"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested." (Francis Bacon)

Saturday, September 10, 2022

The Tenth Circle

TITLE:  The Tenth Circle
AUTHOR: Jodi Picoult

Back when I was still working, Jodi Picoult was popular with our library patrons, so I figured I should give one of her books a try. I chose this one because one of the main characters -- the father -- was a comic book creator and I love omic books. So I bought the book and somehow never got around to reading it. Until now, a decde or so later.

The plot revolves around Daniel Stone, a comic book artist working on writing ann original comic based on Dante's levels of Hell, a subject his college professor wife teaches. A work-from-home parent, he has a strong bond with their 14-year-old daughter, Trixie. Life seems perfect until Trixie tells her father her older boyfriend raped her. From there, things spiral out of control

What once seemed perfect reveals itself to be full of lies and deceptions, all with consequences, from the aftermath of the rape accusation to Daniel's wife's infidelity. Slowly, Picoult peels back the layers until the truths are revealed. There are plot twists, some I figured out and some that surprised me, but this isn't a traditional mystery. It's more a look at a family that seems perfect until the family members are forced by circumstances to look more closely.

I could say more about the characters -- the blurb certainly does -- but the only other thing I'll mention is the comic book within the book, as Picoult got an artist to illustrate pages of Daniel's story of a man literally going to Hell to save his daughter, a knowing nod at life imitating art, fictional though both may be. That, and Picoult's easy prose that makes this a fast, compelling read.

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