By Thom Geier
Updated July 24, 2009 at 06:25 PM EDT

You think that American publishers are craven? Consider this thriller that recently hit the shelves of the U.K. bookstore chain WHSmith. Despite the prominent use of Dan Brown’s name on the cover, this is not an early copy of the follow-up to The Da Vinci Code. No, it’s a thriller called Deadline by a completely unrelated author named Simon Kernick, but pitched confusingly to readers who “like your thrillers as fast, furious and unputdownable as Dan Brown.” The promotional cover has got a lot of U.K. book-lovers steamed. Caveat lector. It’s worth noting that this edition of Deadline, which was first published last year in paperback, is apparently a free giveaway at WHSmith if you pre-order Brown’s actual new novel, The Lost Symbol, from the store. Savvy marketing or blatant ripoff? You decide.