revenge, and reactions to messages begun in early years; but it is also about choices made along the way: “Chris took his time, relating to each. He identified most strongly with those punishers who, with jaws set and eyes alight, broadcast the cold satisfaction of exacting revenge.”
With lyrics that express themes of spiritual longing, thwarted parenting, and perversion and its translation, Josh’s music becomes intrinsic to the story, driving Chris and others while also mirroring the circumstances of their lives: “Josh’s hostile rasping gave way to a mind-bending guitar solo. Bristling with high-octane fuzz, the instrumental sagged and wobbled as Mike waved the whammy bar and pulled aggressively on his strings. His wild discordance sent the crowd into an apoplectic frenzy.”
As the plot slinks through a world of violence, readers witness the lasting impacts of poisoned faith and childhood violence on the human psyche. The tortured protagonists experience wickedness differently and take two different courses, one struggling against the downward spiral of his history, while the other follows a path that ends in brutality and inhumanity.
For some readers, this account of obsession, abuse, and redemption could strike too close to home; but those who want a hard-hitting, emotionally charged crime story should place this near the top of their reading list. 13:24′s emotional impact is solid and compelling, dark though it is, and it will keep readers guessing about all the connections and results right up to the blistering conclusion.”
13:24 author featured in Salon’s front page religious expose
Psychologist, speaker and award-winning writer Valerie Tarico examined M Dolon Hickmon’s upbringing and how it influenced his upcoming novel in an October 2013 salon.com front page feature. Also included: Breaking Their Will author Jan Heimlich, and The Child Catchers author Kathryn Joyce. Read the full article at Salon
M Dolon Hickmon interviewed on KGNW Live From Seattle
Doug Bursch interviewed M Dolon Hickmon, the author of 13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession. Their brisk and enlightening conversation, in two ten minute segments, touched on PTSD, the role of the church in preventing physical abuse, and many other unique and facinating elements of this important problem.
M Dolon Hickmon: A Survivor’s Conversation with Christianity
“Here are the messages I gleaned from the church of my childhood: that beating children is acceptable—good for them, in fact; that bruises and welts are of little consequence; that fear is desirable, as is pained screaming and broken sobbing. I’d heard that kids were to be whipped for the least act of disobedience, with belts and sticks and plastic racecar tracks; on bare skin, and as often as an adult thought was necessary. . . .” Read the full article on Patheos