Truth or Die, by James Patterson and Howard Roughan

Two stars

Patterson is back with one of his co-authors, Howard Roughan this time around, to present a one-off book with much potential. Trevor Mann has suffered through some setbacks in life, but chooses to look ahead to a better future, grounded with his girlfriend Claire Parker. Claire leaves suddenly one evening to meet a source for a story she’s investigating and ends up murdered by a masked assailant. Trevor cannot rest until he finds answers, beginning with whom Claire tried to meet. Trevor follows the few leads Claire left and discovers both the man he thinks murdered her and the source, a young man whose genius is off the charts. Owen Lewis held the key to an explosive secret that could be a deadly weapon in the wrong hands. Trevor and Owen soon realise that they are targets and must stay one step ahead of the killers. As the depth of the weapon’s abilities becomes known, the group seeking to silence this unlikely duo becomes clearer, with a key member at the top who will stop at nothing to guarantee silence. An interesting story that Patterson and Roughan present, with potential and a fair amount of drama, though at times its delivery may leave the reader with a tepid feeling of the final product.

As with many Patterson novels, there is a great idea embedded in the storyline, which, given the proper direction, can germinate into a wonderful novel. However, many of his recent projects, the idea falls short and the reader is forced to suffer through some subpar work. It seems, as I have bemoaned many times before, that the one-off novels tend to fall significantly flat, as the characters are not as well-rooted and the backstories less developed. It could just be me, or even the way the audiobook was presented, but I felt little attachment to both the characters and the story. It did not pull me in and I felt as though I only ever skimmed the surface on what could have been an explosive novel that kept me up well into the night. Alas, it came close to lulling me to sleep at times. That said, Patterson can put out a gem here and there, forcing long-time fans like myself to keep reading and hoping for the best. 

Decent work, Messrs. Patterson and Roughan, though I did not feel the electricity that this novel should have brought. Perhaps it is the victim of too much on the topic that failed to lure me in.

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