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Blog Tour – The Placebo Effect (Review, Author Q&A)

The Placebo Effect
by David Rotenberg

Decker Roberts has the dangerous gift of detecting the truth. For years this talent proved to be a lucrative sideline to his acting teaching. 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 lying.

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 realizes 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 is 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. (Simon & Schuster Canada)

It’s rare that I participate in blog tours, though I made an exception when I read the summary for this book. As a person with a mild form of synesthesia, the premise completely intrigued me. It helps that I also love mysteries on the thriller side.

I shall admit first that it took me a little while to fully get into the flow of the story. Because I agreed to be a part of the tour I knew I wasn’t going to put the book down though, and I am glad that happened. About a quarter of the way through the book, I found myself becoming much more enraptured by the plot. I loved that the story moves between Canada and the US. I found this a rather unique and appreciated aspect of the book. I always get this little sense of pride when Canada is mentioned in a story. In this case, Decker calls Toronto home and I might be pathetic for this, but that made me happy!

I loved the idea that a synesth (no idea how to spell that?) could tell truth from a lie with their gift. This made the story slightly paranormal, yet, actually feasible.

The never ending plot twists and reveals kept me on my toes the entire time. I didn’t trust anyone that showed up. If they existed amongst the pages of the book they were automatically suspicious in my eyes.There was one exception to this though and in the end, I should have been suspicious of that person the entire time. Foiled!

I am both fascinated and repulsed by the story line that robs its protagonist of all his or her security. It’s a fine line and a constant struggle for me to read this sort of thing. On one hand I am riveted to the slow destruction of a person’s life but at the same time terrified that something like this could ever happen. Decker’s house burns down (while he’s in it!), his credit cards are cancelled, people are stalking him online and by phone. It’s so creepy get so fascinating to read about. I think the part I liked the best about The Placebo Effect was getting to the bottom of who and why someone was trying to ruin Decker’s life – or worse!

Thanks muchly to Simon & Schuster Canada for allowing me to be a part of this tour! You can find out more about The Placebo Effect on their website or check out the book’s Facebook page!

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5 Questions With…

As part of the blog tour, I also got a chance to have 5 questions answered by David Rotenberg! Here they are:

1. My first question is a two-parter: How did you discover synesthesia and what made you think to use this condition as a sort of “super power” for the main character?

Really don’t mean to hedge, but I don’t actually remember when exactly I discovered synesthesia. It just seemed to have been in the atmosphere for a while. I’ve always written about people with special abilities, the five Zhong Fong novels are about a man with exceptional talent in a world where special talents are not honored. When I directed the first Canadian play in the People’s Republic of China the first thing the Artistic Director of that theatre said to me was, “You must remember that you can always be replaced”-a fine hello, how was your flight!
Synesthesia simply gives an access to the ‘other.’ There is a lot of material on synesthesia; some of the most interesting is actually the documentary on Mr. Tammet and his extraordinary abilities. There is also a gentleman called the human camera, you can find YouTube stuff on both, and BBC documentaries. As well Mr. Tammet has an interesting book.
Rainman was based loosely on the man who Mr. Tammet thought of as his spiritual father-he passed away a few years back.

2. Was it important to you to have Canadian locations in the story?

Partially because there is something very odd in the Junction, all those Churches!!! I mean really. As well having the lead character as a Canadian allows a perspective on America that often Americans don’t have. I lived in the United States for many years. My wife is a Puerto Rican American. Both of my kids are dual citizens. One lives in the States; the other has the knee jerk hatred of America that is pretty common here.

Our relationship with the elephant down there is pretty darned important for us to understand past the knee jerk stuff, hence start in Toronto and work south.

3. Name three random facts about yourself that people would never guess if they met you!

I was a really good athlete. I’ve had a few times in my life when I was deeply betrayed by people I was sure were my friends. I’ve had a locked room that is mine and only mine for over 40 years.

4. When you were growing up, did you think you’d be an author with multiple published books as an adult?

No. In fact, I remember reading something I’d written to my parents when I was a young teenage, and they poo-pooed it. I didn’t write seriously again for 20 years.

5. Is there a book out there that you have read and thought, “Gee, I really wish I had written this!”?

The Spy Who Came In From the Cold/John LeCarre

In My Mailbox #50 – The Thwarting my Arch Nemesis Edition!

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren.

All my IMM posts can be found here!

Welcome to my 50th In My Mailbox! I feel like this is some sort of fancy milestone and it amuses me that though I am only at 50 posts for IMM, Kristi herself is at her 100th IMM *VIDEO* and last week was her 150th IMM post. She’s a rock star, yo!

So this week was crazy fun for me and the mail! I got a book for review, books I bought and a surprise box of books from a friend. I think this week was a lovely way to end my 2 month sick leave. I’ve got a book high going on!

For Review:

Bought:

Surprise:

Various other paper products:

I’ve already devoured Touch of FrostThe Faerie Ring and Prized. Those links will bring you to my reviews if you haven’t seen them already. (er, except for Prized, because I haven’t written it yet.) All other book-related links go to Goodreads.

I only got one bill this week, too! So I think that makes for a super excellent mailbox week – all stuff that makes me happy and nothing much that I have to dish out stupid money for. (I am so tired of the mortgage and utilities companies expecting me to pay them every month! Nags, the lot of ’em.)