Top critical review
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Angels and Demons and....oh...what the hell!
on 1 December 2012
In 'Angels and Demons', Dan Brown adopts the formula that would soon deliver commercial success in The Da Vinci Code: write a trashy, third-rate novel that's full of old, tired literary tropes; make it heavy on the research to impress the undiscerning masses who'll lap it up (mistaking you for someone who is discerning and wise); finally, ensure a controversialist angle to ignite idiotic opinion and thus attract attention.
Having now collected ad hoc almost all his works - the result of nomadic trawls through various second-hand bookshops over the years - and having read the stuff, I'll give the author credit where it's due. His talent for cooking-up an insuperable mystery is plain, and his skill in putting together the pieces of the puzzle is unmatched, but his novel-craft is no more than average. This stuff is so banal and undemanding that as I read it my mind was overtaken by a nightmare vision: piles of Dan Brown vintages stacked-up in airports, railway stations, bus terminals and GP waiting rooms across the nation, ready to be picked-up and read by zombified consumers. That would at least afford his hard work some utility. Or, his books could be burnt and used as fuel: we are, after all, facing an energy crisis.
There are a number of ways in which this author's writing could be improved immeasurably, but I don't suppose Brown would listen to even his most earnest critics: as a great comedian once said, "Oh, to hell with it, I'm minted", and that says it all.