Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dan Brown Phones It In

So I'm reading The Lost Symbol and by Sunday night had gotten all the way to Chapter 3. (Italics always slow me down!) In that chapter, Robert Langdon receives communications from mentor/father figure/plot device Peter Solomon. What struck me is that Peter Solomon's complete phone number appears in the book, not once but twice. And on facing pages. It's not one of those phony '555' numbers they always use in books and movies either. It's 202-329-5746.

Clearly I was being encouraged to call and say hello to Peter Solomon. When I dialed the number Sunday night, I got a recorded greeting--a man's voice saying, "This is Peter Solomon, leave a message," along with a warning that the mailbox was full.

Wow! I thought (in italics). An interactive Dan Brown novel! Hours of fun!

Here's the weird thing. Just now, as I was preparing to post this, I called the number again. The message had changed slightly. Now it says, "Your call has been forwarded to an automated voice messaging system." A man's voice says, "Peter Solomon," then the message picks up with "...is not available. The mailbox is full and can not accept any messages at this time." Peter must be having trouble retrieving his messages since his right hand was chopped off and displayed in the Capitol Building. [Note to self: Be sure to insert a spoiler alert before that last sentence.]

I'm trying to see what's going on here. There's no overt marketing angle that I can see, unless Dan Brown and his publisher are in league with my wireless carrier. I'd like to think it's just that someone has a sense of humor, but I'm too cynical and have been around too many marketing campaigns to believe that. And why did the message change? If anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear them.

1 comment:

  1. I waited until I had completely finished reading the book to investigate the phone number. Well, I just j kids called it and all I got was a quick pulse busy signal. It is 20176 and the book was published years ago so I'm not surprised. I wonder if anyone had been able to leave a message, way back when, and if so, did 'Peter'return any calls? Ha