Truth or Die (2015) is a standalone novel by James Patterson & Howard Roughan.
The book follows the story of Trevor Mann who is a lawyer from New York. He is very much in love with his girlfriend Claire Parker who is a New York Times journalist and in the early pages we get a glimpse of what their life is like together. But soon their little world is shattered when Claire is killed in what is at first thought to be a mugging. But convinced otherwise the grief-stricken Trevor begins to investigate the case and goes on a mission for justice, truth and closure.
As Trevor investigates his girlfriend’s mysterious death, he finds out that Claire had found out things in the course of her work that someone or some people want to keep secret. Along the way he meets many characters and a list of suspects also rises which makes for many interesting twists and turns. My favourite character was Owen, a 19-year-old whizz kid who is really nerdy, bright and scientific and who has some of the best one-liners in the book. He is so intelligent and sharp-witted and a really interesting character. It was nice to see a teenager in a book with brains, ambition and purpose because many teenagers do have those qualities and dreams and the tired old stereotype in books that all teenagers are zombie-like and know nothing about nothing is often very off the mark. Undoubtedly teenagers like that exist (newsflash: there’s people older than teenagers like that too!) but there’s also teenagers like Owen so it was a nice change. (Oh and just to be fair, there’s those older than teenagers who are like Owen too!) I also really liked Beverley. She is a great example of a strong, smart woman in fiction. She has no fear of taking on misogyny when it comes her way and there is a particularly good scene during a round of clay pigeon shooting which made me smile.
I very much enjoyed this book. There was plenty of action and there was a really good plot that kept my attention throughout. There was also a lot of deep issues dealt with like grief and the need to find truth and justice in order to start healing towards closure. It asks the question whether anything will give someone closure after such a heartbreaking part of their life. The characters are a great mix and interact very well and very naturally with each other. There is a lot of layers to this book and so many different worlds combine which makes it a very interesting read.
There is often criticism of James’ books with co-authors and I don’t really get that myself. Undoubtedly James’ books on his own are amazing but his books with co-authors are amazing too. His books with co-authors help give a fresh and new feel to the stories as different writers working on a plot always do. And on a personal note, as a writer too, I think it’s nice to see authors get a break writing a book with such a legend of the thriller genre. (I’d love to get the chance to but that’s a whole other story!) And I think the co-authors do a very good job. It’s a great idea because it helps James’ readers to find these wonderful authors and in turn check out their work on their own. So I love the idea.
A great read. A real page-turner.
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