DOLOR: LILA | BOOK 1 (Book Review) Books


Monday, November 16 2009 | 07:52 AM

Matt Molgaard

Amongst the many goodies I added to my collection while out at the Trinity of Terrors convention, one particular piece of art really stands out. Said piece arrives in the form of an illustrated novella titled DOLOR: LILA | BOOK 1. The book is a brief fictional venture written by Rick Florino and illustrated by Tony Caso. Brief as it may be however, it's clear at least nine more installments of this new DOLOR series are planned – in effect forming a full length illustrated novel (think Stephen King's THE GREEN MILE, or John Saul's BLACKSTONE CHRONICLES with loads of nifty artwork included) to eventually feast upon.

My initial experience reading the book came on the 90 minute flight back home from Vegas to California. Now, when you fear heights like I fear heights, 90 seconds in a plane is a nightmare, let alone 90 minutes, therefore it's safe to assume I wasn't completely in the book. Something about that 32,000 feet of empty space between myself and the ground — where I prefer to remain at all times — left my concentration and reading comprehension a little hindered. So, once back at home, after recovering from a sudden week long attack of the flu, I jumped back into LILA — I'm not certain that sounded proper — but you catch my drift, I re-read the book!

The second journey into the leveled ghost town (the majority of the stories focal locale was destroyed by raging fires) Dolor, tendered a much more emotional experience for me. FBI detective Jeffries finds himself in Dolor investigating a home that may or may not be mysteriously discharging smoke. Given the status of the town as a whole, Jeffries is dispatched to investigate the home. Once Jeffries arrives at the abandoned house, he discovers no sign of smoke, but there's plenty of other oddities to be found within the residence (take for example the fact that the interior of this home has suffered little to no fire damage while the town as a whole is in ruins). Most notably a stack of 10 diaries, each written by different people, each calling to Jeffries, who finds himself enveloped in the pages of one of the diaries, the book titled LILA.

Lila's story is told from the perspective of her father Officer Caleb Taylor, and chronicles Lila's death and the events both preceding and succeeding the tragedy. Caleb's memory is a mess, his wife has left him, he's been forced into a brief leave of absence from work, and his daughter's teddy bear Henry has taken lead role of conversationalist in his life. But Henry's sudden visits carry significant meaning, and Caleb will need to pay close attention to his exchanges with the stuffed animal, as herein lie the secrets of Lila's death and the heart breaking details behind the event.

As Caleb deciphers a series of strange messages delivered by Henry (who seems to be possessed by the spirit of his daughter Lila, as well as someone else altogether), he begins to realize that Lila's death was no accident. He's picked up on the clear indicator that he himself may still be in danger as well. Caleb's history is revealed through a series of reminiscing sequences, and as the past is painted, the truth slowly comes into focus. Unfortunately for both he and his daughter, Caleb's been doomed for the better portion of a decade. Cruel fate has already claimed the life of Lila, and just as it seems Caleb may have the puzzle assembled, fate arrives to finalize the deal.

There's a lot of depth to be found here, especially given the books succinct 41 pages. A slew of significant details lie in the folds, but I've chosen to exclude a great deal of the 411 in this case because, well – LILA makes for a damn good read. It's creepy in spots, and madly melancholy in plenty of others. I found reading a story that focuses on the death of a nine year old girl (specifically from the fathers point of view) can be genuinely painful for a father of an eight year old daughter. The idea of losing my child is unbearable. Rick Florino clearly understands the sensitivity behind the content, and manages to siphon frightening reality from the idea. I'm not know by anyone for my sensitivity, and I'll openly admit DOLOR: LILA | BOOK 1 saw me shed a few tears.

I'm both curious and excited for CHRISSY, the second installment in the DOLOR series. If Rick can duplicate the humanity and realism delivered in the pages of LILA, he stands to cement DOLOR as an exceptional series that readers will definitely seek. If he fails to rival the greatness of LILA, well' at least he can lay claim to writing at least one (I've yet to read any of Mr. Florino's other work, which for all I know could be fantastic) outstanding piece of fiction.

(3.5 out of 4 Stars)

"If the rest of the volumes are even half as good as Lila, we're in for a huge treat…A great start to what appears to be an even greater series..." — BC,


DDolor: Lila — Book I

by Rod Lott on November 24, 2009 ·


Horror fiction has put a few cities on the map: Castle Rock, Serenity Falls, Orangefield. Add Dolor to that list. According to Rick Florino’s DOLOR: LILA — BOOK I, it doesn’t matter where the town is, but where it’s been.

In this short novel — as in, less than 50 pages — Dolor police officer Caleb Taylor is haunted by the memory of his dead daughter, Lila. An only child, she drowned at the lake, and Caleb has a recurring nightmare about being unable to save her. His grief is compounded by his drug-addled, good-for-nothing wife leaving him. Sitting at home alone one day, Caleb is startled by Henry’s voice.

