Review: Dr. Dante "Mark" Angelotti is a brilliant psychiatrist, who works for a prominent law firm in Chicago, carrying out psychological evaluations on behalf of clients. His life was changed forever when a genetic disease of his optic nerves cause him to be almost completely blind. Still struggling to adapt to the incapacity he hides his fear and self-pity behind his razor-sharp wit and biting sarcasm. His latest assignment is to perform a psychological evaluation of Sherry Lazarus, who has pled guilty to the murder of her husband, Dr. Gunther Westlake, a sociology professor at the University of Chicago, in Dante's Dilemma, the third mystery in this series by Lynne Raimondo
Westlake was harsh with his students, and was not liked by the faculty because most knew he was abusive to his wife, though Sherry always refused to press charges. The prosecutor has her confession of the murder as taken by the police. Dr. Bradley Stevens, a less renowned but highly regarded local psychiatrist, was chosen by Linda O'Malley State's Attorney for Cook County, Illinois to conduct the psychiatric evaluation of Lazarus. Stevens had twenty hours in which to interview her, much of which was notes as well as audio recordings. O'Malley declared her intention to offer into evidence Stevens' expert opinion, even if favored a verdict of acquittal. Stevens was to be the first witness to take the stand take the stand for the prosecution. Shortly before the trial was to begin Stevens was struck down and killed by a hit-and-run driver. Mark Angelotti is to replace him in the courtroom, but has only two hours to interview Lazarus. He finds her memories about the night she says she killed him a bit muddled. Stevens' papers indicated he believed Lazarus was an expert liar and she was definitely guilty of murdering her husband. Sherry's attorney, Hallie Sanchez, however, is working on a defense stressing BWS — Battered Wife Syndrome. After his interview with Sherry, Mark is convinced she is suffering from PTSD — Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. That is the statement he gives in court. The jury doesn't agree with the reasons Mark gave for the killing and convicts Sherry of first degree murder, sentenced to life in prison. Mark feels guilty about the verdict. He methodically starts going through all of Stevens' notes and his own on the case. He is sure Lazarus is innocent. She is either protecting someone or she really doesn't remember the night of the murder. At any rate Mark is sure there is a killer still out there. He and Sherry's attorney, Hallie, are almost killed themselves before finding a clue that could lead them to the real killer.
Although the murder of Dr. Gunther Westlake and fate of Sherry Lazarus are the central plot of Dante's Dilemma, Mark Angelotti is facing other important issues in his personal life. His ex-wife is suing him for full custody of their son back on the east coast. He hasn't seen his son for seven years except by Skype; will this be held against him? Plus with his condition, would the court feel he could safely care for his son? Although Mark mostly has a positive outlook, he still feels guilty about just walking away, as his wife is demanding, from his son. This is a crisply written, strongly plotted mystery, with a gripping moral subplot that is well worth the read. Highly recommended.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Dante's Dilemma.
Acknowledgment: Seventh Street Books provided a copy of Dante's Dilemma for this review.
Review Copyright © 2015 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Seventh Street Books (Trade Paperback), May 2014
ISBN-13: 9781616148799; ISBN-10: 1616148799
Location(s) referenced in Dante's Dilemma: Chicago, Illinois
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Dante's Dilemma by Lynne Raimondo — A Mark Angelotti Mystery
Publisher: Seventh Street Books
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: August 2015
List Price: $15.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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