I absolutely love going down the rabbit hole sometimes.
I’m talking about conspiracy theories.
There are some I think are totally dumb, like that vaccines cause autism or that the United States never landed on the moon, but some are really interesting to think about.
Pretty much all of Dan Brown’s books fall into the totally ridiculous, but that doesn’t make his books dumb. I wouldn’t describe his novels as intellectual, but they are still interesting thought experiments.
My most recent dive into Dan Brown is his 2001 novel Deception Point.
This one is the most terrifying book because it’s a political conspiracy. Deception Point is all about faking a NASA discovery to make them look good and help get the president reelected.
Political conspiracy books are always crazy because there are tons of instances of conspiracies proving to be true. For example, in the 1920s the government was poisoning alcohol to reinforce prohibition, from 1954 to 1961 American citizens were being given the polio vaccine that potentially caused cancer, and MK Ultra was the government testing LSD on unsuspecting citizens.
Basically, both political parties suck sometimes.
Deception Point is interesting though because it’s all about the current president wanting to keep space exploration to the government. His opponent wants to open it for businesses. Both ideas have some merit, but I won’t get into the politics of that here.
The plot is that NASA discovered a meteor that landed in Antarctica and has proof of alien life. It then becomes a race to search if this is a real thing or a conspiracy to keep the president in power. If it’s a conspiracy, how high up does the corruption go?
Brown is a master of thriller pacing in his novels, so it’s hard to find a good stopping point, even between chapters. Deception Point is no exception to Brown’s skills as an author.
My biggest complaint with Deception Point is the same one I get with all of Dan Brown’s books, he gets a bit too descriptive and knowledge dumps on the reader. I understand that people may not know the specifics of the state of the helicopter, but it’s kind of annoying to feel like I’m reading an infomercial.
He also tends to do this with historical and scientific references. I understand that info dumping kind of has to happen sometimes, but other times, it is absolutely insulting and distracting. I just think there are better ways to go about giving this information than just making the reader feel like they’re being talked down to.
At the least, just make the characters and setting give the information instead of having the narrator just be like “the skyhawk is the fastest airplane available to them. It’s not the fastest airplane in the world. That goes to the blacktracker F-99 secret aircraft of the United States Air Force that some people don’t even know exists.”
Maybe I’m being a little pedantic with these complaints, but I find it mildly insulting and just annoying to read sometimes. Regardless, Deception Point is a pretty cool book. It’s got some very interesting concepts. The execution is a little bit lacking, but I’m not the publisher and according to the New York Times, every single Dan Brown book is a bestseller. I guess I don’t really have room to talk.