Reviewed by Elaine Lamkin
Written by Rick Florino
A North American Deities publication
Dol, from the Latin for grief. Dolor, the setting for Rick Florino’s ambitious 10-part series of novellas. The first in the series, “Lila”, opens with an FBI agent, Jeffries, coming to the recently burned-down town and discovering one small house that is only burnt on the OUTSIDE. Investigating the house further, the agent finds ten diaries written by ten different people at ten different times in the town’s history: the 1800s, the 1920s, the 1930s, etc. And “Lila” is the first book to fall open, begging to be read.
Police officer Caleb Taylor is mourning the drowning death of his 8-year-old daughter, Lila, as the story opens. He is the author of this diary, writing it on his therapist’s recommendation. His tale begins with meeting 18-year-old Kayla Root, the woman he will soon marry and who will shortly thereafter become Lila’s mother.
Caleb is the insecure type, knowing that back in high school a girl as beautiful as Kayla would not have given him a second glance so he is, at first, delighted at his great good fortune in marrying Kayla and fathering the equally beautiful Lila. But things start turning bad soon after the baby’s birth – Kayla becomes uncommunicative, going out all hours, returning to her drug-abusing ways and her drug and wife-abusing ex-boyfriend, Billy Jacobs; and all Caleb has is Lila. But Lila drowns and Caleb begins experiencing strange events such as Lila’s teddy bear, Henry, telling him, “You’re not paying attention!!”. All in an attempt to discover what REALLY happened to Lila.
“Lila” really just whets the reader’s appetite for the upcoming stories from the mysterious town of Dolor. What WILL Agent Jeffries find when he reads the second diary, Chrissy? And why did this ONE house only burn on the outside. I am looking forward to the forthcoming nine tales from the denizens, present and past, of Dolor and hope that all ten volumes may one day be published as one volume, much like Stephen King’s The Green Mile.
Author Rick Florino, a journalist who has covered a lot of the music biz and has his own magazine, Ruin, has the chops to handle the almost Gothic atmosphere of his ambitious ten-part tale. The only faults I found with “Lila” were the usual typos so common to small press publications. Grab a copy of “Lila” now as “Chrissy” is due out in February. I know I am intrigued by this series!
And I would be remiss not to mention the illustrator of Dolor: Lila, Tony Caso. His images, done in (I think) pencil and in various styles, add to the…creepiness…of the story.
4 out of 5
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