I haven't read Dan Brown's new novel The Lost Symbol and don't intend to. But like millions of other readers I did devour The DaVinci Code in a few sittings — although, having read the insipid Holy Blood, Holy Grail beforehand, I recognized the dark secret Robert Langdon would eventually unfold. I've always enjoyed cryptogram-laden mysteries ever since I first read Edgar Allen Poe's "The Gold Bug" in my junior high school library—but I've enjoyed them more as word games than as works of literature.
As a novelist I appreciate Brown's facility for headlong plotting, and the obvious, infectious joy he takes in telling his tales, but that's as far as it goes. I'd contrast him with someone like Arturo Perez Reverte who's just as talented a puzzlemaster but seems to have actually contemplated the human condition between chess matches and sips of sherry. That said, I don't begrudge Mr. Brown his continuing success. What's good for booksellers is good for us all.
This feature from Slate is pretty damn hilarious, though.