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Another captivating story of psychologist Mark Angelotti. And so far, my favorite in the series. In this one, he’s got a new boss who doesn’t think so highly of Mark. He’s also given the assignment to be an expert witness for the prosecution of a woman who claims to have murdered her estranged husband after years of domestic abuse. But things just don’t seem to add up for Mark, and he’s off into another investigation and into danger. Someone definitely doesn’t want Mark to discover the truth.
Mark has a lot on his plate this time around. Not only does the mystery lead him round lots of twists and turns. Every time I think I’ve figured it out along with Mark, something undoes the whole solution and we’re back where we started. But along with the mystery, Mark has the new not-so-friendly boss, and a potential law suit with his ex-wife who isn’t so thrilled about the possibility of joint custody of their son. Mark seems in a better place personally in this book. He seems to have a better handle and acceptance of his blindness, and as usual with this series, Raimondo gives us a number of laugh out loud moments. Everything from Mark walking into his office furniture, mysteriously outside his office instead of in it, or the trials of trying to use a white cane on sidewalks buried in snow. As a woman who is blind, one of the things I love best about this series is that I forget about the whole blindness thing altogether. I tend to avoid books with blind characters, and if I read them at all, I read with part of my brain critiquing the portrayal of the blind character. But with the Dante series, it’s shown so realistically that I don’t think of Mark being blind any more than I wake up every morning and think, “good God, I’m blind!” The ways in which Mark performs the everyday things of life are so real and natural that I don’t even think of it as I read. I’m too caught up in the personality of Mark, his kindness, his sarcasm, his sense of humor. I’m too caught up in the mystery wondering how the author will surprise me this time. Mark’s blindness is in the background, just as it should be.
The mystery this time around was glorious, kept me guessing almost to the end. I thought I’d gotten it figured out. I thought I knew why the accused killer was going along with the prosecution. I thought I knew who was doing what, and at almost every revelation, I had been wrong all along! I generally figure out mysteries very quickly, so whenever I read one that surprises me, I’m so delighted, I just have to sit back and smile at the end, wishing I could read it again as if I hadn’t read it before, to see if I’d pick up the clues differently this time.
The author deals realistically and with great respect on the subject of long-term domestic abuse, a topic so heartbreaking and sadly still far too prevalent today. She doesn’t sugar-coat it, and yet, the rest of the story, with Mark’s compassion and humor, keeps the subject matter from getting too dark.
The Dante series is just plain fun, delightful. A good solid mystery, with a protagonist who is human and real, who makes you laugh out loud one moment and ache with sorrow for him the next. He’s a character you could meet on the street, someone with flaws and greatness, just a guy, and every man sort of guy, trying to make the best of his life, trying to give the best of himself and stumbling and succeeding just like all the rest of us. Seriously, I can’t rave enough about the series. This series isn’t so-called disability fiction, it’s a series of psychological mysteries with a hero who just happens to be blind.