Sunday, 5 July 2015

Truth or Die by James Patterson & Howard Roughan - Book Review

5/5 Stars

The truth will set you free,

If it doesn't kill you first...

Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 383
Chapters: 115 (Plus a prologue with three parts.)
Publisher: Century

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Author's Website


It's a sharp contrast. 

What I mean by that, is the comparison of this book's rating, to my recent read: The Thomas Berryman Number. The review for which, you can find here. It brings into focus what I said, that Mr Patterson's first ever published novel showed the potential he's whipped into shape and perfected in today's world. 

Truth or Die is testament to that. Going into the story linked above, I expected what I actually found in this entry of the author's collection: A fast-paced, action-packed journey; one that doesn't require me to think too much, but still has me wide-eyed with anticipation.

That we get, in spades.


Synopsis (Not a copy from the book, but I always keep my interpretations close.)

Trevor Mann is honest; it's this honesty that lost him his job as a lawyer.
Go figure, right?
But his morally good nature is about to be tested.
It's about to be bent to the point of breaking.
Claire, the apple of his eye, the love of his life, is killed.
But what is shown as an ordinary mugging, soon gives way to something bigger.
Something that could change the world.
And not for the better...

Plot - 5/5 Stars

This is more like it, Mr Patterson. Truth or Die does what the majority of the author's works usually do, they grab you by the throat. The story unfolds perfectly, with your attention never wavering. There are twists and action galore; enough to keep you racing along to the end. 

There's also a massive conspiracy, and I love it. James Patterson has become adept at toeing the line between intriguing and frustrating; managing a healthy mix of both, rather than an abundance of either. There's also nice little tweaks to the 'traditional crime thriller' structure that's both pleasant and surprising. For example, a scene in the novel places our character at the scene of a dead body. In a lot of stories, the main character investigates and leaves, quickly dismissing any notion of contacting the police.

Our protagonist, however, does just the opposite. He calls the cops ASAP and waits.

It's small deviations like that that add an unexpected dose of spice.

The plot is fantastical, especially when the title becomes very literal: The main focus of the novel is a serum that causes immense pain, and even death, if you do not tell the truth!

Truth or Die is right.

But the authors manage to keep everything from flying off the handle, so instead of a convoluted mess, we get a decent story that's not to be taken too seriously.

Pace - 5/5 Stars

The pace, thanks to the story, characters and writing, is great. It's smooth and uninterrupted.

For comparison I started The Thomas Berryman Number two days ago before I finished it today; on the other hand, I started Truth or Die only a few hours ago.

It's quick, simple.

Characters - 5/5 Stars

Another hooker for the book. The cast, predominately, are fantastic. All of them, no matter how long they're there for, have such presence and individuality.

There are three main characters, so to speak. 

Our protagonist, Trevor Mann, is easy to fall into. He's funny, smart, and the tragedy that befalls him helps the reader immediately identify and side with him. Our allegiance is only solidified by the heartbreaking twist 1/3 of the way through. He's your average guy, dragged into a world he really didn't think existed. Sounds typical, right? On the flip side, though, Trevor is unwittingly prepared for the dangers he faces, thanks to his upbringing and history. He's not helpless.

Then comes Owen. Boy genius. Technical wizard, among other things. Owen is very distinctive, the man with a mission guided by morals. He's also only nineteen and part of a conspiracy. What I love most, is his pairing with Trevor. Typically, a novel like this would have the one wolf on a solo mission to save the world. But Truth or Die, in large part, focuses on Trevor and Owen as a team, and they work exceptionally well with one another.

Enter Valerie Jensen, our kickass, mysterious NSA agent. She's beautiful, deadly and far more capable than most give her credit for. She adds a little order in comparison to the rest of the cast. She's methodical and able to slip out of tight spots without much thought, and without much bloodshed.

Overall, a truly engaging bunch of out-of-this-world characters.

Writing - 5/5 Stars

Mr Patterson's standard fare: Simple and focused.

Everything serves a purpose, and thanks to the stellar structure, everything is well-spaced too.

Overall - 5/5 Stars

Truth or Die is just what I needed. A fast read that isn't too taxing. 

Something I can always rely on from the exceptional talent that Mr Patterson is.

For more James Patterson reviews: Index

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