I had reverse-engineered Dan Brown."
Could you talk a little more in depth about what Dan Brown's pattern/structure is?
All I can offer right now is my raw notes, which are in Spanish. This is a structural analysis of Angels and Demons, The da Vinci Code, and The Lost Symbol: https://imgur.com/bX6ByJA
This is an one-page treatment of the three books, with the "blanks" filled appropriately for each: https://imgur.com/LlDVUKn
I doubt any of this is groundbreaking. Story structure is a widely studied topic (and one that I find fascinating). But it seems like Dan Brown uses a very well defined, customised version of this, that makes for engaging, fast-paced books.
I sort of proved (for myself, at least) that this works, by writing a novel whose structure was originally based on this pattern (although it later diverged a bit), and which causes the expected effect - a couple of readers have read it in a single sitting :)