Dante’s Journey

Dante’s Journey

By: JC Marino

This is a book that’s been on my “to-read” list for quite some time.  It’s an interesting concept, really.  Take the original classic Inferno and put a more modern twist on it.  Marino does so with the help of the protagonist, Joe Dante, a Boston Police Officer whose only purpose in life became vengeance upon a crime boss who he blames for his family’s death.  We come into the story as Dante finds himself in a strange place, and quickly find out that he’s passed through that bright light and landed himself on the first level of Hell. What follows is an interesting tale of the search for his family’s killer and, more importantly, for who he really is.

I have to admit, the first 50 or so pages almost turned me off of the book.  The characters lived their lives in the past, so the slang and phrases that they use in their speech threw me.  Once you get used to it and figure out that it’s going on, it wasn’t so bad.  I also found myself confused by the ending.  I won’t spoil it here, but suffice to say that the ending isn’t the clearest on who is who and what really happens.  There’s a bit of complexity in the plot, that needed to be tied up.  It was, but just not very neatly, I thought.

If you overlook the adjustment pages in the front and the somewhat muddled ending, the book is a good book.  For a book whose setting is Dante’s Hell, I expected a bit more religious overtones, but I never felt like the religion was the purpose of the book.  The story was.  It is a story of discovery, and as such, there’s a bit of introspective meandering, but it’s well mixed with action as they travel through the circles of Hell.

I think people who normally read detective books will like this more than I did.  I gave it three starts (out of 5) on Goodreads, but it really should have had a 3.5.  They don’t have half stars there, so it got 3.  It’s a good book, that’s worth a read, especially if you are into detective/action books.

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