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Dark Lullaby

ISBN: 978-1-59374-907-1

by Mayra Calvani
Reviewer: Nicolette Westfall

January 2009

There are two elements of Dark Lullaby that make the suspension of disbelief work the supernatural element; (Turkish vampire type creatures called melinka); the main characters’ constant neglect of their intuition, and their outright dysfunctional relationships in which they are too afraid to tell each other how they really feel or what’s going on. Gabriel Diaz and his ex-girlfriend, Liz Porter, start off by arguing arm chair philosophy (a debate over whether murder is ever justified…) in a Turkish style pub.

Gab, the hero, who drinks expensive Belgian beer at the pub, is a 26 year old astrophysicist. He’s rich enough to own a Porsche and yet fears the financial stress of going back to grad school for his PhD. Of course, he is also terribly confused about his feelings for Liz, despite their break-up over the fact that she’s too jealous of other women.

Ever the devoted ex-girlfriend, Liz worries and frets over Gab—especially after the entrance of a vixen by the name of Kamilah, who shows up in the midst of their heated argument over whether murder is an acceptable action. The overtly seductive Kamilah gives off weird vibes (she’s really hot, feverishly hot), which elicits warning bells throughout the story in the minds of Gab, Liz, and even his heavily pregnant sister, Elena. Passion hungry Gab immediately sleeps with Kamilah and, despite the giant red flags wrapped tightly around his rib cage, continues to follow her wherever she leads him.

Along the way, the reader is given various insights into the abusive childhoods of Gab and Elena. The ghost of an abusive alcoholic father threatens while bumble bees flitter back and forth along the way, providing nice visuals amongst the flowers. Nightmares hover in Gab and Elena’s minds. Liz struggles with spilt yogurt as Gab drinks bottle after bottle of wine with his new found love. At Kamilah’s childish insistence, they take off for a nice little getaway in a Turkish forest where magic takes over. As Elena’s child birthing quickly nears, not even Gab’s heated loins can stop him from realizing the truth about his new woman—but will he wake up in time for the arrival of his innocent niece?

It is the above question which holds the reader to the end-- not the writing. The story is presented in a tell-it style rather than in a crafted, flowing fashion. There has to be a more creative way to reveal details of music other than “The stereo played Chopin’s 'Fur Elise.'” Since the author has briefly stated that such and such famous classical pieces were being played, the reader must conjure up the expected imagery. The lack of smooth poetics does not overshadow the tongue in cheek portrayal of Turkish supernatural tradition, however. There are bits of humour acknowledging the vampire-succubus tradition--which make up for the dryness here and there. Kamilah’s “perfect teeth” and a cottage without mirrors, along with other references, do provide chuckles.

 

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