Thursday, November 1, 2012

Book review: Deception Point by Dan Brown

Oh God, another Dan Brown novel is inflicted on the World.  Will this mans evil never stop?  Deception Point tells the story of a meteorite containing fossilized remains of an alien animal that is found in a glacier.  Except, it's all a fraud and there's someone behind this deception ... point.

This is the audio book cover. Sorry about that.

First of all, I can quite comfortably tell you that the meteorite is not really a meteorite and that the 'alien' fossil is not really an alien without spoiling anything as it's ON THE BACK COVER OF THE BOOK.  Yes, that's right, the main premise behind this 'book' by 'author' Dan Brown is revealed before you've even read the first page.  That doesn't stop him going half way through the story before revealing this 'secret' - 250 pages of a 500-page novel.  I really don't get this decision by the publisher to reveal most of the story in a paragraph summary, especially when half of the book is concerned with discovering the damn thing in the first place.

For what it's worth, I quite enjoyed the bit up to when the 'fraud' was discovered, even though I knew it was all phoney (because I'd read the back cover) and in the back of my mind I was constantly thinking, I wish he'd get to the point.  Oh, I see what he did there - the deception point!  Ha ha ha.  Anyway, Brown's faux-scientific 'evidence' and 'facts' were quite interesting and thought-provoking without asking anything too demanding.  After that however, it resorts to ridiculous hocus pocusery  as a crack elite team of special force army types are assigned to kill just about everyone in sight who had realized the meteorite wasn't strictly a meteorite.  I mean, come on, black helicopter rocket attacks a mile away from the White House?  Really?

Maybe they just think it's a cool colour scheme?

It's a shame as the premise is really quite good.  A meteorite discovery with evidence of interstellar life is a great idea for a book.  The implications for mankind are massive and all sorts of metaphysical, spiritual and existentialist questions could have been asked.  In stark polar opposite to the direction taken by the great Carl Sagan in his novel 'Contact', Brown eschews all that nonsense in favour of a dire, chase-em-up and political shenanigan thriller.  The end was never in any doubt (I can't point this out enough - it was on the freaking back cover) and so everything leading up to that point was just futile filler.  He could have easily written this book in two or three sentences.

And another thing, why does Dan Brown insist on putting that little paragraph at the beginning of his books that states, 'all the technology exists and everything I describe herein is entirely real'?  There really is no need.  His Da Vinci novels suffered because of that little bit of bollocks (not JUST that, let's make it clear) as the source material for his 'facts' was actually based on a frigging hoax in the first place.  If he'd made this stuff up, everyone would say, 'Ooh, I like Dan Brown, his imagination is great'.  As it is, everyone *actually* says, 'I hate Dan Brown, he presents all this bollocks as real when acutally it's just a load of badger crap'.  There are frickin' ice guns in this novel.  ICE GUNS.  Guns that fire ice and use snow as ammunition, you know, ICE GUNS.  Knob off Dan Brown you moron.  It goes downhill from there.

Wonder if this is what he meant?

Maybe ice guns do exist, I don't know.  But, if they do, and this elite special squad has them, there is a massive trail of accountability leading all the way back to the perpetrator of these serial killings and as such, they couldn't get away with what they did.  I don't care who it is, they would have got caught, simple as.  The point I'm making is that the crimes are so outlandish and therefore too unbelievable in the face of his self-proclaimed 'everything is true' mantra.  Michael Crichton for example takes current technology then extends it just a little bit, asking the reader to make a small leap of faith into his imagination.  So, while we are never left in any doubt as to its authenticity, his books are no less enjoyable.  It's fiction, after all.  Dan Brown doesn't do that.  He says 'ALL of this is true, accurate and has an absolute base-line in fact' then crafts a stupid-ass story around it in those small, cliff-hanging episodelets of his.  It's horseshit.

To sum up, half of the book you already knew the outcome to as it is described in the synopsis.  The second half of the book is a lame-ass thriller with people running away from / being boffed by elite Government killer troops and the whole alien / meteorite thing, the actual interesting meat of the story, is largely ignored in favour of black helicopters, killer sharks, coincidental submarines and bonking politicians.  Yawn.

Rating: 1 out of 5 for the first half (I'd have given it a 3 if the end result hadn't been given out beforehand) and -17 out of 5 for the god-awful second half, giving it a (not so) respectable -16 out of 10.  Please stop writing books Mr Brown, you're putting the evolution of the human brain into minus figures.  Before long, we'll all be dribbling amoebic cells (well, more so than we already are).