November 7th, 2011

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Review: The Dionysian Alliance

The Dionysian Alliance: A Novel of Sex, Religion, and Murder by Jack Rinella. Available at

Reviewed by TammyJo Eckhart, PhD

Most of you will know Jack Rinella as the author of more than a half dozen books about BDSM from a leatherman’s perspective.  The Dionysian Alliance is a departure for Rinella on two fronts.  First, this is a work of fiction but, secondly, this is also a bisexual and switch perspective on the Scene.

At first glance this novel looks like other murder mysteries with kinky tossed in for flavor or as the fetish of the bad guy.  Very quickly you realize that this is a tale of self-discovery told through the eyes of Benjamin Kramer, who has uncovered a family secret in a box of his deceased uncle’s possessions.  A detective, Benjamin naturally is intrigued by his uncle’s dairies and letters and thus begins his primary investigation into his family’s history.

The novel revolves around Benjamin’s discovery of a group of alternative sexuality practioneers who all follow a pagan inspired religion.  Much of the novel feels like preaching to the kinky using philosophy and historical snippets.  For some readers this may feel like it drags the story down but just when you are about to wonder if you really need this information the hot sex begins.

There is plenty of sex in this book though it is never the full focus of the novel.  The sex balances the philosophical dialogue, and the investigations Benjamin is hired to conduct.  The sexual scenes are enhanced with just enough description to please those looking for a more erotic tale while supporting that fact that, through all these encounters, our hero is auditioning to join the Alliance.  The speed at which he is embraced by the secretive religion is difficult to grasp at times, though the murder is used as a reason for his deeper penetration into the Chicago headquarters.

The murder happens one-third of the way into the story and is a vehicle for discussing the problems of mainstream religion and the messed up minds of some individuals.  You’ll have to read the novel to figure out who did what and why, but the developments are backed by believable twists and solid, yet not boring, investigation.

The dialogue and pace at times seems a bit off but by and large this is a good first novel from a well-respected leatherman.  If you are open to kinky and loving sex between men, between women, and between men and women in various combinations, Benjamin’s love life and investigations will intrigue you.

Mirrored from Circlet Press: Welcome to Circlet 2.0.