Darkness Beckons

Darkness Beckons

“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.”

- Read the entire review of 13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession by M. Dolon Hickmon

“unsettling entertainment that offers catharsis”

Publishers WeeklyPublishers Weekly

star3Hickmon unleashes a shocking blitzkrieg of murder, conspiracy, and child abuse in this disturbing, breathlessly plotted murder mystery… Merging biblical tales, psychology, and social criticism, Hickmon stares into the distressing abyss of child exploitation with daring honesty…Eschewing easy answers for moral complexity, this thriller is unsettling entertainment that offers catharsis.

- Read the entire review of 13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession by M. Dolon Hickmon

“entices you to read ‘just one more chapter’”

I F*cking Hate Facebook

“…the gravity of Josh and Chris’ situation comes into view in perfectly small chunks that entices you to read ‘just one more chapter’

“The story centers mostly around two child abuse victims: Josh and Chris. Josh, the singer of the band Reboham, of which Chris is a huge fan of, was the sort of test subject that helped his famous evangelical father write a book on child discipline. This particular book, for anyone familiar with the religious child discipline community, is very reminiscent of the book “To Train Up a Child” by Micheal Pearl, which advocates things like beating a child until it’s submissive, as well as carrying around 1/4 thick piece of rubber tubing to strike the child with…

- Read the entire review of 13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession by M. Dolon Hickmon

“highly recommend”

Fresh Fiction

“13:24 is an intense story about the lives of abused children and how it never stops impacting them or the people that love them.

“From the beginning of 13:24 you are grabbed and drawn into the story and it doesn’t let go till the end. Some of the revelations of abuse are violent, and difficult to read. But just because they are hard to read doesn’t mean they aren’t happening to children all over the world. This is a form of abuse I had no idea even existed and I am glad to be now informed of. M. Dolon Hickmon gives you ways to do further research on his website if you are interested after finishing the book. The story is well written and the characters are strong. I highly recommend this book and hope by reading it someone, out there can help save even one child.

- Read the entire review of 13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession by M. Dolon Hickmon

 

 

“a truly combustive mixture”

Portable Pieces of Thoughts

“…in real life there is no instant cure, no love-can-conquer-all infatuation, no magic bullet.

“I really loved that the author wasn’t afraid to show that sometimes victims of horrible abuse can become monsters of a kind as well. I also loved the ups and downs of Josh’s struggle to regain some amount of sanity after his trauma – because also in real life there is no instant cure, no love-can-conquer-all infatuation, no magic bullet….

One of better thrillers, psychological or otherwise, I’ve ever read. Really. Although it mentions difficult, controversial topics and features some infodumps, it is really worth reading mainly because it is different and intelligent, it makes you think and it makes you deeply uncomfortable. Not to mention the cover which is great and heavy metal music.

- Read the entire review of 13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession by M. Dolon Hickmon

“Sometimes reviews are hard to write”

KDH Reviews

“…even after reading the blurb and watching the book trailer, I wasn’t exactly prepared for some of the things I read”

“Sometimes, reviews are hard to write. It doesn’t matter how much you like a book, it can be difficult to effectively express how a book made you feel. This is one of those books.

First, this book is well written. The story is told in both the past and present. It required a little more attention to remember what was happening when, but it certainly wasn’t a big deal. At first it was a little jarring to jump, rather suddenly, from present to past back to present again. However, the jumps weave together perfectly to tell an intense story. Throughout the story, we meet different characters that really come to life. The characters make this disturbing book even more realistic….”

13:24 is a generally well paced novel which begins with 14 year old Chris Pesner killing his mother and her ex-boyfriend. The motivation, as we soon find out, is revenge for the physical abuse Chris suffered at his step-father’s hands. Detective William Hursel is assigned the case of finding Chris but functions in the story primarily as recipient for expositions explaining the theological underpinnings of the abuse….”

The title itself is a nod to a passage in the Book of Proverbs. The overarching plot and theme are religious in nature, though the author seems to have taken great care to make the book accessible to readers who have nothing more than a cursory knowledge of Christian doctrine. At the same time, Hickmon’s obvious comfort with and attention to doctrine and scripture allow readers with a more academic knowledge of Christianity to relish in the subtext as well as ponder more deeply the questions and challenges asked of mainstream Protestantism. It is a delicate balance to keep a novel accessible to the casual reader yet provocative to the academic- and Hickmon has managed to accomplish this admirably.

A reader who has been weaned on scripture will immediately be struck with the foreshadowing offered by the name of the heavy metal band fronted by a central character, yet those with no foreknowledge will miss nothing by waiting till it is explained to them. None of this is to say that you need to even be particularly interested in the Christian overtones of the book….”

- Read the entire review of 13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession by M. Dolon Hickmon

“laced with theology and religious mythology”

PEI Curmudgeon’s Blog

These verses are behind the actions of [the villain] Allen Garnfield and are obviously based on those of Michael Pearl, author of To Train Up a Child and other books promoting extreme discipline.”

13:24: A Story of Faith and Obsession is a thriller by first time author M. Dolon Hickmon that describes the consequences of child abuse couched in the language of Christianity.

This review will contain spoilers, but since we know the identities of the killer and his victims, who are perpetrators of heinous crimes themselves, they may not actually spoil your appreciation. I deliberately did not use the would enjoyment because the novel contains graphic descriptions of child physical and sexual abuse. It’s definitely not for anyone who is upset or triggered by these topics.

13:24 is a generally well paced novel which begins with 14 year old Chris Pesner killing his mother and her ex-boyfriend. The motivation, as we soon find out, is revenge for the physical abuse Chris suffered at his step-father’s hands. Detective William Hursel is assigned the case of finding Chris but functions in the story primarily as recipient for expositions explaining the theological underpinnings of the abuse….”

