My expectations for books by James Patterson and his co-author du jour admittedly have been lowered over the past few years as a result of a few too many ho-hum entries, but overall, I usually end up enjoying them (for the most part, anyway). This one fits that description perfectly; there's nothing to stand up and cheer about, but neither is it anywhere near awful.
Early on, I had my doubts; I just couldn't get into it - mostly, I think, because the characters just weren't all that interesting. The book begins when attorney Trevor Mann's hot-shot journalist girlfriend, Claire Parker, meets a tragic but suspicious demise. She was working on a big story, but as journalists are wont to do, she never shared any details with anyone else including Trevor. Being clueless doesn't deter him from trying to get to the truth, however, and that effort leads him to the discovery of something so powerful that governments and terrorists alike would kill to get it - literally.
Then, he meets up with a teenage genius named Owen, one of Claire's sources who apparently has a working knowledge of what went down and why both he and Trevor now are in the rifle sights of some pretty nasty dudes. The truth, they believe, will set them free and needs to be told, but is there anyone they can trust? Who are the real players, and how far up the political ladder is the one who's really pulling the strings?
In the end, the whole thing smacked more of a romp through the park to me than the serious, danger-filled action adventure it probably is supposed to be. For my part, I'll call it a reasonably entertaining, non-brain taxing read for the beach or to hold in one hand while you're cooling your toes in a backyard swimming pool with an umbrella drink in the other. And that's the truth.
Truth or Die by James Patterson and Howard Roughan (Little, Brown and Co., June 2015); 416 pp.