Did Dan Brown write this? Media marketing hits a new low

"DAN BROWN," reads the cover of a novel on the bookstore shelf. It's in huge, block letter font, "BROWN" taking up about a quarter of the cover. Underneath, smaller, much smaller, it says "SIMON KERNICK." Then, bigger again, "DEADLINE."

After a more careful look, there is little room to doubt that the visual marketing for this book is deceptive. Though it does say, in the much-decried fine print, "If you like your thrillers as fast, furious and unputdownable as Dan Brown, then we thought you'd enjoy . . . " above the actual author's name. But that doesn't help much. Who wrote it? (Everyone I've asked to look at the cover has said, assuredly, "Dan Brown." And no, "unputdownable" is not a word.)

A Marketing Week writer who caught site of the book in a WHSmith bookshop in London picked it up, wondering if Brown (author of The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, the two of his books that have been made into movies) was writing a story about a young female journalist, on a deadline. She could only hope! But "Simon Kernick: Deadline"? Was Simon the journalist? Or . . .