The Placebo Effect by David RotenbergThe Placebo Effect by David Rotenberg

The Placebo Effect

byDavid Rotenberg

Hardcover | February 7, 2012

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The first book in a new series starring an acting teacher with a surprising talent.

Decker Roberts has the dangerous gift of detecting the truth. Only his closest friends know, and he keeps his identity secret from the companies that pay him to tell them if the people they are planning to hire are truthful. But Decker’s carefully compartmentalized life starts to fall apart. His house burns down, his credit cards are cancelled, his bank loan is called, and his studio is condemned. He realized that he must have heard something in one of his “truth telling” sessions that someone didn’t want him to know. Decker has to go on the run and figure out why he’s been targeted. There’s also a government agent hunting him who seems to know absolutely everything about Decker Roberts’ identities—real and false—and other people of “his kind.”

How will Decker find out which truth was endangering his life? Who betrayed him and revealed all his secrets? Decker needs to find answers quickly, before knowing the truth turns from a gift into a deadly curse.
David Rotenberg has published five mysteries set in modern China as well as the Canadian bestselling historical fiction novel, Shanghai. He is the Artistric Director of the internationally renowned Professional Actors Lab. He has directed on Broadway, in South Africa, in major regional theatres in North America, and for television. He ...
Title:The Placebo EffectFormat:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.4 inPublished:February 7, 2012Publisher:TouchstoneLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1439170061

