Dante’s Poison

Originally published January 2014

I only wish book lovers could get this sooner.

“Dante’s Poison” is Chicago area author Lynne Raimondo’s followup to one of my favorite recent debuts, “Dante’s Wood.” Featuring psychiatrist and amateur sleuth Mark Angelotti, readers will soon become enveloped in mystery, as he tackles not one, but five challenges:

  1. Who killed Rory Gallagher, the once-great-but-now-kinda-a-sleaze Sun-Times reporter?
  2. Is Ira Levin at fault for two North Shore teen suicides?
  3. Can a miracle medicine bring back his sight?
  4. Should he admit he cares for his sleuthing compadre Hallie, called to defend a former colleague in Gallagher’s murder?
  5. And where the hell is Mike, a homeless friend who has disappeared?

It’s a lot for a book just short of 300 pages, but that’s what I find very appealing about Raimondo’s writing—the books may not carry the physical heft of a Clancy novel, but the story is just as engaging—and you can finish it in a day or two, rather than having to block out an entire month.

This sophomore effort focuses not just on Angelotti’s efforts to track down Gallagher’s killer, but also allows some breathing room into his personality, as he struggles with an effort to get his sight back, and the need to forgive himself for past sins so that maybe, just maybe, he can move forward and forge a new life with Hallie Sanchez.

Chicago also takes another turn as a leading character in “Dante’s Poison.” Raimondo’s love of the city comes through loud and clear, and oft references to local favorites will amuse local readers. That said, you don’t have to live in Chicago to love the book—it just adds another dimension for us Second City folk.

Can you find the killer before Mark does? I was stumped—again—and completely thrown for a loop at the end. Although, I have to admist a certain satisfaction once the killer is revealed. There’s something about the industry in which he or she works that makes having a sociopath in its ranks not all that surprising.

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