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Book Review of Dan Brown’s “Inferno”

Okay, so I was working this week and this thought just sprang into my head: you know what Bard and Book really needs?  It needs some book reviews.  I mean, we're all about bringing Authors and Readers together, and what do readers like more than to read...book reviews.

Well, here is my first review.  I hope you like it. I promise to follow up real soon with a book I'm reading called "Pillars of the Earth" by Ken Follet.  I've got about 40 pages to go.  If any of the other authors would like to join me, you're more than welcome.


Derek’s Incompetent Book Reviews


A review of Dan Brown’s “Inferno”

Okay, I’ve got start off by admitting that I have never read Dan Brown’s book “Inferno", but I did watch half of “The DaVinci Code”, I have once thought about buying a copy of Dante’s Inferno, I’ve read “Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?” numerous times and had wanted to see the movie “Towering Inferno” on several occasions.  I feel like I’m at least a little, maybe over, qualified to review this novel.

In “Inferno”, the long-haired and slightly winded Tom Hanks has returned for another mystery involving albino demons, secret firefighter societies and numerous riddles that would leave any Mensa member crumpled to the floor, heaving for his or her next cranial breath.  There are more brainteasers, dilemmas, quizzers and flat out conundrums here than in any other Dan Brown book.  And that’s saying something.

If I have one gripe about this book, however, it’s that O.J. Simpson’s character is not utilized more effectively. Sure, he’s the demon guard of the fifth level of hell, or, as it’s described in the book – The Mime Level, but what’s with him in a pirate shirt, a big foam cowboy hat and constantly muttering, “Who stole my lima beans?”  And what’s the point of having him wear a pair of Versace leather gloves two sizes too small while the monk chorus behind him chants, “If the gloves don’t fit, you must acquit” over and over, ad nauseum?  It’s like he’s stuck in a bad Greek tragedy.  Or maybe that’s the point.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I enjoyed the chapter where Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt leap through a broken window to rescue this tortured soul doing time for lustful and some would say unorthodox and time-consuming thoughts.  When Morgan began arguing with the devil (Al Pacino) about how they couldn’t get all the party guests off the 87th Floor before they were consumed by the raging conflagration, and not to mention bad canapés, it was drama second to none. Or at least second to some.

Now, during the third act, when Daniel Webster and Faye Dunaway are stuck in that elevator held only by a single cable as it dangles dangerously over the lake of fire, and Tom Hanks, in a dress and badly burnt wig (don’t ask – ask Peter Scolari), drops in through the trap door and starts rambling about how we never leave a soldier behind and how he once met John F. Kennedy, who never met a box of chocolates he didn’t like and blah, blah, blah…I’ve got to confess that I purposely flipped forward about five chapters just to escape the insanity.  I think I may have skipped forward one too many chapters, however, as I never did determine how William Holden escaped those ravenous baboons or how the Roman poet Virgil ended up being crowned Head Pastry Chef of the Third Circle.  I’m sure it all tied together nicely somewhere in there.

Now, I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I felt that Tom and Satan (Al Pacino again – could anyone else really play the devil?) pairing up to build a thousand coffee shop franchise that spanned the globe was completely illogical, bordering on heretical and also a tad cliché.  Would the Lord of the Underworld really stoop so low as to accept a former cross dresser and astronaut as a business partner and, if so, whose name would go first on the marquee?

Yes, “Inferno” was a decent read, but it left way too many questions unanswered.  Next time, Mr. Brown, concentrate a little more on the character development (Mr. Pacino…again), and spend a little less time on the puzzles, Sudoku’s my favorite, and overt action pieces.

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