‘The Velocity Of Blood’ is the debut novel by MJ Williams.
Jack Tolleson has done nothing wrong. Absolutely nothing. But that doesn’t stop him being viciously bullied. Online and offline. Twenty-four hours a day. Every day. Every. Single. Day. One day in October, dehumanised and stripped of his very identity, he breaks. Jack wants revenge. Carefully calculated revenge. Justice. Jack is willing to do whatever it takes to get even. He’s going to do something that’s never been done before. And when he’s done, you’ll remember his name. You’ll remember his name for the rest of your life…
This book is a stark and dark look into bullying and what drives a quiet and sociable person to suddenly purchase a gun and kill his fellow classmates.
Jack is like any other teenage boy, he enjoys sports, does well at school but he’s overweight and one day when he buys diet soda instead of regular soda, he becomes the subject of bullying in such a horrendous way. He becomes nicknamed Shamu, the famous whale who killed an instructor at Seaworld and his classmates even go as far as wearing pin badges that say ‘Save the World’. He’s bullied online and in the classroom and it genuinely makes for torturous reading, the extent his classmates go to, to make him feel like social outcast and a pariah.
The story flows between the past tense, the moments leading up to Jack’s decision to seek his revenge, his mother’s narrative living with the aftermath and a podcast called ‘Killing Time’ which discusses his actions.
This book is not for the faint hearted, it’s dark, gritty and really explores gun crime, school massacres and just what it takes to push a person to their limit. My heart went out to Jack, he’s kindhearted and even though his classmates torture him, he still reaches out to help. His mother is oblivious to his pain as he hides it is so well. I was disgusted with the behaviour of his classmates and I’m just thankful that I’ve grown up in a time, when social media and mobile phones weren’t so prevalent.
I also sympathised with Jack’s mother, left behind and having to deal with opinions and threats from the town as well as not knowing until it was too late the terrible suffering her son felt and what forced him to take such extreme actions.
The narrative from the duo presenting the podcast was particularly annoying, but I think this was the author’s intention. They were cocky, arrogant and pretty much just slagged Jack, they weren’t sympathetic to his ordeal and were just two jocks fooling about.
This book is incredibly detailed and researched and the author really gives an insight into the American gun laws and the workings of the dark web, that assisted Jack with his task.
Hard hitting, addictive and incredibly sad, ‘The Velocity of Blood’ is about one boy trying to fit in, only to be turned against with such tragic consequences.
You can buy ‘The Velocity Of Blood’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.