Dear Dan Brown

I’m sorry.

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.

Bye now.



10 thoughts on “Dear Dan Brown

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Dear Dan Brown | Matthew Hill's website --

  2. Ditto. I devoured his books. The DaVinci symbol satiated my thirst for some history and mystery, while Angels and Demons let me down at the end. Still he’s a racer of a writer. Maybe we don’t have to be flipping perfect to get there.

  3. Must admit, Mr Brown’s stories have been among my guilty pleasures for a while now.

    I used to spend my time reading them, while shaking my head about the blatantly unrealistic telegraphing of plot details (a bit like on the TV where someone speaks on the phone and does both sides of the conversation, repeating everything the other party says)

    Now though, I read them as though they’re film scripts, because let’s face it: that’s the way he writes them. I suppose you always know what you expect: a decent yarn that doesn’t require a lot of thinking about, but gives the impression that it does.

    Nice to see someone giving him a break, instead of everyone just slagging off his skills and his style, (though I suppose the millions in royalties tend to soften the pain for him anyway.)

    A good post Mathew. Maybe now you could do one justifying how JK Rowling gets away with making her stories up as she goes along!

  4. A midlist author once said her favorite writer was Stephen King. When asked why she said because King sells millions of books, my publisher was able to take on my book. Same could be said of Dan Brown.

  5. –Carrie

    We don’t. But maybe a nice tan jacket will help.

    How-do, Dave Barlett. Head-shaking is all part of the fun. I watched The Human Centipede the other night and it was the same deal. The cognitive dissonance involved with enjoying the turgid is what makes it extra special.

    I doubt he expected the millions. I also doubt he even cares — the rare kind of writer who can take so much shit but not want to off themselves. Perhaps the two are linked…

    I may well write that Dear JK post. In fact I probably will. Thanks for popping along!


    Yep, definitely. Makes you realise that moaning about lowest-common denominators doesn’t actually get you anywhere.


    But… but… but… but —

  6. Stewart Lee’s favourite Dan Brown morsel:

    ‘The famous man looked at the red cup.’

    You’ve a long way to go before you can match that kind of prose Mr Hill!

  7. Been cast into the murky WordPress depths by my employers and you were the first person I remember banging on about its wonders, so I had a quick Google of yer.
    Hope you’re all good matey!

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