I read Dan Brown's bestseller "The Da Vinci Code" on Christmas holiday. It was a huge disappointment, even though some friends of mine had warned me that it's not a very good novel.
It sure isn't. First of all, it's badly written: there are sentences like "He shot the cops and the blood splattered all over" (this was translated back from Finnish). The characters are worse than cardboard. Someone said to me that this is modern pulp fiction, but hell no! Real pulp fiction is tight storytelling and not some whining guy delivering us lengthy monologues stripped straight from pseudoscientific non-fiction books as dialogue. And the romance in the book! Jeez! I could write better romance even when I was six years old.
The plot moves along pretty nicely, but there are moments when you have to think that the main people in the book are just dupes. Everyone can see that it's da Vinci's notes written backwards (I can even read the words), but not the best cryptologist in France, not the leading occult semiology in the Western world and not the best Grail expert in the world. They spend 20 pages wondering what this is! C'mon, everyone can do better than that!
I managed to get through the book, but I said today to Elina that this must be the worst book ever given its success and how much it has been talked about. (I was writing an article about it for Turun Ylioppilaslehti and tried to come up with the catchy ingress.)
(I was paraphrasing my father, former movie critic, who once said that "Titanic" is the worst movie in the world given the money spent on it.)
Read some real pulp fiction instead! I was reading some Finnish Formula paperbacks from the mid-eighties and they were much better than Brown's boring totem. They were crisp and fast and while the characters were cliched, they were full-blooded (while Brown's characters are not). The books are about Kosti Cavander, the famous Finn formula driver, and the books were written and published in the wake of Keke Rosberg's success in the early eighties. The books didn't sell very well, though, and the line was cancelled after two years in publication.