Book Review: The Dante Connection

Art theft. Coded messages. A high-level threat. Despite her initial disbelief, Doctor Genevieve Lenard discovers that she is the key that connects stolen works of art, ciphers and sinister threats. Betrayed by the people who called themselves her friends, Genevieve throws herself into her insurance investigation job with autistic single-mindedness. When hacker Francine appears beaten and bloodied on her doorstep, begging for her help, Genevieve is forced to get past the hurt of her friends’ abandonment and team up with them to find the perpetrators. Little does she know that it will take her on a journey through not one, but two twisted minds to discover the true target of their mysterious messages. It will take all her personal strength and knowledge as a nonverbal communications expert to overcome fears that could cost not only her life, but the lives of many others.

Returning to the wonderful world of Genevieve Lenard, this is a continuation and departure from the first book.  The cast assembled in the first installment are all back, and Genevieve has something to say about the time between when the last one left off and this one picks up.  Most of it is not complementary.

Once again, this is an action packed ride of intrigue, unexpected twists and turns in the plot, and personal development.  In this installment, Genevieve has an entirely new set of personal values to learn, new facets of her own self to come to terms with, and a job to accomplish before it is too late.  Some of the opposing team make a reappearance, which lends a sense of continuity between the books in parallel with Genevieve herself.

Though this is the second book, the character development is as dramatic as the first.  Everyone in the spot light undergoes a significant amount of growth and development.  I had thought that the characters were complex before, and Ms. Ryan does a wonderfully entertaining job of proving me wrong.

Without giving away too much more, the developing relationships are quite interesting.  Some of the character histories may cause you to plant your eyebrows in your hairline, yet I have seen similar situations mentioned in actual news reporting, or even other industries.

The plot has a wonderfully tight weave of plausibility, reality, with just enough of a unique twist to make this definitely the world Estelle Ryan developed for her characters.

When I finished this one, I wanted to mope for a week.  Then I remembered there are four more books released for the series.  So, after a brief smile, a nod at the five out of five stars, I gleefully dove into the next in line.  Well done, and I wish I could give this book more.  Not just a fun read, but one that is on par, or possibly better than the first.


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