Books

by Lynne Raimondo
Seventh Street Books, January 2013, $15.95

Lynne Raimondo’s Dante’s Wood brings the stunning debut of Dr. D. (Dante) Mark Angelotti, an embittered middle-aged psychiatrist who has recently lost his sight to a hereditary condition. Back at work in his Chicago hospital clinic for the first time since going blind, he is given the case of Charlie Dickerson, a mentally disabled young man who has suddenly begun having nightmares. Charlie’s overprotective mother suspects sexual abuse by a beautiful art therapy teacher at New Horizons Center, the sheltered workshop her son attends. Angelotti diagnoses the opposite: sexual frustration. The psychiatrist’s proposed “cure”? That Charlie’s father—a wealthy physician—teach Charlie how to masturbate. When the art therapist is found stabbed to death with a bloody Charlie standing over her, the boy’s powerful parents demand that Angelotti get fired for malpractice. The only way Angelotti can save his job is to track down the killer himself—not an easy task for a blind psychiatrist with no police training. This difficulty is what makes Dante’s Wood so unique. Instead of the stereotype of the noble, brave, blind person soldiering on despite his inability to see, author Raimondo paints Angelotti as a bit of a rat. He’s a cranky, self-seeking man whose only interest in others is in how he can use them to advance his lusts and/or career. As he describes himself, “After I went blind I was still the same arrogant, uncaring, self-deceptive bastard I’d always been, with special emphasis on the next-to-last point.” Watching Angelotti slowly transition from sighted to blind, from selfishness to compassion, is a joy. Throw in the gritty Chicago surroundings, a colorful cast of characters, and a shocking ending and you’ve got one of the best mystery debuts since V.I. Warshawski solved her first case.

Betty Webb

Lynne Raimondo’s Dante’s Wood brings the stunning debut of Dr. D. (Dante) Mark Angelotti, an embittered middle-aged psychiatrist who has recently lost his sight to a hereditary condition. Back at work in his Chicago hospital clinic for the first time since going blind, he is given the case of Charlie Dickerson, a mentally disabled young man who has suddenly begun having nightmares. Charlie’s overprotective mother suspects sexual abuse by a beautiful art therapy teacher at New Horizons Center, the sheltered workshop her son attends. Angelotti diagnoses the opposite: sexual frustration. The psychiatrist’s proposed “cure”? That Charlie’s father—a wealthy physician—teach Charlie how to masturbate. When the art therapist is found stabbed to death with a bloody Charlie standing over her, the boy’s powerful parents demand that Angelotti get fired for malpractice. The only way Angelotti can save his job is to track down the killer himself—not an easy task for a blind psychiatrist with no police training. This difficulty is what makes Dante’s Wood so unique. Instead of the stereotype of the noble, brave, blind person soldiering on despite his inability to see, author Raimondo paints Angelotti as a bit of a rat. He’s a cranky, self-seeking man whose only interest in others is in how he can use them to advance his lusts and/or career. As he describes himself, “After I went blind I was still the same arrogant, uncaring, self-deceptive bastard I’d always been, with special emphasis on the next-to-last point.” Watching Angelotti slowly transition from sighted to blind, from selfishness to compassion, is a joy. Throw in the gritty Chicago surroundings, a colorful cast of characters, and a shocking ending and you’ve got one of the best mystery debuts since V.I. Warshawski solved her first case.

Teri Duerr
3062

by Lynne Raimondo
Seventh Street Books, January 2013, $15.95

Raimondo
January 2013
dantes-wood
15.95
Seventh Street Books