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Truth or Die


Truth or Die

James Patterson has had a number of successful collaborations with Howard Roughan, a versatile and critically acclaimed author in his own right. Roughan brings a considerable cinematic vision to the table that, when combined with Patterson’s penchant for creating remarkable, often frightening characters, makes for a guaranteed enjoyable and exciting reading experience, containing startling and unexpected plot twists and turns. Their entry into the 2015 summer vacation reading extravaganza is a stand-alone novel titled TRUTH OR DIE, and it transports the reader’s focus away from the here and now into a world of dangerous and deadly intrigue.

"There is never a dull moment in TRUTH OR DIE. Patterson and Roughan are at the top of their respective games once again, with one being able to see a movie unfold as the pages go by with rapidity."

Trevor Mann is a former (as in disbarred) attorney who lost his license to practice for betraying the confidence of a client as the result of an act of conscience. Now reduced to the still-noble but less glamorous occupation of law school professorship (in Ethics, no less), he is dating a winsome reporter named Claire Parker, an investigative journalist who goes all out to get a story. Trevor finds himself in very unfamiliar territory when a story that Claire is investigating suddenly brings personal tragedy into his life. He is determined to find out the reason behind the disaster, and in doing so initially picks up where Claire left off while having no real idea of what she has been working on.

Trevor learns soon enough when he encounters a 17-year-old boy named Owen Lewis, who is on the run and in fear for his life. Owen thought that he was creating a cure for Alzheimer’s disease but instead found that his discovery was being used as a truth serum. The serum is highly effective when it works properly, but it has a very high failure rate, with “failure” defined as the death of the subject. It’s being used in some rendition camps with the consent of certain individuals at the highest levels of government, failure rate be damned, and they will stop at nothing --- including murder --- to ensure that what is occurring is not released to the general public. This puts Trevor and Owen on the run together.

Owen, as is manifestly obvious from his initial introduction, is generally the smartest person in the room at any given time, and his ability to combine science and quick thinking makes some vignettes in the book almost magical (at least at first) until the explanation is provided for what has occurred. The antagonists of the piece, of course, are powerful, dangerous and seemingly everywhere. As the novel roars to a climax, the question becomes whether or not Trevor and Owen will be able to discover and reveal the whole truth before they are permanently taken off the board. The outcome is a near thing, to be sure.

There is never a dull moment in TRUTH OR DIE. Patterson and Roughan are at the top of their respective games once again, with one being able to see a movie unfold as the pages go by with rapidity. It is certain to be one of the don’t-miss books of the summer and is a sure bet to hit the big screen at some point in the future.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on June 26, 2015

Truth or Die
by James Patterson and Howard Roughan

  • Publication Date: January 5, 2016
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1455584967
  • ISBN-13: 9781455584963