Who’s Henry? Why, he’s Lila’s teddy bear.

Lila speaks through Henry, telling her father to “pay attention.” Florino jumps between past and present to fill in the blanks surrounding her tragic death. It’s full of clues Caleb has missed.

It’s easy to get caught up in Florino’s tale, not only because it adheres to storytelling brevity, but also because it has a rock ‘n’ roll sensibility to it, dishing out details of drugs, sex and violence. Even though the ending is curt, you’ve invested so little time to get there, it’s not like you’ll feel cheated.

LILA is the first of 10 planned books in the DOLOR series, and Caleb’s story comes framed in a wraparound piece in which an FBI agent examines a charred home in Dolor and comes across 10 diaries, each penned by a different person. The first one he reads, naturally, is Caleb’s. Essentially, all 10 novellas will comprise an anthology; I wish they were published in one volume.

For LILA, Florino commissioned artwork by Tony Caso to grace the pages, with at least one piece on every spread. It helps ease you through the book, crafting mental pictures so you don’t have to, but I would have liked it more had it been consistent in presentation. For example, some look like unfinished sketches, while others are complete; some are drawn in pencil, while others appear outlined in Sharpie. —Rod Lott

This description is from the website
To find it, go there and click on “Lila”
I dare you.

Officer Caleb Taylor is going through HELL...
He hasn't slept in days, his wife has disappeared without word, he's on a forced leave from active duty and he can't shake the guilt he has over his daughter's drowning.
All of a sudden, in his haze of insomnia, depression and anxiety, something stirs him from beyond the grave. It's something dark, demanding and downright evil.
Can he trust it? Is he really seeing it? Why is this happening? Can we trust him?
Find out in LILA, the first in a series of ten illustrated novellas about a place you won't ever forget, DOLOR.....

This is the tale of the first book found in the town of Dolor. This is exactly what FBI Agent Jeffries (we’re not privileged to a first name yet, just ‘Jeffries’) has to figure out as well. He has come to this place which recently suffered from a large fire that leveled most of the city, except strangely enough, only burnt the outside of a old house in the center of town. However once he enters the old house he finds 10 small diaries. Each diary has a different style of handwriting and name, and each from different years. He doesn’t know why there are 10 different diaries from 10 different people or how they got into the house that didn’t burn on the inside. All he knows is the first diary was left open and just read, “LILA”… This is where we begin the saga.


Author Rick Florino and Artist Tony Caso are crafting something here. The style of the book is different and refreshing. It’s not a heavy read, it’s not meant to be, the good thing is it keeps its pace and doesn’t lag so you’re always turning the page looking for the next thing to happen and Rick doesn’t disappoint on this.

As you go through this book if you weren’t paying attention you’d think you were looking at several different artists with the changes in styles that move along hand in hand with the atmosphere of the story. Rick and Tony compliment each other very well throughout with how well they present the story of this little town that God just doesn’t seem to care about.

Now what the story exactly is where not sure – NOT YET - but this is a good thing, because they have made it so that we want to find out more. Dolor: Lila, grabs you and hooks you in, like a Cenobite on Holiday! That’s its job and it’s done it well. Lila’s story is just the beginning and it grabs you quickly right from the start and doesn’t let you go until you put the book down. And you won’t want to, you’ll want to finish it first and then sit there…in the dark…waiting for the 2nd book…CHRISSY. What this book has done to us is it’s taken us on a ride ala early X-Files as where you’re saying to yourself, “I think I know what’s going on here. Okay, maybe I’m not sure, but I think I know. I need to know more!”

If you’ve never heard of the town of Dolor before you will come to know about it soon enough and you will embrace it, fear it or just simply succumb to the evil that may or may not reside there. We’re still not sure what's going to happen, Rick hasn’t finished telling us yet what it’s all about.
You’re evil Rick, just evil.
We like you…

Fans of horror should check out to download Dolor: Lila, the first in series of 10 illustrated horror novels from Rick Florino. Did I mention the download was for FREE?!?!? You can also buy a hardcover, autographed copy on the site as well. This isn't exactly my thing but I can tell you it's good, and plenty freaky.

In addition to the above, there are a couple of illustrated novelettes being eked out little-by-little in installments, each inspired by wicked womanhood.

Book of Dolor: Part One, LILA

written by Rick Florino and illustrated by Tony Caso

Officer Caleb Taylor is going through Hell. He hasn't slept in days, his wife has disappeared without word, he's on a forced leave from active duty and he can't shake the guilt he has over his daughter's drowning.

All of a sudden, in his haze of insomnia, depression and anxiety, something stirs him from beyond the grave. It's something dark, demanding and downright evil. Can he trust it? Is he really seeing it? Why is this happening? Can we trust him?

Celeb Photos | Press