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Dennis Palumbo’s Dr. Daniel Rinaldi: A Good Man to Have on Your Side

IN THE September 16 ISSUE

FROM THE 2017 Articles,
andMysteryrat's Maze,
andSharon Tucker
SECTIONS

by Sharon Tucker

Be content with what you have: rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. —Lao Tzu

Employing a psychologist or a psychiatrist as a part of an investigative team makes perfect sense. It has worked well for Val McDermid and her Dr. Tony Hill. Even Thomas Harris’s Hannibal Lecter, though insane, had professional insights that helped Clarice Starling find “Buffalo Bill” after all. Enter Daniel Rinaldi, Dennis Palumbo’s clinical psychologist based in Pittsburgh. Rinaldi, no stranger to trauma and personal loss himself, is the therapist we dream of: worthy of trust, adept at his job, and flawed just enough to make him interesting but not enough to damage any of us or his patients. He is pulled into Pittsburgh’s Police Department for more than one reason and shoulders his way through resentment and obstructions to help both patients and friends involved in or with law enforcement.

bookMirror Image (2010) introduces police consultant, trauma specialist, and therapist Daniel Rinaldi who finds himself a murder suspect when one of his patients turns up murdered. His personal and professional jeopardy increases when a contentious colleague wants Rinaldi brought up on charges but turns up murdered. Rinaldi tries to treat the survivor of a brutal bank robbery in Fever Dream (2011), but she keeps vanishing. The investigation is further compromised by one (or more) of the police detectives who is busy going off the rails. And since profilers spend their professional lives studying the worst criminals among us, when one of them needs a therapist, in the spirit of law enforcement inter-department co-operation, Rinaldi is shanghaied to assist in Night Terrors (2013).

Although patient treatment usually falls into recognizable categories, therapists may have conflicting views on what is benign enough to be ignored in their patients’ behavior and what should be directly addressed. In Mirror Image the murder of one of Rinaldi’s patients outrages one of Rinaldi’s colleagues to the extent that violence ensues between the two doctors. Events progress even more dangerously so that Rinaldi becomes a murder suspect twice over. The hits just keep on coming for the good doctor when he crosses a magnate wealthy beyond our ken who is determined to ruin the doctor’s reputation in a national media campaign.

bookRinaldi’s personal experience with trauma has made him a better therapist, but he isn’t immune to conflict surrounding survivors as they cope with the aftermath of violence. Fever Dream blurs the line between his own desires and the reality of the crime itself as well as his unwilling entanglement in a public official’s political ambitions. As if the doctor weren’t tasked enough, he seems helpless as one colleague shuts him out for personal reasons while another is busy blazing a self-destructive path through Pittsburgh. The death threats meant to muddy the waters even more have the opposite effect on Rinaldi as he begins to see the pattern of how it all fits together.

bookImagine what it must be like to have violent, aberrant behavior as the focus of your profession. Such is the case for Lyle Barnes in Night Terrors. Years of exposure to the worst individuals civilization has to offer has taken its toll on the veteran profiler in the form of the sleep disorder, night terrors. That he is also the focus of an assassin ups the stakes. Barnes disappears from protective custody before Rinaldi can begin to help him, complicating all of the above. As always, Rinaldi becomes more involved that he would like doing his best to help the mother of a killer she affirms is innocent—all evidence to the contrary.

These first three Rinaldi novels are so full of plots and characters that readers are kept busy indeed. Not only does Dr. Rinaldi have his hands full with patients in various stages of psychological health, he is finding his way back to a love life after years of mourning and is the go-to therapist for local and national law enforcement. What keeps me reading despite sometimes wanting a flow chart is that Rinaldi is a man we would all like to know. Despite conflict he is centered and innately positive. As a colleague, a friend, or a lover Rinaldi is a man to have on your side. Despite his often clouded vision or because of it, the doctor is immediately likable and one cares for him and for what happens to him. I look forward to the next Rinaldi novel, Phantom Limb (2014). I’m late to the party in reading these novels, but the party is still going on!

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.

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Sharon Tucker is former faculty at the University of Memphis in Memphis TN, and now enjoys evening supervising in that campus library. Having forsworn TV except for online viewing and her own movies, she reads an average of 3 to 4 books per week and has her first novel—a mystery, of course—well underway.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dennis PalumboNo Gravatar September 16, 2017 at 10:21am

Dear Ms. Tucker,

What a pleasant surprise to find this up on KRL this morning. Thanks so much for the kind words about my Daniel Rinaldi novels, and I hope you like PHANTOM LIMB as much as the first three in the series. And in hopes that the good doctor hasn’t worn out his welcome in your mind, the next (fifth) Rinaldi thriller, HEAD WOUNDS, comes out in February, 2018.

Thanks again!

Dennis Palumbo

Reply

2 SharonNo Gravatar September 17, 2017 at 11:15am

The books were a pleasure to read—very much looking forward to Phantom Limb and happy that Head Wounds is in the works. What a treat!

Reply

3 SharonNo Gravatar September 17, 2017 at 11:18am

—My pleasure. I have a copy of Phantom Limb to read already and am delighted that more Rinaldi is in the works.

Reply

4 Dennis PalumboNo Gravatar September 18, 2017 at 11:18am

Dear Sharon,

Glad to hear that you have PHANTOM LIMB somewhere on your to-be-read file. I hope you enjoy it. And thanks again for writing your essay about my series.

Best,

Dennis

Reply

5 Dennis PalumboNo Gravatar September 16, 2017 at 11:18am

Dear Ms. Tucker,

Thanks for your kind words about my Daniel Rinaldi series of mystery thrillers. This was a wonderful surprise to get on a Saturday morning!

I hope you do get a chance to read the fourth book, PHANTOM LIMB. And, if the good doctor hasn’t worn out his welcome after that, the next (fifth) Rinaldi novel, HEAD WOUNDS, comes out in February, 2018.

Thanks again. You made my day.

Dennis Palumbo

Reply

6 Barry ErgangNo Gravatar September 16, 2017 at 2:42pm

I read MIRROR IMAGE earlier this year (https://kevintipplescorner.blogspot.com/2017/02/ffb-review-mirror-image-2010-by-dennis.html), and look forward to reading FEVER DREAM in the very near future. I can only hope the latter and *its* successors are as good as or better than the former, because MIRROR IMAGE is a jewel of a mystery/thriller.

Reply

7 SharonNo Gravatar September 17, 2017 at 11:21am

Fever Dream will surprise you, Barry. The twists in the plot work very well.

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8 Dennis PalumboNo Gravatar September 18, 2017 at 11:19am

Dear Sharon,

Glad to hear that you have PHANTOM LIMB somewhere on your to-be-read file. I hope you enjoy it. And thanks again for writing your essay about my series.

Best,

Dennis

Reply

9 Dennis PalumboNo Gravatar September 23, 2017 at 12:33pm

Thanks, Barry! Always appreciate your support. I hope you’ll get a chance to check out the next Rinaldi thriller, HEAD WOUNDS, coming out in February, again from Poisoned Pen Press.
A recent post from Dennis Palumbo: 2014 Schedule of AppearancesMy Profile

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