I've mentioned in passing one or two times that I'm editing a reference book on thriller writers for a Finnish non-fiction publisher. I've been reading Sidney Sheldon lately and let me tell you, it's no pleasure. I had to take a break and start Brian Garfield's The Paladin - it's the last one I haven't read yet. Garfield is God compared to some other writers I've been tackling with, even though The Paladin is not Garfield at his best.
I've been writing also the history of the thriller genre to act as a foreword to the whole book, and it is more difficult than it seems at first, since the boundaries of the genre are so flexible. I think I'm now finished with the article (I'd post it here, but it's understandably in Finnish only; well, that hasn't stopped me before) and just now I got to thinking: what kind of reviews did Dan Brown's early novels receive before he wrote The Da Vinci Code (which, in case you don't remember or even know, I thought was the worst book ever given its popularity and media attention)? It would be interesting to read them, since the reviews now are quite predictable. (I'm pretty ashamed of Nelson De Mille giving a blurb to Brown saying something like "Brown is pure genius". If this guy is pure genius, then I'm Jesus Christ.)
By the way, someone here claims that Garfield's novel The Paladin is stated being based "on fact". I'm pretty certain that Garfield himself says on his short preface that the novel is based only on what "Christopher Creighton" has told to be true. Garfield says that he can't know the truth himself. I'd believe Garfield only wanted to write a thrilling story.