Book Critique -
A Mysterious Journal, A Murder, Sexual Spirituality
Chris Phillips
I am a veteran editor for friends and family as well as most of my employment positions. I make books out of my friends' writing as well as help them to smooth out what they say, how they say it and hopefully get the best expressions. I have been doing this for 20+ years. I often find myself reading a book and correcting problems I see even after the works have been professional published from big name publishers.  
By Chris Phillips
Published on 01/6/2012
Detective Benjamin Kramer's quest to find his long-forgotten Great-uncle Jonathan led him to a secretive attorney in Cincinnati, an esoteric monastic lover, a professional dominatrix, and a murdered temple priestess. Along the way he discovered his family's secret: his mother and her ancestors were Dionysians, members of an ancient, and supposedly defunct, fertility cult that worships Dionysos, the god of wine and ecstasy. From the attractive young monk who teaches him the secrets of Tantric sex to the professional dominatrix who shows him the whip-induced path that leads to visions of gods, Benjamin probes, questions, and discovers a hidden Alliance with immense wealth, power, and influence. When they turn to him to solve the ritualized murder of Chicago's temple prostitute, the verse from the Book of Ezekiel ("And the harlot shall be slain by the sword") is the only clue to the perpetrator. Is it a modern day Salem witch hunt or a Bacchanalian rite gone terribly wrong?

Book Reviewed

The Dionysian Alliance by Jack Rinella ISBN 978-0-940267-23-7

Review by Chris Phillips

Rinella’s first novel is a triumph of erotica, intrigue and mysterious secrets. Well researched yet still remaining intriguing, the book follows Ben Kramer on a journey of self-discovery and inclusion into a hidden mystery religion. This eventually leads him to some intense sexual encounters, solving a murder and further threats of violence, and truly intense enlightenment through ecstatic experiences.

Ben finds a mysterious box in his mother’s attic when she moves to Florida for retirement. The journals contained therein reveal much about his reclusive and, at least to Ben, largely unknown uncle, Jonathan. Ben is reminded of a strange theology book this uncle gave him 25 years previously. In the intervening years Ben has developed a career as an investigator but also as a spiritual seeker. His uncle’s journals from the box lead him into new situations with the “cult” his uncle and apparently many others close to him have been involved with.

Richard Ceznat is the outer voice of a secret religion, a cult in the positive form of a belief system hidden from public view. Thomas is the monk of this order that is brought in to guide Ben but eventually becomes much more. Cynthia is the priestess brought in to replace the murder victim. She also becomes more to Ben and their relationships all become more entwined in the course of the investigation into the murder. There are other characters and many situations where Ben learns about ecstatic religious practices, odd terrorists and himself. He seeks and finds more information and then enlightenment through these persons and some others that surprise him and the reader equally. Ben finds himself skeptical and doubtful of the veracity of what he reads and finds out. But the investigation becomes more of a journey of discovery for him.

The characters are all memorable. The situations and the religion described here are believable and uplifting for any in alternative sexualities. Such a religion would fulfill many dreams for those who live their lives as gay, lesbian, power exchange and even simply kinky relationships.

Highly recommended for any adult reader looking for light erotica, decent mystery and perhaps even personal enlightenment, the book is well written and very readable.

Published by Rinella Editorial Services, 2011. ( ($19.95 USD SRP/Amazon $19.95 USD) Reviewer received book from author.