The Da Vinci CodeEdit
'''The Da Vinci Code''' gives hope to mediocre writers everywhere. Just take some formula plot ideas and thin characters. Add a religious conspiracy theory, blur fact and fiction - making sure its controversial - and you've got yourself a best seller.
From a marketing point of view this book has everything. From a literature point of view this book has erm... er.. well.
If you're trying to write a commercial thriller then there are one or two lessons this book can teach. The chapters are short, usually no more than four pages, the shortest one being only half a page. The chapters switch the action between the good guys, bad guys and the cops, with almost every one ending on a cliff-hanger. Most chapters begin by reminding you where you were the last time you met these characters before resolving the cliff-hanger and moving you on to another one. This makes for an easy read and a good page turner.
The nature of the means that it's weighed down by large amounts of exposition, though to Dan Brown's credit he does work hard to break it up and mix it with the action. On a couple of occasions the main character is made to flash back to a Harvard lecture room purely to lighten the explanation about some symbol or other. These devices often feel forced and contrived, as does much of the plot. You know what they say about the graceful swan gliding across a lake. Well with this book the reader is under water watching the legs.
Some notes for American authors who don't get out much. *The 'London Police' are know as The Metropolitan Police *MI5 are responsible for national security and are unlikely to be interested in murderers *Lots of English people do drink coffee, many preferring it to tea and we don't usually make coffee in a microwave.