LEXICON Is a Thriller for Lovers of Words

Words are powerful. And no one is more aware of this than the mysterious organization of “poets” who study and exploit special command words that allow them to control your mind by breaking down your mental defenses. Finding himself caught up in their conspiracy to control a very powerful word is Wil, a man suffering from peculiar amnesia who is kidnapped by these poets because of his innate ability to avoid persuasion. As we learn more about these poets and their manipulations, we grow ever more suspicious of the characters.

Lexicon_300dpiMax Barry has crafted a thrilling novel that literally hinges on words. It would feel like science fiction if it weren’t so grounded in actual language. But the real mind game for the reader centers on the factual revelations, which are scattered throughout the novel. As Wil’s chapters move forward in time with action-heavy sequences, we glean very little knowledge about the poets. It’s through Emily’s chapters that we learn about the organization, and see how the main players may not actually be acting in everyone’s best interest. It soon becomes difficult to root for any character to come out on top, and that’s when the story starts getting most interesting.

The novel is riddled with plot twists (many of which are obvious) that play on our expectations for these characters. You will be immediately absorbed in the novel after just one or two pages. Barry expertly captures your attention and takes you on a fulfilling ride that requires your full attention. This is one literary thriller that fans of language will adore.





(The following Twit-view contains minimal spoilers.)

  • The opening credit sequence is so superb…it’s like a Bond film (ironic because of Daniel Craig)
  • Robin Wright’s hair is weird when it’s long (and not freakishly platinum blonde)
  • Goran Visnjic’s hair is weird when it’s blond in general (although he looks less stern)
  • SPOTTED: #TheKilling’s Joe Kinnaman as Mikael’s gay coworker?
  • How much IKEA furniture can you spot in the office? In the entire film?!? #drinkinggame
  • Seeing Embeth Davitz’s random appearance as Mikael’s sister reminds me of how amazing this cast is
  • There’s Daniel Craig drinking out of an IKEA wineglass that I have
  • The soundtrack combined with the snow is perfect for this howling, desolate landscape
  • When he is driven to the Vanger mansion I can’t help but pause and rewatch the film’s trailer
  • I desperately want Mikael’s reading glasses
  • Harriet looks like a young Tilda Swinton (does she have a daughter?)
  • (She has twins! But they’re not in this movie)
  • I love when tedious exposition is delivered in a way that doesn’t make me roll my eyes
  • But why can’t Rooney Mara have eyebrows?!
  • (Her eyebrows are dyed a paler blonde than my own near-invisible eyebrows)
  • “The man who hires the detective should always be kept on the suspects list.” –Henrik Vangar
  • Maester Luwin makes a random appearance #GameofThrones
  • The “Pappa” mug on Bjurman’s desk makes him even creepier than he already is
  • Between SOUND OF MUSIC’s Christopher Plummer and MAMMA MIA!’s Stellan Skarsgard I wonder how long until the Vangar family musical
  • Joely Richardson seems out of place in this film (although Geraldine James is a perfect cast as her older sister)
  • The back and forth between Lisbeth and Mikael is tiresome (also: distracting)
  • What do you think Daenerys would make of Lisbeth’s dragon tattoo? #GameofThrones
  • Emily Thorne could use some #Revenge tips from Lisbeth Salander
  • Where can I get Lisbeth’s “FUCK YOU YOU FUCKING FUCK” tee?
  • I bet Alan Dale’s senior superlative was Most Likely to Appear in Everything
  • Daniel Craig’s never-ending supply of shawl-collared sweaters
  • What if instead of opening the door to find a mutilated cat, Mikael found Gwyneth Paltrow’s head? #FincherMashup
  • Oh, Craig is wearing a Henley—what a nice change of pace
  • (that lasted literally 45 seconds)
  • I’m sad they didn’t use Svedka vodka in this scene
  • That brief moment when you see Daniel Craig’s ass crack
  • (Rachel Weisz knows what I’m talking about.)
  • It’s kinda bizarre how much the protagonists smoke cigarettes in this film (Carrie Bradshaw and Nick Naylor would be proud)
  • The score is trying so hard to thread this back-and-forth together—it’s still not fully working
  • “The fear of offending is stronger than the fear of pain.” –Martin Vanger
  • “May I kill him?” –Lisbeth is SO polite
  • Bridges seem to be very important/pivotal in Sweden (see also: #TheBridge)
  • Is Lisbeth standing by the flaming car an allusion to the sequel THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE?
  • PLOT TWIST! They changed the ending, and I like how they toy with the readers’ expectations.
  • Rooney Mara is stunning as a blonde
  • And is Lisbeth’s neck tattoo an allusion to THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNETS’ NEST?
  • Such a bittersweet note to end on after so many triumphant moments

Dan Brown’s “Inferno” Burns with Intrigue and Thrills

Dan Brown has certainly outdone himself this time. After that less-than-stellar Robert Langdon offering, The Lost Symbol, Brown takes his favorite protagonist back to Europe for Inferno. Set mainly in Florence, this new thriller is instantly cinematic and piping with energy. It takes not 10 pages to instantly suck you in.

dbinfernoLangdon awakes in a hospital and is informed by a beautiful woman, Dr. Sienna Brooks, that a bullet grazed his head and he is now suffering from acute amnesia. He is quickly distracted from his surprise upon learning he is in Italy (his last memory from a couple days ago is being at Harvard) by the arrival of spiky-haired assassin Vayentha who shoots up the hospital in pursuit of Robert. Sienna flees with him, leading him to her apartment where they regroup. There he discovers a small cylinder with a biohazard symbol in the lining of his jacket. Opening that cylinder sets him on his newest symbol-driven quest, this time to prevent an ominous Black Plague lurking in the near future.

As can be construed from the title, the framework for the mysteries in this novel are centered around Dante’s Inferno. Once again, Brown seamlessly intertwines mythology and symbolism with classic architecture and settings and modern technology. As the fourth Langdon novel, Inferno may seem poised to be a tiresome retread; but Brown breathes new life into this character, subverting many of his quirks in a fun, winking way. While nothing could ever match the sheer enormity of The Da Vinci Code, Inferno is possibly Brown’s best novel—at least his most captivating. This is one page-turner that you should definitely read this balmy summer, maybe right after you book your flight to Florence.