Origin – Dan Brown

Origin by Dan Brown, published by Doubleday 2017 is the fifth and latest book in the Professor Langdon series. And yes, I can’t help but hear Tom Hank’s voice in my ear every time Langdon speaks in this novel… and I hear Penelope Cruz every time Ambra Vidal speaks. In this thrilling adventure Ambra is the director of a museum of modern art Guggenheim Museum in Bilbo Spain, and the future Queen Consort of Spain, being recently engaged to Prince Julian.

the novel deals with issues of science versus religion,  the central and often repeated question in the story.. where did we come from, and where are we going… questions whose answers are central to the three majority religions… and a celebrated atheist scientist is assassinated as he is about to reveal a presentation answering those very questions at a presentation in a Spanish museum of modern art. Now professor Langdon,  who  was a friend and professor of the scientist, and the future queen of Spain who is the museum’s director, really on the run from the assassin nd the place guard. And there is an element of social media that plays a big part in this story and it’s woven in very cleverly. Not to mention Winston,  the scientist’s self created artificial intelligence agent.

The story starts out with the presentation being delivered to a meeting between Edmund and leaders of the three dominant religions, a rabbi, an imam, and a Catholic bishop. Well, after Edmund is killed, the Rabbi, and the Imam are killed as well. Since you can’t have a conspiracy fueled thriller with people being killed, and have the killer be a Muslim. .. that would be Islamophobic; and your protagonist can’t be Jewish as that would be anti-Semitic; so, by due course, the conspiracy has to be seen as being perpetrated by the Catholic bishop. But, since is Dan Brown we’re reading here… all is not as it would seem.

Although the timeframe covered by this novel is tight, only comprising a day or two, that action is layered in such a way that we, the readers are following several different threads. These threads are woven into a tight tapestry. And it covers so many topics that Dan Brown’s protagonist Professor Langdon covering Science, philosophy, theology, art and architecture.

A wonderful installment to the series and well worth the time. I can’t wait to see the movie!

”   Langdon used his heel to scratch some lines on the gravel path between them. “True or false?” he asked.

   Puzzled, Ambra eyed the scratchings – a simple Roman-numeral equation:

          I + XI = X

   One plus eleven is ten? “False,” she said immediately.

   “And can you see any way this could be true?”

   Ambra shook her head “No, your statement is definitely false.”

   Langdon gently reached out and took her hand, guiding her around to where he had been standing. Now, when Ambra glanced down, she saw the markings from Langdon’s vantage point.

   The equation was upside down:

          X = IX + I

   Startled, she glanced up at him.

   “Ten equals nine plus one,” Langdon said with a smile. “Sometimes, all you have to do is shif your perspective to see someone else’s truth.”

Deadly Secrets – Robert Bryndza

Deadly  Secrets  – Robert Bryndza published by Bookouture in 201? I read this on my kindle. This is the sixth in the DCI Erika Foster series. It’s a brilliant British police procedural mystery set in contemporary London.  I’ve really enjoyed following this series. I’ve been taken with how well developed the entire cast of characters and how those characters have deepened and developed over the course of the novels.

This sixth novel starts up right where the fifth novel finished up… almost immediately. It’s the Christmas right after the Marsh twins were rescued by Erika and she’s been invited over for Christmas lunch. Apprehensive about the situation Erika is relieved when she encounters a crime scene on her way there. So, she stopes and takes charge of a situation unfolding where a burlesque dancer has been slashed to death just outside her door apparently as she arrived home where she lived with her mother.

Well, as the investigation unfolds,  a local young peeping Tom flees the scene with his camera as he’s been hiding up a tree. Erika and Mc pursue him as he flees home where he lives with his parents, one of which is a retired barrister.

It seems this young mam has a somewhat unhealth fascination with his exotic neighbor. Ha and his camera are later taken into custody. After some intense questioning about photos found on that camera he commits suicide in his cell.

But he isn’t the only man, or woman that had crossed paths with the statuesque victim. They’re were at least two married men with whom she’s had relations with in her neighborhood. There’s also the dotty old lady that she made money caring for. Seems their is an issue of stolen diamond earing, or is there… and then there is her son who seems to be skulking around.

But all that’s really known from the CCYV footage is that the perpetrator was wearing a long coat and… a gas mask!

I enjoyed this novel so much because it’s a return to the first novel. The previous novels to this one were straight forward police procedural mysteries where the action was the story. In this book, we see Erika returning as the detective. This really is more of a whodunit mystery and there are some clues to follow along. Things are always what they seem and the solution comes down to Erika seeing certain inconsistencies and working past appear to answers to get to the real solution…

Marissa Lewis’s body lying in the snow. A crime scene always tells a story, and the small front garden in Coniston Road told of a violent struggle. The sheer volume of blood, caking Marissa’s body and the surrounding snow. Her shoe, left lying close by; her vanity case, broken on its side, the contents spilling out into the snow. Her keys still dangling in the lock of the front door. If Marissa had reached her door a few seconds earlier, would she have been able to turn the key and get safely inside?
Erika found it a struggle, the balance between feeling sorrow for a murder victim, and shutting it out. To stay sane, it was easier to dehumanise a dead body, and think of the person as an object: a thing, or a piece of evidence. Erika could never do that, though, any more than she could come home from work and live a normal life.