ISBN - 13:9781439170069


Rated 1 out of 5 by from Giborish I have read a number of rotenbergs books and loved every one. But this is a monot0mous collection of garble, page after painful page. I will never blindly jump into another of his books again. What a waste of 17 dollars. I quit.
Date published: 2015-10-07
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Bad I don't know why I finished reading it. I just kept hoping it would get better. It did not.
Date published: 2014-02-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Placebo Effect Keeps you involved all the way through. Great reading.
Date published: 2014-02-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The placebo effect Odd and a bit confusing, but enjoyable.
Date published: 2014-01-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely a must read! The Placebo Effect was an amazing read! Being from the US, it was wonderful to read a book with settings around the Toronto area. To discover and learn about another region. Great writers take us on a journey along with the journey of the characters. David Rotenberg does this masterfully like the Coen Brothers do with their movies and settings. The pace is perfect and thrilling with rich rich characters! This is a great start to a series that I am really looking forward to reading. Keep them coming! Decker Roberts is a wonderful, vibrant character that I can easily see transferred into a hit tv series/ movie. It has so much potential. Looking forward to all of Mr. Rotenberg's works.
Date published: 2013-04-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Does not disappoint! A wonderful departure from previous novel. You can see Mr. Rotenberg hitting his stride. Richness of character and desc. is never lacking. Looking forward to the sequel.
Date published: 2012-03-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A really good read The Placebo Effect is the first in what is to be a trilogy of novels collectively called The Junction Chronicles, set mainly in Toronto and following protagonist Decker Roberts , a middle-aged widower who (like the author) runs a teaching studio for professional actors. A man of many compartments and secrets, he also has a special and mysterious gift – the ability to discern whether others are telling the truth. This he has parlayed into a lucrative sideline, working anonymously – or so he believes –for various corporate execs, aided by an old high–school chum, Lenny, who manages the bookings, works the techno-magic necessary to safeguard Decker’s anonymity, and generally watches his friend’s back. Things start to go south after Decker returns from 3 back-to-back truth-telling sessions in the States – his house is burned down, his credit cards cancelled, his line of credit frozen. Decker realizes he is a hunted man – but who is hunting him? And why? So begins a plot where Decker must feel his way along a dizzying number of strands and tendrils from both present and past, any one of which could hold the key to why his life has suddenly been turned upside down - a murder in Stanstead and a snaky NYC lawyer; US federal agents who may be friend or foe; a sociopathic pharmaceutical company owner; Decker’s estranged son, Seth; and the mysterious world of synaesthetes in which Decker hides but doesn’t truly belong. Rotenberg’s real strength is his director’s eye for the elements of a ‘scene’ – setting, mood, dialogue, mini-narrative arcs within the larger narrative, and both the depth and specificity of the characters. This sometimes results in a disjointedness and the occasional plot device that rings false, as if the author had scenes in mind, and then set out to construct a story around those scenes. However- this is a quibble. This is a highly engaging and entertaining read, fast-paced, packed with interesting characters, and a rollercoaster plot. Unbelievably, the pieces do ultimately come together in an ending that satisfies the reader’s need for resolution while at the same time leaving enough loose ends to keep them curious to know where Decker’s story will go next. Looking forward to the next book in the Junction Chronicles.
Date published: 2012-03-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Characters in a Fast Paced Chase! The Placebo Effect runs its readers through a winding plot that shifts and turns with each page. A series of quirky characters are led by the oddly talented and brilliantly insightful Decker Roberts. An excellently crafted story full of imagery, thick with Canadiana and bursting with excitement for the upcoming series!
Date published: 2012-03-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Terrific thriller! Great book! I'm hooked by Deker Roberts and Placebo Effect's cast of characters. I'm a big fan of suspense / thrillers and of Rotenberg's writing in particuar. I thoroughly enjoyed his Zhong Fong detective series and loved "Shaghai", a wonderful bold and entertaining epic (a great summer read!). Placebo Effect is a stripped down thriller that runs on terrific plot twists and compelling characters with complicated motives and loyalties. Like the best of the Lee Child Jack Reacher novels (without the graphic violence), Rotenberg pits a good and unusually gifted man against sinister forces, a corrupt Pharma corporation (is there any other kind?) and a shadow government agency bent on taking advantage of Deker and his gift. Along the way the novel surprisingly opens up into an insightful examination of betrayal, the notion of home and of the complex relationships between brothers and fathers and sons. All this while maintaining a driving pace and page turning action. Can't wait for the next book in the series.
Date published: 2012-03-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Fast paced and interesting! FTC: I received an ARC of 'The Placebo Effect' from Simon & Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest and fair review. Being a Canadian, I can’t say that I read a lot of books by Canadian authors, so when I come across one that has references to cities, provinces, and places I’ve actually heard of, part of me feels like the book shouldn’t be a real book because it’s too close to home, while another part of me is proud, especially when the book turns out to be skillfully written by a fellow Canadian. The Placebo Effect is a fast-paced mystery novel by Canadian author, David Rotenberg. It is about Decker, a guy who has the special ability to tell when people are telling the truth or not. Decker’s life seems to be playing out just as he would like, until one day it seems that someone is out to get him–his credit cards don’t work, his house burns down, and he loses the space where he does his daytime work as an acting coach. Now Decker’s on the run, trying to find out who’s targeted him and why. The story flows quite quickly from chapter to chapter as the reader is introduced to everyone who knows Decker, or everyone who is trying to get in touch with Decker. The characters were craftily outlined and I really enjoyed the chapters that included Yslan, or Seth, and found the interaction between Decker and his good friend Eddie to be a bit of relief from the serious tone of the rest of the book. I also really liked the craziness of the character Mike–another guy like Decker who can do special things. I had a few concerns while reading the novel, though. One of these is that Rotenberg does a lot of pop-culture references, including personalities, celebrities, TV shows and movies, which could possibly date the book. There is quite a lot of referencing throughout the novel–characters comparing themselves to an actor or a musician–that I wonder why Rotenberg felt he needed to include so many. I also wasn’t too keen on Decker as he seemed to always voice how real life imitates art, that real people didn’t know how to be themselves, but would rather imitate someone they saw on TV. I felt it was just a little overdone. My last issue is that there is quite a bit of jumping around from character to character and from event to event. There are numerous characters in the novel and it was just slightly confusing remember who was who when they would pop up suddenly. It isn’t until a third of the way into the book that things start to really make sense and I found myself getting pulled into the story and started to understand–for the most part–who the characters were and what they were doing there, though I found myself having to go back to the beginning a few times to be sure. Aside from my few qualms, I did like the whole Heroes and Alphas-esque quality the book had. It made me think of regular people having superpowers and whether they choose to use them for good or use them for evil, though in this case, it’s not the bearer of the superpower who has to choose but, rather, someone trying to force them to use their gifts for wrongdoings. Rotenberg’s book also makes the reader think about real life and whether or not there could be people out there with such “gifts” (or “parlour tricks” as others may see it). I was definitely left thinking about this, long after finishing the novel. That, and the fact that not all businesses–real or fiction–are true to their word: there’s always someone out there trying to bend the truth a little to make some cash. While The Placebo Effect isn’t the type of book I usually read, what with being new to the mystery genre, I found it to be interesting, educational, and a bit of a page-turner. If mystery novels are your cup of tea, you will probably enjoy Rotenberg’s novel, and be happy to know that this is the first in a series of books. If you’re not into series books, don’t worry–The Placebo Effect works as a standalone novel as well, just enough to whet your taste buds.
Date published: 2012-01-20