Dolon Hickmon's 13:24 – A Dark Thriller is a unique survivor-driven public outreach, intended to deepen public awareness of crimes against children and of the lingering impacts of PTSD. The 13:24 is a reference to Proverbs 13:24, "Whoever spares the rod spoils the child." In the book, "the rod" is an overbearing amount of corporal punishment that turns into child abuse. With references to the Biblical Solomon and his son Rehoboam, the story weaves together plotlines that follow one victim of child abuse, exploited for money, and one former victim of child abuse who uses it to fuel his rise to stardom as a singer. Their unexpected link at the end of the story was hard to see coming, but very fitting.
Child abuse, PTSD, and sexual abuse are hard topics to deal with, but Hickmon handles them with appropriate realism and sensitivity. It was a hard book to read, but it was also a gripping thriller that kept me turning pages to the bitter, yet realistic, end.