Truth or Die, James Patterson, author, Howard Roughan, author; Edoardo Ballerini, narrators
The book opens with the cold-blooded murder of a Neurologist, Dr. Hellerman. He was secretly aiding the CIA and he was in possession of a terrible secret concerning Owen Lewis, a brilliant, 19-year old researcher. Owen worked for him. Owen wanted to make the secret public because he had done the research on a serum that was being used as a weapon of torture, not a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, as he had been told.
Trevor Mann was a disbarred lawyer, a lawyer who served the cause of justice, but not his client, which is illegal; for that he was punished. He was known for his integrity. His sweetheart, Claire Parker, was a journalist. Lewis had reached out to Claire to tell her his story. Now she was also dead, shot in a supposed robbery gone wrong, murdered in the taxi taking her to see him.
Trevor Mann was grief stricken. Viewing the video of her murder he noticed a clue. She was hiding her phone behind her. He thought that it must contain valuable information about where she was headed. He couldn’t get her cell phone from the police, but in his apartment, he traces over the page underneath the one she had written on before she left; it had the imprint of the address she was headed for, and he discovered it was a hotel. There was also a room number! Rather foolishly, he goes there without notifying the police. When he gets there, he finds a dead body in the shower. It does not appear to be the occupant of the room, but instead, it is the man who was in the video, the man who murdered Claire. Soon, his own life was in danger, too, but the young man Claire was to meet, somehow finds him and saves his life. He is a computer genius, a techie who knows all kinds of tricks that ordinary people do not. They team up to find out who is sending out the killers because soon there are dead bodies almost everywhere they go. Why do they want Owen and Trevor dead and why did they kill Claire? Why is his public announcement so feared and so important?
The government had a secret location where suspected terrorists were injected with a serum that forced them to tell the truth or subjected them to interminable pain and eventually death, unless they broke. That was the theory, but in practice the results were different. Often, innocent subjects died as well, suffering terribly. The serum was flawed. The men heading up the program were mercenary and viewed the victims as collateral damage, but when the 19-year old whiz kid, Owen Lewis found out, he wanted to go public to stop it. This wasn’t a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but a device to torture possible terrorists. He believed that the people should decide whether or not they wanted such a weapon to be used, not a group of government espionage agents working for a clandestine group within the CIA, the special activities division, which was a secret organization headed up by some very important people, high up inside the government. From moment to moment they were in danger and escaped by the skin of their teeth several times. People were simply taken out and murdered, considered collateral damage, just to protect the secret from becoming public. These powerful men did not want to lose their powerful positions. Who were the hard-nosed, sadistic people behind this conspiracy-to-murder that were so powerful they had no fear of being caught or of retribution? Who was so capable of covering up their brutality and their tracks? They searched for the scientist who developed the serum using Owen’s research. They knew the serum was behind the attempts to kill them and the others, and they had to trace its origin in order to find out who was funding it.
Often the dialogue was silly, but it was also humorous with pitch perfect quips for each occasion. It will not be the silly sex talk or sex scene that will interest the reader, but rather it will be the story that arouses genuine excitement and suspense. It is not rocket science, but it is a fast paced mystery. The book is well read by the narrator with a light tone when humorous and a more serous tone at appropriate times. It was well written by the authors so it was easy to understand as the plot revealed itself and the mystery was solved. It is a non-stop thriller.