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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
According to the website www.thoughtco.com, “Mass strandings of dolphins are far less common than mass strandings of whales” and “there are many theories about why whales and dolphins sometimes swim into shallow water and end up stranding themselves on beaches in various parts of the world.” In the thriller fiction novel Wendall’s Lullaby, a first time novel by Kip Koelsch, the author explores this mystery that scientists still cannot explain, by expanding on the theory currently being studied that low to mid frequency sonar being sent out by military ships disrupts the whales’ navigation system, causing them to lose their bearings, stray into shallow water, and end up on the beach. That isn’t exactly what the key characters in Wendall’s Lullaby, especially Kurt Braun, think. He believes there’s some kind of conspiracy afoot. And he’s not wrong. But his ex, Dr. Angela Clarke, the US National Director for Marine Mammal Health and Stranding, dismisses his theories as being unscientific. When she and her team are called upon to solve the mystery, not only of what is causing the tragedy, but what to do with the bodies of hundreds of beautiful dolphins dying on three different coastlines, this thriller takes off at breakneck speed.
Wendall’s Lullaby isn’t for those who don’t like to think too much or tire easily. While chapters are short and dialogue is plentiful, enjoyment of this novel depends on readers’ familiarity with computers and technology, and their patience with writing that introduces a massive cast of characters and locations within the first few chapters. Koelsch is also fond of back stories, flashbacks and acronyms…and there’s a large amount of acronyms in Wendall’s Lullaby. So if readers have difficulty keeping track of characters and acronyms, they might not be able to follow through to the end of this novel. But if they give up, they’ll miss out on a fascinating possible, if not probable, explanation for why these wonderful ocean inhabitants strand themselves en masse and die. And only by reading the entire novel will the title make perfect sense. Try Wendall’s Lullaby. You might just like it.