A mostly tedious third technothriller from the author of Angels and Demons (2000), etc.
Incumbent President Zach Herney is fighting for his life in an upcoming election against the slick and slippery Senator Sedwick Sexton. Herney is a staunch supporter of NASA, while Sexton has been using the expensive, mistake-prone, and nonprofitable agency as a convenient whipping-boy in his stump speeches. Protagonist Rachel Sexton, the senator’s daughter, works for the National Reconnaissance Office, where she digests information into reports used by the White House. The fact that she works so closely with the president has made for no small amount of tension between her and her father, of course. At the outset of the story, Rachel is whisked off to a spot somewhere near the Arctic Circle where NASA is trying to recover a meteor with what looks like fossils of extraterrestrial life on it from underneath two hundred feet of ice. Naturally, things aren’t quite what they seem, what with the small band of Delta Force soldiers secretly watching the NASA encampment. The more that Rachel learns about the meteor, with the help of popular scientist Michael Tolland and a NASA techie by the name of Corky, the less things make sense. The author has an impressive grasp of his material, and even though this is the type of thriller where the gadgetry is often more believable than the wooden characters (the Delta Force soldiers’ guns that create bullets out of snow are especially cool), Brown’s scientific knowledge isn’t what ultimately dooms the book. The story, which has an initial rush to it, bogs down once it starts plodding through all the government shenanigans and secret plots.
Although Brown is a more astute storyteller than most of his brethren in the technothriller vein, and won’t lose any fans this time out, he’s never able to convincingly marry the technical and the human sides of Deception Point.