Lullaby by Daniel Barnett
Updated: Jan 7
Let’s cut to the chase, the heart of the matter.
Daniel’s writing is outstanding. Exemplary.
The calculation, attention to detail, atmospheric - yet poetic prose, and adrenaline-driven plot, turn this into a reading experience. An experience. I can’t emphasize that enough.
Having methodically set up his world-building in the first book of the series, Nightfall, Daniel’s attention is free to concentrate on character. Each subsequent book builds on the previous, adding detail upon detail in this wonderfully honest voice, that cuts through any pretense and delivers one-line truth-laden sentences that slap the reader in the face and make you stop reading, because - that last sentence you read, it needs attention. It demands you not only understand it, but that you shake your head in wonder at the mentality behind it. Where the hell did that mind come from that could think of that? How did we get to lines like:
“That’s not where you belong” in regards to a dangling earphone piece, only to revisit it and have him find where it belonged. Remarkable. Class. We’d almost forgotten the wonder of the line, and then we get reminded.
Daniel has fulfilled the promise he delivered with Nightfall, this then a continuation of a series that is shaping up to be (for this reader at least) one of my favorite horror series. The world-building is wonderful, but make no mistake, voice is king in Barnett’s volumes, and his personality, his insights, are just a joy to read.
So, let’s break the book down. What can you expect in Lullaby?
Slaps of intelligence, frighteningly memorable phrases, sentences that could not be constructed or envisaged by any other mind. The ruin of the MC within the first quarter of the book is both astoundingly well done and raw as the flesh that has sloughed off his hands. The treatment of those wounds is equally devastating – a literal kick to the senses. Forget splatterpunk, it does not need to be gore heaped upon gore, the devastating body horror here is a clear and sharp as the acidic taste of bile. Brutality contained, yet so visually horrific, the image clings long after the short description is over.
Timing here is everything. As the stitches attest. (Don’t worry, you’ll get the reference when you go out and buy the book).
This is brutal when it needs to be brutal, observational in the bleakness. Human error is embraced and makes the entire story more horrific for its realism. We skip between two pov’s, Marco (a new character but one I believe will be something of a “The one” character), his wonderful perspective a great re-introduction to the world, as it crumbles around his eyes – and Mariah, holding the boat together after the destruction that comes out of the blue, rendering John -the MC from the previous book - incapacitated.
Look, I can wax lyrical about this for as long as you want, but put simply - this series is class. It’s addictive as hell. Daniel did this right – he has spaced out his reveals and the story as befitting as life is itself. It’s a longer story, and rushing it isn’t going to make you feel better. Immersing yourself in Daniel's voice, and feeling every bump of the brutally raw road they are traveling, that is going to make the journey unforgettable.
But we need a dog, Daniel. It’s about the only thing missing.
One last thing:
I read Daniel’s Bio on his Goodreads page, and am unhappy to tell the readers of this review that it contains a glaring untruth, a whimsical fiction inserted innocuously enough yet pivotal in an understanding of the man behind the Nightmare-land curtain.
And the lie is this:
“Daniel Barnett lives in Portland, Oregon.”
Daniel does not, in fact, live in Oregon. He does not live anywhere near the United States of America. He lives in the bleeding, atmospheric poetic prose at the center of the adrenaline pumping heart of his novels in the world he has created, and to read those novels is akin to clawing one’s way through a sandpit of talent that leaves you broken and hungry for more, by the man’s simple ingenuity and breathtaking detail work. It is killing me to space reading his books out. I could quite happily drown in there.
But I want to savor the decline. Every damn piece by ravaged piece.
We still need a dog, Daniel. Just sayin’.
You can buy Lullaby by clicking on the Amazon store appropriate to you.
You can find Daniel on Twitter, HERE
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You can visit Daniel's Amazon author page, HERE