by Chuck Palahniuk

Reviewed by Coral

Carl Streator is an investigative journalist working on a piece about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, hoping to find something in common across the cases. And, as luck would have it, he does find this common thread, a poem read aloud to each of the children before they died. But that couldn't possibly be the cause, could it?

Now, Carl is on a cross-country ride, with Helen Hoover Boyle, a woman who also lost her child to this poem, Helen's Wiccan secretary, Mona, and Mona's hippie-esque boyfriend, Oyster, to destroy all reproduced copies of this poem, while trying to track down the Book of Shadows the poem originally came from. Unfortunelty, both "couples" have very different ideas about how to use the power contained inside the book of Shadows, and how it can be used to change the world for the "better". And all the while, the trail of bodies behind them is growing, because having the power over life and death is too much for some people to ignore.

Well, this is definitely a better book than Choke, though really, in my opinion, almost any thing's a better read than that piece of drivel. Lullaby's storyline is interesting, for the most part, at least in the early going of the book. It gets a little muddled half-way through, when Helen's character stops making sense. Seriously, why would she continually sell haunted houses to make a living if she's been pulling in big bucks for three years at her other job? When she talks about the haunted house thing at the beginning, she's going on and on about finding enough haunted houses to break even. I think the author realized this, because he adds on another explanation to this original one.

Carl's back story doesn't really make much sense, either, because he would have had to have known about the deadly poem prior to the book's events, instead of learning about it during his investigation.

It's also weird how sometimes the poem kills someone on the spot, and at other times it takes the night for them to die. Why? Shouldn't it work at the same pace if it's like a spell? Why would it kill some people faster and some people slower?

I could have done without the necrophilia subplots, because, ewww. How do you not notice someone is dead when you sleep with them? Never mind. Don't want to know, don't care. Just eww. Disgusting.

In the end you're left with a bunch of people who all have a lot more power than they should ever have, hunting down and burning harmful, deadly poems. Of course, that's not really what they're doing. More like trying to keep others from gaining the same power. Of course, in the end, like I think in all of his books, nothing is really what it seems, and nobody is who you think they are.

Grade: C