Penzler Pick, December 2001:
In the world of page-turning thrillers, Dan Brown holds a special place in the hearts of many of us. After his first book, Digital Fortress
, almost passed me by, he wrote Angels and Demons
, which was probably one of the half-dozen most exciting thrillers of last year. It is a pleasure to report that his new book lives up to his reputation as a writer whose research and talent make his stories exciting, believable, and just plain unputdownable.
The time is now and President Zachary Herney is facing a very tough reelection. His opponent, Senator Sedgwick Sexton, is a powerful man with powerful friends and a mission: to reduce NASA's spending and move space exploration into the private sector. He has numerous supporters, including many beyond the businesses who will profit from this because of the embarrassment of 1996, when the Clinton administration was informed by NASA that proof existed of life on other planets. That information turned out to be premature, if not incorrect. (This story is true; I repeat, Dan Brown's research is very, very good.) The embattled president is assured that a rare object buried deep in the Arctic ice will prove to have far-reaching implications on America's space program. The find, however, needs to be verified.
Enter Rachel Sexton, a gister for the National Reconnaissance Office. Gisters reduce complex reports into single-page briefs, and in this case the president needs that confirmation before he broadcasts to the nation, probably ensuring his reelection. It's tricky because Rachel is the daughter of his opponent. Rachel is thrilled to be on the team traveling to the Arctic circle. She is a realist about her father's politics and has little respect for his stand on NASA, but Senator Sexton cannot help but have a problem with her involvement.
Adventure, romance, murder, skullduggery, and nail-biting tension ensue. By the end of Deception Point, the reader will be much better informed about how our space program works and how our politicians react to new information. Bring on the next Dan Brown thriller! --Otto Penzler
From Publishers Weekly
Struggling to rebound from a series of embarrassing blunders that have jeopardized its political life at the start of this lively thriller, NASA makes an astounding discovery: there is a meteor embedded deep within the arctic ice. And it isn't just any meteor. Inside the huge rock, which crashed to earth in 1716, are fossils of giant insects proof of extraterrestrial life. Yet, given NASA's slipping reputation, the question arises: Is the meteor real or a fake? That uncertainty dogs NASA and its supporters in Brown's latest page-flipper, a finely polished amalgam of action and intrigue. Trying to determine the truth are intelligence agent Rachel Sexton and popular oceanographer Michael Tolland, both among the first to suspect something is amiss when the meteor is pulled from the ice. Their doubts quickly make them the targets of a mysterious death squad controlled by someone or something that doesn't want the public to hear the meteor may be a fraud. Together, Sexton and Tolland scramble across arctic glaciers, take refuge on ice floes, are rescued by a nuclear submarine, then find themselves trapped aboard a small research vessel off the coast of New Jersey. All the while, the nation's capital is buzzing as to whether NASA has engaged in deception. Or is NASA just a dupe for aerospace companies that have long wanted a bigger share of space contracts? Brown (Angels & Demons) moves into new territory with his latest. It's an excellent thriller a big yet believable story unfolding at breakneck pace, with convincing settings and just the right blend of likable and hateful characters. He's also done his research, folding in sophisticated scientific and military details that make his plot far more fulfilling than the norm.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.