Inspector Javert: at the Gates of Hell (Wisdom of Les Misérables)
Alfred J. Garrotto
Andrew Benzie Books (2021)
Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Reader Views (01/2022)
One of the “Wisdom of Les Misérables” books, “Inspector Javert: at the Gates of Hell,” by Alfred J. Garrotto, has Victor Hugo’s antihero, Inspector Javert, standing on the edge, where the River Seine calls below him. After a moment of hesitation, he takes a step forward, into… the ultimate unknown.
Does he truly die? Is there an afterlife? What does he find there? This is where the mystery begins to unfold, in Garrotto’s highly compelling and entertaining “what if” scenario. Javert is a moral character, and wants to do the right thing, even if he has to be harsh about it. Rules are rules. Order is very important to him, so it is within his nature to carry out justice and what he considers to be worthy and altruistic. The themes of love conquering fear are evident, as is forgiveness and its power over sin.
Garrotto has a wonderful way with phrases and with Inspector Javert, crafting a powerful piece of work that will immerse you from beginning to end. This intelligent and multi-faceted rendering shows depth and complexity, but it also allows us a peek behind the curtain at the end of our earthly lives. What happens next? Is it damnation? Heaven? Hell? Limbo? A new life in another body? A second chance? Javert was sure in some things, brutal in others, but had no inkling of how it affected human beings. He was all about honoring God and earthly authority, but lacked compassion for his fellow man.
Once on the “other side”, Bishop Myriel leads him to sift through uncertainty, until he finds something precious. His spiritual quest takes him back to a traumatic childhood, which led him on a crusade to always do the right thing and eliminate criminals and evildoers. Sad that it takes suicide to bring him to an understanding, but that is the angst, tragedy, hope, and healing of this unforgettable novel.
“Inspector Javert: at the Gates of Hell (Wisdom of Les Misérables)”, by Alfred J. Garrotto, is an impressive book examining morality, life after death, and the possibility of redemption.