Okay, so we’ll start with the turnoff – the suspense. It’s so thick, you can cut it with a knife. Actually, you could shovel it with a snow shovel. Intelligence officer Rachel Sexton (how subliminal!) is told that there is something wonderfully amazing just beyond the next chapter. What this wonderfully amazing thing is, we don’t know. She is led by the nose, first by her boss, then the President of the United States, then by an F-14 pilot, all the way up to the Arctic Circle. All for this wonderfully amazing thing. What is it? You’ll have to go 135 pages before you finally get the point.
The book flustered me by surprising me at one page, then annoying me the next. The twists are pretty clever – one or two turnabouts really gave me a smile. But then again, there is that overcompensation of evil, the idea that no crime is too great to keep a secret safe. Not spying, not killing, not blowing up high-ranking government officials with hellfire rockets in the middle of DC, not even strafing a TV-famous oceanographer’s ship with machinegun fire (hey, dummy, fiberglass floats, so you’ll have a mile-wide debris field of evidence bobbing along). This book was lighting up all parts of my brain, everything from delight to disbelief, often in the same chapter.
I’ll give Dan Brown this – while the action was movie-like in places, the villains were interesting. I couldn’t quite figure what group was really behind the crimes. And even when I did, I wasn’t sure if I agreed or not. To me, that was the saving grace of the book, the fact that it wasn’t black-and-white, but all those interesting shades of grey. Even when it was over, I wasn’t sure of the bad guys deserved quite what they got.
After some of the heavy classics and windy Thrones books I’ve been reading, it was nice to go with some light fiction. It would have gone great with a bucket of popcorn!