Book Review: Parabellum by Greg Hickey

Expected publication: October 20, 2020

A shooting at a Chicago beach leaves several dead and dozens injured. In the year before the attack, four individuals emerge as possible suspects.

An apathetic computer programmer.
An ex-college athlete with a history of head injuries.
An Army veteran turned Chicago cop.
A despondent high school student.

One of them is the shooter. Discover who and why.

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I read Friar’s Lantern by Greg Hickey a while back and liked it, so I was happy to read Parabellum. Friar’s Lantern was different (like a Choose Your Adventure for adults), so I expected Parabellum to be different as well. It is that!

The story starts with clean up of a mass shooting on a beach in Chicago. It then goes back a year to tell the stories of four unrelated people, all who have some type of mental problem and could potentially be the shooter. These people don’t have names but are presented as the programmer, the student, the ex-athlete, and the veteran. It took a little getting used to, but eventually, I didn’t really notice that I didn’t know their names.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to connect with the characters even though there was quite a bit of detail about them for the year prior to the shooting and what they were all going through: depression, hopelessness, PTSD, despair, rage, etc. I’m not one for detailed descriptions, so it took me a while to get through Parabellum. For me, the best part of the book was the end when many of the people on the beach were introduced before all hell broke loose.

If you are curious about the thoughts of someone who is dealing with depression and the different ways people react to it, I definitely recommend this book. Obviously, one of these characters goes to the worst possible extreme. But there are three others. Do any of them end up better off at the end of the year?

About the Author

Greg Hickey was born in Evanston, Illinois in 1985. After graduating from Pomona College in 2008, he played and coached baseball in Sweden and South Africa. He is now a forensic scientist, endurance athlete and award-winning writer. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Lindsay.

Twitter greghickey5

Book Review: In my Mind by Shaida Mehrban

In My Mind is the story of a young man who is infatuated by a student named Gabriella who reminds him of delicate butterflies. It follows Steve from childhood to adulthood and the mental demons that play havoc in his mind. He is unable to talk to anyone about it as he doesn’t realise the mental depth he is in, till that dreadful night when Gabriella dies whilst held by him against her will, and he is then sent away.

This story covers mental health, depression and hitting rock bottom in Steve’s mind and looks at how this sensitive subject is still a taboo as we do not know enough about mental health and its consequences on our and others’ lives.


In My Mind is about Steve, a mentally ill man who thinks he’s in love with a girl who frequents the bar that his family owns. The issue of mental illness and how it is, or isn’t, dealt with is the theme of this book.

The time that Steve and Gabriella spend in the cellar is my favorite part of this book. I think it’s because the reader doesn’t really know if she’s still alive or not. She speaks at first but later, is she just unconscious or is she dead? 

When Steve is talking, he rambles. Often rambling doesn’t make sense in someone who is mentally ill in real life and there’s a fine line in a book like this. The author wants it to be realistic but I, as a reader, want to be able to understand what’s being said. I think that was accomplished here. There were many times that Steve repeated himself which is expected since he has a mental illness. 

I like the concept of In My Mind as well as how it was presented, starting out in the cellar and learning Steve’s story as you read. The kind of happy ending is good too. Unfortunately, the author’s writing style didn’t work for me. 


About the Author

 Shaida Mehrban is the author of numerous novels with very important social messages including “Tears Behind the Veil”, “Tears of Silence”, “Blossom and I”, “Remembering the Night Train”, “Mother’s Veil” and “Eyes of Osama”.


He sits on his buttocks with his nose dribbling slowly like the tap that has worn out its washer, but all the while, he keeps his eyes firmly on hers. Fixated. For a moment, he stands still and yet his head is chasing butterflies. Nothing new there! His humming tune sounds like, “Sweet Gabriella the most delicate butterfly of all, now here with me forever, just the way it should be, the way it should have been a long lifetime ago, my sweet, my sweet.” He interrupts his own broken strings to slide his arm straight across his moist face. He carries on, telling her that it has taken him five years to get her to come to stay in his kingdom even though she has visited his public house upstairs many times.

“In My Mind” by Shaida Mehrban is available in paperback with coloured illustrations and as an e-book from Amazon UK.

It is also available from Amazon US.

Press/Media Contact Details:

Darin Jewell (literary agent for Shaida Mehrban)
Managing Director
The Inspira Group Literary Agency
Tel. 0208 292 5163

The Amazon US purchase link in this post is an affiliate link. Purchasing through it helps sustain Bound 4 Escape.