It has been a long time since I enjoyed fiction. Nowadays, I spent more time with the computer than with the written words. However, a sale by my local bookstore afforded me the opportunity to pick up a few books around three weeks ago. To date, I have read two of the books (I know, I read too slowly), namely James Patterson’s ‘Jack and Jill’ and Dan Brown’s ‘Inferno’.

This two books are vastly different, but also surprisingly similar in some aspects. ‘Jack and Jill’ is about how a psychologist tried to find a pair of serial killers who believed in the rightness of their actions. In ‘Inferno’, it is no longer criminology, but symbols that is on the table, leading to a genius who wanted to ‘thin the herd’ of humanity to reduce overpopulation. In both books, the main antagonists are people who truly believed their acts are morally correct and are more dangerous for that. The main difference lies in the subject matter itself. While ‘Jack and Jill’ concentrates on the mindsets of the serial killers and how Alex Cross, the protagonist, reacts to their taunts, ‘Inferno’ focused heavily on symbolism and religion combined with a healthy dose of dramatic spy work.

‘Jack and Jill’ is dissimilar with others of the genre. Not only is the narrative from a first person’s viewpoint, it is the viewpoint of the main protagonist, Alex Cross, a psychologist, interspersed with viewpoints from the killers of whom we are given tantalizing glimpse throughout the book before their identities are revealed. The ending is realistic enough in that when the killers are killed in prison, there’s no sudden clue to neatly wrap up the entire story of finally catching the killers and their employer.

For ‘Inferno’, the book is rich with religious and artistic symbols. The way it is laid out allows the reader (me!) to appreciate the genius of giants past and the genius of the characters within. It not only entertains, but also educates readers on part of the history of art itself. I will admit that I do not like ‘The Lost Symbol’, which is a bit too fantastical for my taste. Indeed, it has left the world of science and stepped into religion. I expected something like ‘The Da Vinci Code’ or the ‘Digital Fortress’ but it ended up quite disappointing. ‘Inferno’ has a certain logic to it that I can clearly see the implications if what suggested within the novel is made possible.

Both books are excellent reads. It is quite shocking to realize that I have rather neglected my habit of reading. Hopefully I will regain my habit with the start of these two books.