So I am totally not a Dan Brown fan. My mother LOVED The DaVinci Code, so when everyone was reading it a few years ago I thought I should give it a shot. We didn't have a copy of The DaVinci Code handy, but we did have Angels & Demons, so I cracked that open and gave it a go. Oh boy. That was a truly craptacular novel. Never mind the ridiculous plot or the painful info-dumps on art history. It was the plain bad formula writing - especially the foreshadowing - that really got me. Ending every chapter with a variation of "Langdon did not know that he would need this information three hours later to survive the night" KILLED me.
But I thought to myself, "Well, maybe Dan Brown was just off on this particular book. I mean, there's probably a reason Angels & Demons wasn't the incredible blockbuster that shot Brown to superstardom." My local library's waiting list for The DaVinci Code was still several miles long, but a kindly BookCrosser sent me a copy of Deception Point, one of Brown's non-Langdon thrillers.
Here's my lovely review from the time (look for journal entry by 'k00kaburra') complete with a quote from early in Deception Point that has gone on to be my stock "bad writing" example:
"He was muscular and lithe with eyes as desolate as the topography on which he was stationed."
To this day I cannot read that without busting up. The topography? THE TOPOGRAPHY???
Anyway. It turns out Brown has a very definite formula to his stories, and I was able to reconstruct the entire plot of DaVinci, aided only by the back cover's description and the movie trailers, so I never did read The DaVinci Code. When no new novels bearing Brown's name appeared on the shelves for the past five years, I grew hopeful that he'd retired from writing and was off drinking margaritas on a beach with a hot trophy wife.
Alas, it was not to be.
It was announced today that Dan Brown's newest novel, The Lost Symbol, will hit bookstore shelves on September 15th, 2009. Fans of Robert Langdom's adventures, rejoice!
(In case you are wondering what brought this little rant on, in addition to today's announcement my art teacher had to stop herself mid-lecture to clarify that nowhere in the Bible does it say that Mary Magdalene is Jesus' wife and The DaVinci Code is a work of fiction. When a hack writer's stupid book interferes with my scholastic achievement, I get bitter.)