I'm really not sure how to review this because I have so much to say. First off, I loved it! I was drawn in from page one. I don't know how Mr. Voinov does it with so few pages but his characters are enthralling.
Dark Soul is split into two short stories: Dark Soul and Dark Secret. They are more like pieces of the same story. You don't get many details of the mafioso families but what you do get is the emotional connection to the characters. Oh and I loved the Italian thrown in. Being of an Italian descent, this made me smile every time it came up.
Stefano Marino, a west coast mafia boss, travels to the east coast when the news that the head of a large mafia family is dying. Stefano is a married man that keeps his dark desires well hidden, until he meets Silvio. Silvio "the Barracuda" Spadaro is a killer and the heir to Gianbattista Falchi, who is the head of a well known mafia family. He is also Silvio's Godfather and lover. When Stefano first sees Silvio pulling up on his motorcycle, he's immediately attracted to him. Silvio has dark eyes, dark hair, a dark soul and basically exudes sex and Stefano can feel it.
Stefano can't seem to get Silvio out of him mind. Whenever he sees him, he feels like he can barely breathe and it gets harder and harder to escape Silvio's sensual pull and Silvio knows it. You can clearly feel Stefano's turmoil. One night Stefano's deepest desires are pushed to the limit.
Stefano is not the only one that can't get Silvio out of his head. I can't seem to stop thinking about him. I keep wondering what makes him tick. By the end of the second story you get more background and some of the pieces are laid out but I'm sure we've just skimmed the surface of Silvio "the Barracuda" Spadaro.
One of my favorite parts was when Stefano sees the painting of Silvio in Gianbattista's office. It was so poignant. The description was absolutely vivid. Silvio's lips, his position, his "knowing, full of darkness smile".
Gianbattista's tells us it's his Dorian Gray and lets us know how much trouble the painter had capturing Silvio's soul. It gave me chills when Gianbattista says: "That is maybe because he doesn't have one."
Even Stefano's reaction, simple but full of impact. "It's....impressive. Beautiful.
For some reason this struck a chord with me.
The second story ends when Stefano asks for Gianbattista's help with some trouble he's having with the Russian Mafia. Silvio travels to the States with Stefano at Gianbattista's request. What gripped me at the end, was Silvio's emotions. His heartache tore right through me.
I can tell this is the beginning of an intense ride.