Back in 2001, before the world went nuts for The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown wrote a political, science thriller named Deception Point. I truly haven’t been a huge fan of the Robert Langdon series, although I find the involved pseudo-history interesting. The reason I’m not a fan of the Langdon series translates directly to Deception Point, too.
Deception Point starts with the premise that NASA has discovered a meteorite buried under 300 years’ worth of snow and ice on the Milne Ice Shelf in the Arctic. Not only that, but the meteorite contains evidence of extraterrestrial life. This is, of course, a huge discovery for NASA. There are all kinds of scientific, historical, and political ramifications. The female protagonist, Rachel Sexton, is a government official who happens to be the daughter of a U.S. senator who happens to be embroiled in a tight race for the presidency, and Rachel gets sent to the Arctic to investigate. Action ensues.
The aforementioned issue I have with Brown’s writing is his insistence on clean, stilted dialogue. Robert Langdon, Rachel Sexton, and virtually every other character speak like they’re writing a research paper for a Master’s degree. There is no chummy banter, no natural relaxation at any point. For the entirety of the series of events in each book, every character is at the top of his or her game for fear that someone might notice an absence of a five-syllable word in even one sentence.
The first half of the book did actually have me intrigued. Brown is very good at setting up cliffhangers. The setting, the premise, and the political maneuverings are all very interesting. There’s a little bit of a House of Cards thing going on at times. But the dialogue and the conclusion left something to be desired.
What have you been reading lately?