Si vis pacem, para bellum: “If you want peace, you should prepare for war”.
An apathetic computer programmer.
An ex-college athlete with a history of hits to the head.
An Army veteran turned Chicago cop.
A despondent high school student.
One of them is the shooter. Discover who and why.
“Parabellum is taut, slow-burning crime fiction at its best. And it’s a great deal more than that.” – Paul Flower, author of The Great American Cheese War
If you like nuanced literary crime fiction that explores the depths of the human psyche, you’ll love Greg Hickey’s compelling and unforgettable novel.
Parabellum is an interesting study of human failures and broken relationships. I found the book hard to follow because I never felt invested in any one character. A young budding soccer star who is given a scholarship to USC but has to withdraw and loses her scholarship because of a concussion related injury was sympathetic and tragic. Her parents’ struggle to get her back into society were commendable.
A veteran who returns from the desert storm conflict with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who has a very difficult time because of repeated dreams and lack of sleep is sympathetic. However, this is another character I could not get fully vested in. The issue was the continued complaint and lack of regard for the dedicated medical staff at the veterans’ medical facility in Chicago. The veteran was receiving psychiatric evaluation. The complaint of lack of understanding of the individual problems and pill pushing became exasperating.
A young couple who tried to build a relationship was intriguing. However, the young man’s brother was killed in a gangland type shooting. He continued to frequent the area where the killing occurred because it was his childhood neighborhood. He was thereby marked as someone who could be bullied by the local thugs and gang members. He had real artistic potential but then again deferred to something more lucrative and ignored his talents.
Yes, I could have found these characters sympathetic but the structure of the narrative was such that being engaged in the characters was not possible. Each of their stories was presented shotgun style within the book and as soon as my interest was peaked another character was introduced. It might be two or three chapters before the person you wanted to follow was reintroduced. I found this to be a serious irritant and required me to push through rather than flow with the book.
The end focus of the book was a diatribe against the ownership of guns. This was poorly disguised in the staccato approach to the lives of each of the characters. I suspected early in the reading that something like this must be afoot.
An obvious red flag went up almost immediately on one of the individuals and a couple of the other characters were also leaning towards anti-social activities. The end event was predictable and the narrative a text book type of psychological exercise. 3/5 stars -CE Williams
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author. These are my honest thoughts.
- Genre: Noir Crime, Hard-Boiled Mysteries, Literary Fiction
- ASIN : B08L1NPNWB
Print Length: 315 pages
Publication Date: October 10, 2020
Source: Direct author request
Title Link: Parabellum [Amazon]
The Author: Author of entertaining stories for smart readers. Download the short novel The Theory of Anything for free at https://www.greghickeywrites.com/anything-amazon.
Greg Hickey wrote his first novel, Our Dried Voices, while spending a year in Sundsvall, Sweden and Cape Town, South Africa, playing and coaching for local baseball teams. That novel was published in 2014 and was a finalist for Foreword Reviews’ INDIES Science Fiction Book of the Year Award.
Today, he still loves sharing stories while staying busy with the other facets of his life. He is a forensic scientist by day and endurance athlete and author by nights, lunches, weekends and any other spare moments. After his post-college travels, he once again lives in his hometown of Chicago with his wife, Lindsay.
©2020 CE Williams – V Williams