by Greg Hickey
10/10/21; 356 pages
Parabellum by Greg Hickey is a highly recommended
literary crime novel.
In the opening, we know the crime that will happen. There has
been a mass shooting at a beach in Chicago and after we are
observers to some of the aftermath, Parabellum then
follows four different characters who are potentially suspects for
a year leading up to the tragic incident. The four characters who
could be the suspect are not named, but are identified by a
general description. They include: an apathetic computer
programmer; an ex-college athlete with a history of hits to the
head; an Army veteran turned Chicago cop; and a despondent high
school student. The narrative switches between the lives of these
four characters as each chapter counts down to the future
Reducing the characters to descriptions of their inner battles and anxieties with their mental health rather than providing them name
somehow dehumanized them, even while we learned about their most personal struggles and why
they could potentially be the shooter at the beach. Most of these
characters will generally elicit your sympathy as you understand
that their inner turmoil and struggles are real. The inner psyche
of each person is exposed as are their concerns and anxieties.
They are developed as characters, which helped with the felt lack
of not knowing their names.
The writing is excellent, which sets the novel apart. The characters and the plot are all presented in a realistic, factual manner.
Although there was some uncertainty at the
beginning, ultimately the structure of the novel did provide
compelling interest in the characters and what would ultimately be
revealed. Admittedly, the unique approach to keeping the characters
until the end didn't completely work for me, but I appreciated the
approach more once I continued reading and the pages began to fly
by as I wanted to know what would happen to these injured people.