My apologies to Greg Hickey that is has taken me over three months to find the opportunity to stay in with him and chat about his writing. I’m very pleased finally to welcome Greg to Linda’s Book Bag today. Let’s see what we’ve been waiting to find out:
Staying in with Greg Hickey
Welcome, at last, to Linda’s Book Bag Greg and thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.
Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?
I’ve brought Parabellum as it’s a book that reflects what happens in society.
What can we expect from an evening in with Parabellum?
Obviously, Parabellum deals with a very serious and disturbing subject matter, so this won’t be a Netflix-and-chill kind of evening. That said, I believe the conversations around violence in society, its perpetrators and their motivations are important.
I think books have a very important role to play in enabling us to consider difficult topics Greg.
I set out to write this novel wondering what would drive someone to shoot up a theatre or school or concert hall full of random, helpless people. But as I researched and wrote the novel, that question evolved into something bigger. I found myself trying to understand and develop empathy for people who are capable of senseless violence while acknowledging that these perpetrators do not show empathy for their victims. I also wanted to avoid aggrandizing mass shootings, a practice that we often see in media coverage of these incidents and one which plays into the shooter’s aims.
Gosh. That’s very ambitious.
So I hope that through this fictional treatment of the subject, I’ve managed to come up with a compelling story that will also ask readers to confront the dark parts of themselves and others with honesty and empathy. Parabellum is a dark novel about a dark subject. But I also believe that readers will find some hope in this story.
We all need that hope Greg, regardless of the darkness in life.
What else have you brought along and why have you brought it?
Parabellum is set in my home city of Chicago, and I wanted that setting to play a big role in the novel. I spent a lot of time walking around different neighbourhoods and riding various bus routes so that I could get a feel for the city and how it would change depending on where my characters were in Chicago and what was going on in their lives.
There’s an important series of scenes where a college-aged white girl from a well-to-do family goes to dinner with her boyfriend in Pilsen, a historically Mexican-American neighbourhood in the city. The restaurant they visit is fictional, but I’ve brought some dishes from 5 Rabanitos, a real restaurant in that neighbourhood. I spent a chilly and rainy evening walking around Pilsen, ducking in and out of the art galleries there, and trying to capture some details that would bring my story to life before joining my wife for dinner at 5 Rabanitos. So hopefully, this meal will help readers get a better sense of this small part of Chicago and what they can expect from Parabellum as a whole.
I love Mexican food Greg. If you’re going to bring that kind of meal with you, you’re welcome back any time! Thanks so much for staying in with me to chat about Parabellum. I think it sounds gritty, authentic and important. Let me give Linda’s Book Bag readers a few more details:
One devastating crime. Four troubled suspects. And a vibrant, powerful journey inside the mind of nameless, faceless evil.
A mass shooting at a Chicago beach leaves several dead and dozens injured. In the year before the crime, 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.
Parabellum is available for purchase here.
About Greg Hickey
Greg Hickey is a former international professional baseball player and current forensic scientist, endurance athlete and Amazon-bestselling author. His previous works include the novels Parabellum, The Friar’s Lantern and Our Dried Voices, the latter of which was a finalist for Foreword Reviews’ INDIES Science Fiction Book of the Year Award. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Lindsay.