Lullaby finds Chuck Palahniuk in a transitional phase. Chances are the Portland author won't be competing with the likes of Stephen King any time soon. And his fans should be thankful. As a horror novel, Lullaby is anything but a traditional entry in the heavily commercialized genre. Palahniuk's sinister sense of humor prevents the author's fourth novel from achieving a significant scare factor. Or at least the typical horror type of fright. Our hero is Helen Hoover Boyle. She is a real estate agent with an eye for "distressed" property. The kind of homes where the only permanent residents are not exactly of this world. Helen Hoover Boyle sells haunted houses. She sells them to normal families who seem happy enough, until blood starts running down the walls. After that, the buyers will scramble out of there before they even start unpacking their boxes. Easy money for a realtor who knows where to look. And with the help of a police scanner and a practitioner slash secretary named Mona, Helen Hoover Boyle is very good at what she does. Our narrator is Carl Streator. A newspaper reporter who, while doing a story on sudden infant death syndrome, comes across a book of poems. More like a can of worms actually. If words could kill. The discovery of the infamous "culling song" lights the fuse of Lullaby's plot which eventually intersects the lives of our hero and our narrator, spiraling the book into a constantly building power struggle all the way until the bitter ending. With plenty of Palahniuk's signature quirks, Lullaby will surely satisfy Chuck's rapidly growing fan base. It is the story just below the surface, however, that will get the wheels turning. Lullaby was inspired by the tragic killing of Palahniuk's own father. The murderer was eventually apprehended and convicted. During sentencing, Chuck had to testify as to whether he believed in the death penalty. Keep these facts (not included in the book) in mind, as they will provide a better appreciation of the novel. Otherwise, Lullaby may prove just too darn entertaining for the average reader to even notice the deeper message. It is truly a page-turning, hilarious ride. Take the horror sticker off and, in my mind, the brilliantly constructed third chapter is reason enough to buy this one today.
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