His royalty cheques are so vast each comes with its own post code and team of town planners. And yet everyone hates him and hates the books and hates themselves for living in a world where Dan Brown is even possible.
Well, everyone I know.
But somebody out there must have read his damn books. The da Vinci one sold upwards of forty million copies, dragging his previous titles along in its wake for a few million more. This latest, Inferno, has an inital print run, hard back I assume, since that's where the big profits are, of four million in the US alone.
Someone is reading these books. They have to be. They just have to. Someone other than snarky reviewers who have been waiting for years to unsheath their cruellest blades. Although, their numbers are legion.
Flavorwire has helpfully corralled the meanest, most vindictive and, naturally, the funniest of the reviews so far. I await the one-star Amazon responses. They are always the best. But until then here's are some highlights from two of my faves. A mock Brownian review in The Guardian:
The tall writer Steven Poole opened the wooden door of the strong house and peered at the small figure on the stone doorstep.
It was a boy. Cradled in his palms the boy nervously proffered a startling object. It was the new book by the famous novelist Dan Brown.
The tall writer took the precious artefact from the nervous boy's hands and thanked him. The miniature human scuttled off. An idling engine revved into life. The writer glanced down the street, then retreated into the residential building. He knew he had better get to work. Looking at his Tag Heuer Swiss watch, he calculated that he had only 48 hours to decode the arcane puzzle of the bestselling author's latest novel.
Peeling away the plump layers of protective wrapping, the writer opened the big book and out fell an obscure document. It was a nondisclosure agreement in threatening legalese. The long-awaited novel was strictly embargoed. Nervously, the freelance writer looked out of the glass window. He saw a bright glint on a distant rooftop. Was that a reflection from the sniper scope of a patient beautiful female assassin dressed in black leather, waiting to shoot him if he let slip any details of the important book too soon?
And this stinging one liner from Jake Kerridge in The Telegraph: "As a stylist Brown gets better and better: where once he was abysmal he is now just very poor."
Well, poor in one sense, maybe. But only one.