As you’ve probably heard, Dan Brown has a new book coming out next month. I left this off the list of spring releases I’m looking forward to, not because I’m not looking forward to it, but because I wanted to say a few words about the author. After all, he’s one of the most popular — some would say, most overrated — thriller authors writing today. On a personal note, Dan Brown was my introduction to the thriller genre… which, of course, has since become my favorite type of escape. So I can’t find any fault in those who love his books. But I also can’t fault those who think he’s overrated.
My frustration with him is this:
Unlike most of the big names, he doesn’t come out with a new title (or two, or three…) every year. That in itself is not a problem. You would think, though, with all that extra time between releases, that his books would be phenomenal. But they’re not. They’re entertaining, sure. But having read many more thrillers since I picked up my first Dan Brown novel, I now have trouble figuring out what makes his books so special.
His stand-alones are enjoyable, if nearly identical. I preferred Deception Point over Digital Fortress, but that could just be because that’s the order I read them in. Angels and Demons is still my favorite in the Robert Langdon series. The Da Vinci Code lost a little of the urgency in the first book (there’s really nothing like a ticking clock, is there?), but I still thought it was good. The Lost Symbol, on the other hand… I’d definitely say it’s the weakest of the series, but that fact is made so much worse because it was his first release after most of the world discovered who he was. If ever you’d think an author would put everything he had (including all the resources that he maybe didn’t have before he hit it big) toward making a great book, this would be that book. And of course this is only my opinion, but I thought it fell way, way short of expectations.
And now, four years later, here we are again. Will Inferno be a worthy follow-up, what The Lost Symbol should have been?
Inferno, by Dan Brown
#4 in the Robert Langdon series
In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces… Dante’s Inferno.
Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust… before the world is irrevocably altered.
Maybe it’s just the fact that we’re returning to Italy, but I feel optimistic about this one.
Which of Dan Brown’s books (if any) have you read? What are your thoughts on him? And will you be picking up Inferno when it comes out, or giving it a pass?