“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

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