The title itself is a nod to a passage in the Book of Proverbs. The overarching plot and theme are religious in nature, though the author seems to have taken great care to make the book accessible to readers who have nothing more than a cursory knowledge of Christian doctrine. At the same time, Hickmon’s obvious comfort with and attention to doctrine and scripture allow readers with a more academic knowledge of Christianity to relish in the subtext as well as ponder more deeply the questions and challenges asked of mainstream Protestantism. It is a delicate balance to keep a novel accessible to the casual reader yet provocative to the academic- and Hickmon has managed to accomplish this admirably.

A reader who has been weaned on scripture will immediately be struck with the foreshadowing offered by the name of the heavy metal band fronted by a central character, yet those with no foreknowledge will miss nothing by waiting till it is explained to them. None of this is to say that you need to even be particularly interested in the Christian overtones of the book….”

- Read the entire review of 13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession by M. Dolon Hickmon

“a master class in delicious contradictions”

George Waye – Camels with Hammers

13:24 shows that you can create an entertaining and engaging work of fiction that carries a social message without reducing yourself to synthetic and shallow stereotypes.”

13:24 is the freshman novel of author M. Dolon Hickmon. The novel itself is a master class in delicious contradictions. It has the Pop Lit readability and pacing of Dan Brown- yet the welcome attention to mood and detail of Ray Bradbury. It follows the familiar formula of a Who-done-it murder mystery- but instead of guessing who the murderer is it asks you to guess in intricate ethical brushstrokes who bears the responsibility for the grisly crime. It remains gripping and readable in spite of a weight and subject matter that makes it difficult to keep turning pages. It allows both a hero and an anti-hero exist on the same page and you find yourself cheering for the both of them.

The title itself is a nod to a passage in the Book of Proverbs. The overarching plot and theme are religious in nature, though the author seems to have taken great care to make the book accessible to readers who have nothing more than a cursory knowledge of Christian doctrine. At the same time, Hickmon’s obvious comfort with and attention to doctrine and scripture allow readers with a more academic knowledge of Christianity to relish in the subtext as well as ponder more deeply the questions and challenges asked of mainstream Protestantism. It is a delicate balance to keep a novel accessible to the casual reader yet provocative to the academic- and Hickmon has managed to accomplish this admirably.

A reader who has been weaned on scripture will immediately be struck with the foreshadowing offered by the name of the heavy metal band fronted by a central character, yet those with no foreknowledge will miss nothing by waiting till it is explained to them. None of this is to say that you need to even be particularly interested in the Christian overtones of the book….”

- Read the entire review of 13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession by M. Dolon Hickmon

“excellent read, sensitively written by a survivor”

DeeReam – Booklikes

 as current events unfold and through flashbacks, which connect more and more of the dots and which will take you to places which are darker than you had ever imagined”

“I am generally an avid reader of crime and horror fiction.  All the better if they have firm basis in real life – “could this really happen?”.

I first picked up 13:24 as I had heard it being described as disturbing, its cover appealed to me and I was intrigued by the title itself, as I had no idea what it referred to.

I like to discover a book as I read it, and let it speak for itself, without it being marred by any preconceptions I might have due to someone else’s account of it.  As such, it took some time and a lot of guessing on my part before I came across the actual significance of 13:24, and as I delved deeper into the story I was slowly able to truly appreciate the full meaning of the tagline “A story of faith and obsession”.

I would strongly suggest to any reader to do the same.  The narration will explain everything….”

- Read the entire review of 13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession by M. Dolon Hickmon

“hooked from the first page”

Calulu / No Longer Quivering

The book also does what great procedurals do: introduce you to something you didn’t know, a new sub culture or something just outside your comfortable life.”

“A good lesson for me is to never judge a book by its cover, literally.

Before I start my review I have to confess that when ’13:24′ first came to my attention I had no interest in reading it, not even with Vyckie Garrison of NLQ’s recommendation. I took one look at the cover, saw the shaggy-haired heavy metal lead singer and the animal skull above and decided this book wasn’t something I’d be interested in. I knew there would be descriptions of physical and spiritual abuse and figured I was not going there again because this book would trigger me as well as be about heavy metal, a type of music that just isn’t my favorite.

But I have to admit it, was I extremely wrong! When I started reading ’13:24′ I was hooked from the first page. It is more than simply another book on spiritual abuse, at its heart the novel is more a who-done-it, a first rate crime novel coming from a unique angle. There are multiple stories and subjects tightly interwoven into an integral whole. It is one of those books that you cannot put down because you have to know what happens next and you’re sitting on the edge of your seat dying to get to the next bit.

The procedural cop epic has always been my personal favorite since my earliest television watching days. I could easily see 13:24 as a script for “Law and Order: SVU” or my all time favorite, “Homicide: Life on the Street”. You will find the type of plot twists that leave you guessing who the actual villain is. It feels very real and, like the creators of Law and Order love to say, ‘ripped from the headlines.’

The book also does what great procedurals do: introduce you to something you didn’t know, a new subculture or something just outside your comfortable life. The overarching theme most don’t know much about outside the world of Evangelical Christianity is the subculture that believes in physically disciplining children for any infraction, real or imagined.[...]

While ’13:24′ doesn’t name the Michael Pearl discipline book, it is easy to make the connection with the child abuse advocated in ‘To Train Up A Child’ with the abuse written about in ’13:24′. I only wish I could force every overzealous Pearl-follower to read the heart wrenching words of Josh, one of the main characters, as he experiences physical chastising….”

- Read the entire review of 13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession by M. Dolon Hickmon
- Read the entire review of 13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession by M. Dolon Hickmon