Inferno – Dan Brown (2013) – A Running Man Review

imagesinferno Time to lay my cards on the table. My interest in the adventure genre was sparked, initially by Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci Code,” probably not too much of a surprise there as it was the book which reignited interest in this type of novel. It tends to be the book I judge other books in this genre by. I’m not the only one. How many times have you seen “The Next Da Vinci Code” emblazoned on a book cover? Sometimes the books are better than Dan Brown’s opus, often they are not, but this tends to be the work which I often consciously or subconsciously compare to. Some of his earlier work gained huge post Da Vinci sales, not always deservedly and I did think “The Lost Symbol” was a worthy follow-up. Which brings me to “Inferno…” I’m not really intending to review many books that didn’t set me alight (Inferno- see what I did there?) but I’m sure Dan Brown has broad enough shoulders to take some criticism and is financially secure enough (!) not to worry that my seeds of doubt would impede upon his future finances. I was looking forward to reading this and I was disappointed. I found it all a little odd. Dante provides the literary centre for this novel and Robert Langdon is once again the main character. Here he finds himself in an Italian hospital with a gunshot wound and amnesia, when he believed himself to be in the USA. A plot with some madman wreaking havoc on the world with Dante’s Inferno as his inspiration begins to unfold, then folds up again, then unfolds another way until who is who or what is what becomes baffling. There’s also (and here’s a bug-bear he avoided in “The Lost Symbol”) too much travelling around and too much, for want of a better term, guide book info which drags down the pace, although at other times it does flow well. There’s too many twists and turns and even though the themes coming through are thought provoking (overpopulation) and there is a world-changing ending, it all feels a little out of kilter with his previous works. It’s a not a disaster by any means and his status at the top of the adventure story game is pretty safe, and he is still probably going to continue to be my yardstick, but with considerable gaps between the publication dates of his books I was expecting more.       twostars