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dbinfernoAfter finishing “The Power Broker,” I needed something totally mindless to recover from the challenging and comprehensive work by Caro.


So, I went for Dan Brown’s new book, “Inferno.” Don’t lie, you read “Da Vinci Code” too, and you probably liked it. It was all the rage for a summer, and it was as good of a thriller as any novel in recent years. It was something new and fresh, with the mystery of ancient symbols and the church as a backdrop for a thriller. He made a mint writing it and he’s churned out at least a couple more Robert Langdon thrillers in recent years. And they’ve mostly sucked.


Inferno was awful. I swear, no I really mean it this time, I’m not going to read any more of his claptrap. Why should I make this guy rich? Police Academy was a funny movie.  Police Academy 6 was horrible. But that didn’t stop the producers and directors from churning that crap out and getting paid. Which is exactly what Dan Brown is doing. He’s got a formula and he’s sticking to it. Pretty soon, he’ll be doing what all these other mystery authors do, selling his name to other authors so they can trade on his brand. “A Dan Brown Novel written by Joe Smith.”


I want badly to completely despise this guy—how many novelists struggle mightily to get published or get read? This guy publishes formulaic pabulum year after year and gets paid more than most other authors combined. But therein lies the reason I can’t completely hate the guy. He figured out how to get paid. Life ain’t fair. All these other authors would be perfectly happy if their fates were as Brown’s has been. I just don’t have to be a part of it anymore.


I won’t bother to review this book other than to say it’s not very good. It’s fairly predictable. On his fourth book, Robert Langdon as a character is totally flat—the opposite of what you would expect after multiple novels. Hell, we even got to know Lenny from Law & Order better over the years. The conspiracy is thinner than the Opus Dei frame of “Da Vinci Code.”  And the ending is just silly and entirely unsatisfying.


One more thing. There are a few scenes in the book where Brown writes about Net Jets. Langdon is escaping Florence or something (I had stopped paying close attention by this point) and Brown’s writing about the private airline seems like it is…marketing. I couldn’t help but wonder if Brown sold a few lines in his book to Net Jets. I mean, think about it. Given the masses that will be reading this book in some jammed Delta terminal, aren’t the pages of this book the exact medium you want to use to reach your target audience? Maybe it is innocent, but I would not be surprised one iota if Net Jets didn’t buy and pay for that little endorsement.


I don’t know whether to hate or admire the guy.


Thanks for reading.