Raimondo, Lynne. Dante’s Wood: A Mark Angelotti Novel. Seventh St. Bks.: Prometheus. Jan. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9781616147181. pap. $15.95. M
Charlie, a developmentally disabled adult, loves his art teacher, Shannon. But then Shannon is murdered and Charlie is holding her body when the cops show up. Conveniently for the authorities, he confesses to the crime. Further complicating the situation, Shannon was pregnant and DNA says Charlie was the father. But Mark, a psychiatrist who is blind and who has counseled Charlie and his family before, strongly believes the man has been framed. Determined to do right by his young patient, Mark embarks with zeal on an amateur sleuthing mission. He learns that Shannon was quite opportunistic and had a bucketful of enemies. The real question is how well Mark can maneuver through the streets of Chicago without getting killed, too. VERDICT Raimondo’s ambitious first-person-narrator debut tackles a taboo topic head-on. Her blind psychiatrist character (with oodles of guilt issues) is a real keeper. The plot’s unexpected twists and turns overcome the author’s occasional lecturing. This would pair well with Gerald Elias’s series featuring blind sleuth Daniel Jacobus (Death and Transfiguration and also with Jon Mills’s The Ronnie Gene.