In the last six years, I called you a lot of naughty things. A bastard and a hack; some kind of pestilence and another sort of joke. I said you were the worst writer I’d read, oh, the worst by far. Happily, I threatened to set your point-of-sale stands on fire. And I told my friends and my family they were chumps for bothering with your latest. And when I moved into my flat, I put a copy of Angels and Demons on my bookshelves, for a laugh, so I could point and go, if that bastard’s there, then so can I be. Sometime.
Dan Brown, I didn’t like your smug face. The face on you – your multi-million selling, best-award-winning, multi-print-running, round face, with your cute little chin dimple. Or your suit.
Danny-boy, I saw you on the news that time, and I said, I bet you plagiarised from that Jesus textbook, you bloody get. I bet you did. And I sneered at your name, and I added an ‘F’ to the middle of it, which stood for a coarse version of ‘flipping’. And me and my friends, when we talked of your exceptionally well orchestrated marketing campaigns, we all walked round going, DAN FLIPPING BROWN, but ruder. Because, Dan Brown, you were everywhere. Your crown was a frigging massive royalty check.
But Dan Brown, look. I’m just so sorry. I think it’s that I misunderstood you. See, it started with Stephen King. I thought he was a right dick as well. And then I read one of his stories – I forget which – and it was so perfectly taut it had sheen. And I thought, I’ve got it all wrong. I’ve got it all wrong.
Don’t get me too wrong, though. I like all sorts. Takes all sorts, doesn’t it? But Dan Brown, I am sorry. I’m sorry because you write what you write because you know exactly how to write.
I’m sorry because you made my brother, who I’m pretty sure has never read a book in his life, read four of your books in as many weeks.
Also, Dan Brown, I’m sorry because despite jealously hating you, I couldn’t stop reading your multi-chart-riding Angels and Demons. Because even though it’s cheesy, and you do that convenient thing where your main characters suddenly recall facts from nineteen years ago, like the time they were on the toilet and they read about some arcane superstition that’s relevant to the plot hole you’re closing, even though of all of these things, and especially your deranged similes, you know how to shift us across your pages.
I’m sorry because you know exactly what you’re doing. You don’t seriously think that people stare into their own dark souls – or whatever your baddies do – but you know that the image, however clichéd, conveys the message. Because you use clichés to speed your writing – and why not?
Because I realise now that the best writers are the writers understood by everybody. And you’re pretty ace at cliffhangers.
And you have 12 novels in you. That’s what Wikipedia says. 12. That is so many novels, with so many ideas, and so many plot holes to close so inventively with your main character’s ruthless memory.