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13: 24: A Story of Faith and Obsession - M Dolon Hickmon

Thank you to LibraryThing and the publishers, Rehoboam Press, for providing this book in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my review in any way.

13:24 - A Story of Faith and Obsession is not for the faint of heart. It is gritty, presenting images to the reader that they will never want to see for themselves. It points fingers unashamedly. And reading it, you feel like it speaks a truth that has been covered up for some time, despite the fact that this particular story is fiction.

Chris is fourteen years old. He has just murdered his mother and her fiance. He's on the run, but he's not finished yet. He has a goal in mind. What seems like a tragic murder possibly caused by Chris' obsession with the dark heavy metal band Rehoboam (coincidentally shares the name with the publisher?) soon turns into something much more sinister, involving the band's frontman Josh, who is dealing with the ghosts of his fundamentalist upbringing.

This book involves a lot of heavy content and devastating, descriptive scenes that may be too much for some readers. But, as the author states in the 'Note on Accuracy and Inspirations' found in the front of the book, while these particular events are fiction, the abuse suffered by some children at the hands of their parents and encouraged by the church is real.

The book was fast-paced, a real page turner and mostly well written but did involve some clumsy or out-of-place phrasing, such as when a man who had been married for a number of years 'looked at his bride' - a phrase I would associate more with a couple just married. There were a few other examples that stood out as I was reading but nothing that really made me angry, as poor writing and editing will do. The characters of Chris and Josh were well developed and I sympathised with them and what they went through, all the while with this feeling in my gut that it couldn't end well for either of them. In my mind the book as a whole came across to me like a really good episode of Criminal Minds (which I adore) with the cases being more complex than just right-and-wrong and with the same 'can't-look-away' feeling, which translated to 'can't-put-it-down'.

Great storytelling, but not quite flawless. Still, 4 stars from me.


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