Friday, July 19, 2013

Drinks with Reads: Dan Brown and the Aperol Spritz

Today's guest post is from Ingrid Willis. In her spare time Ingrid is planning the world's largest mystery convention in 2014...Bouchercon.  Guests of Honor for Bouchercon 2014 include Jeffrey Deaver and J.A. Jance. The convention will take place in Long Beach, CA and there are many surprises in store. 

I think a good summer book should be easy to read, be slightly adventurous, escapist, and if it takes place in an exotic location or somewhere I’ve never been, even better.  Like many people in Southern California, I work in the entertainment business.  For me, this means I move between different facilities daily, which requires I spend quite a lot of time in my car.  To make the most of it, I listen to audio books.  So, my summer read is actually a novel on CD – unabridged – naturally.

Before I tell you about my choice I need to first confess.  One of my guilty pleasers – which if asked I will totally deny – is listening to Dan Brown books.  Now, to be honest, I have a hard time actually reading his novels, but listening to them, well, that’s another story entirely…

Inferno, the audio book

Inferno is the fourth book in Dan Brown’s series featuring Harvard professor of symbology, Robert Langdon.  As usual, Langdon finds himself in the most inconceivable situation with a smart, beautiful, and very clever woman.  Together they race to find – this time – a weapon of mass destruction created by a mad scientist within a 24-hour time limit, of course.

The big twist in this DB installment? Langdon has amnesia.

The novel opens with Langdon awakening in a hospital bed in what he soon discovers is not New England but Florence, Italy.  The last thing he can recall is walking across the Harvard campus on the way to deliver a lecture.  Leaving the hospital hotly pursued by an assassin hired by a mysterious international organization, he tries to figure out what’s happened to him, and believe me, it’s quite a bit.

We begin to understand what’s going on through each character’s flashbacks, but like Langdon, we never have quite enough information to totally piece everything together.  Langdon once again needs to use his vast knowledge to decipher symbols and interpret clues from object of art, as well as from the literature of Dante’s famous poem, leading him, with his gorgeous side-kick in tow, to travel through hidden passageways and secret spaces of museums, cathedrals, and monuments in Florence, Venice, and Istanbul.

What is the perfect drink to go along with an action-packed Italian adventure?  An Aperol Spritz, of course, a very popular drink in Italy. Aperol is an orange-flavored liqueur and mixed with Prosecco and soda, it makes for a light and refreshing drink, perfect for a summer evening or late afternoon.

3 parts Prosecco (I used California sparkling wine)
3 parts Aperol
1 splash of soda or seltzer (for a sweeter drink you can substitute seltzer with lemon-lime soda)
Serve over ice with a slice of orange.

Picturesque locations, exotic situations, multiple chase scene (including one on motorcycle), narrow escapes through secret passageways, and a double twist-ending you’ll never see coming.  Inferno is definitely the satisfying escapist read that summers were made for.  But don’t tell anyone I said so.

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