Confessions of a Dan Brown Fan

June 2013 Prof. Scarlet Leslie

Hidden clues in brilliant artwork. Secret organization. A life or death mission that could change the world. It certainly sounds like a Robert Langdon novel. Toss in the super smart and sexy lead lady with questionable allegiance and it's definitely a Robert Langdon novel.

I bought myself Dan Brown's latest book, Inferno, as a graduation present a few weeks ago. I considered writing a review of it, but I really would not be able to write anything more than what you can already read about the book without giving too much away. Instead, I'll tell you why I keep reading these books.

Honestly, I don't even remember why I first picked up a Dan Brown book. Maybe it was the 51st person who suggested that I should read The Da Vinci Code. Maybe the book was on sale. Maybe it was that one last book I needed to fill my summer reading log. Either way, I opened the front cover of The Da Vinci Code and didn't let go of the book until the back cover was shut. I proceeded to read all the other Dan Brown books that were available - Angels and Demons, Digital Fortress, and Deception Point.

What completely sealed the deal was enrolling in Art History 106. It was the only Art History course that fit in my schedule. I remember seeing the slides of Leonardo da Vinci's paintings and the statues of Gian Lorenzo Bernini and wondering where had I heard of them before. That year happened to be the year the Angels and Demons movie was released, the weekend after finals. I located my copy of Angels and Demons (sitting on my dad's bookshelf) and put my Art History flashcards to good use as I re-read the book for the movie. I am so glad that I picked that particular Art History class, since I didn't have to stop and look up artwork while reading Inferno.

Immediately after I finish reading a book, it gets handed off to my dad. I also got my sister to read Digital Fortress. While I was reading The Lost Symbol, I asked my boyfriend so many questions (he grew up in Washington D.C.) that he gave in and read the book too.

Although there are always similar predictable elements in his novels, exactly how all the little pieces are eventually woven together is very unpredictable. Little clues are thrown in early in the book that I realize after I finish the book. I no longer try to figure out which characters are untrustworthy. Instead, I question how untrustworthy they are. I do appreciate that each book is its own entity. Robert Langdon does show up in four novels, but it is not necessary to read them in any particular order.

The subject matter of his books might be controversial, but Dan Brown is certainly a gifted storyteller.