The Placebo Effect



[PDF / Epub] ☉ The Placebo Effect Author David Rotenberg – E17streets4all.co.uk The first book in a new series starring an acting teacher with a surprising talentDecker Roberts has the dangerous gift of detecting the truth Only his closest friends know, and he keeps his identity The first book in a new series starring an acting teacher with a surprising talentDecker Roberts has the dangerous gift of The Placebo PDF \ 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.The Placebo Effect

David Rotenberg has been a master acting teacher for over years He has directed on Broadway, in many major regional The Placebo PDF \ theatres, for television, and he has published six novels, including the Zhong Fong detective series, all of which are available at your local bookstore or online The series is in the process of being optioned for filmDavid has taught at York University, the National Theatre School of Canada, the Shanghai Theatre Academy, the University of Cape Town, and Princeton He regularly teaches professional classes in Montreal, Vancouver and Halifax He directed the first Canadian play in the People s Republic of China Most recently, David has directed at Penn State University and at York University, where he adapted and directed a stage version of F Scott Fitzgerald s The Great GatsbyThe roster of his students reads like a who s who in ranks of Canadian actors, including Scott Speedman, Rachel McAdams, James McGowan, Polly Shannon, David Hirsh, Jonas Chernick and Shawn Doyle His unique techniques are used by actors in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, South Africa and the People s Republic of ChinaLike him on Facebook here.

The Placebo Effect PDF/EPUB Ê The Placebo  PDF \
    The Placebo Effect PDF/EPUB Ê The Placebo PDF \ 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."/>
  • Paperback
  • 352 pages
  • The Placebo Effect
  • David Rotenberg
  • 05 August 2019
  • 1476746877

10 thoughts on “The Placebo Effect

  1. says:

    I won this book for free from the Goodread s First Reads giveaway.If the website would allow, I would of rated this book a 2.75 5 It was generally ok Some of the reasons I enjoyed this book are The author had a great idea on a plot I really wanted to win this book based on the summary listed on this website The main character, Decker Roberts, was a likeable character His synaesthesia gift of knowing if people were telling the truth was interesting The book was mostly based in Canada I won this book for free from the Goodread s First Reads giveaway.If the website would allow, I would of rated this book a 2.75 5 It was generally ok Some of the reasons I enjoyed this book are The author had a great idea on a plot I really wanted to win this book based on the summary listed on this website The main character, Decker Roberts, was a likeable character His synaesthesia gift of knowing if people were telling the truth was interesting The book was mostly based in Canada as a Canadian I obviously enjoyed that aspect of the book.Some of the difficulties I found with the book were Many parts of the book, especially at the beginning of some chapters, seemed to drag out too long with talk of nonsense The nonsense I speak of is ramblings that seem to have nothing to do with the book at all The author had such a great idea for a plot I was surprised that I wasn t really interested in the book as I should be It was really hard to get involved into it until about half way through and that only lasted for a few chapters, then I was bored again There was an abundance of characters that made no sense to me They could of easily been excluded from the book and the book would of been better as this would speed things up i.e, Theo, Leena, Garreth Jr, Garreth Sr, and Emerson Maybe they will makesense in the next book in the series but they really did not need to be in this one I also wanted to add that Seth is a douche, and Eddie is a sleaze The only character I really cared for was Decker And just out of curosity, why didn t the NSA just hire Decker instead of stalk him It did not make a lot of sense to me.Overall, the book had some good parts to it and some I did not care for I do believe this a book that many people will enjoy, it just wasn t my style

  2. says:

    Four and a half starsThe new novel The Placebo Effect, book one of The Junction Chronicles by David Rotenberg, Canadian thriller with Canadian locations and Canadian humor, is a very thought provoking smart story in addition to being a fast paced action packed adventure crossing from one end of North America to the other As you are aware I love reading Canadian and was happy to have won this book, a story which I very much enjoyed, from Simon and Schuster in a first reads Goodreads contest Wit Four and a half starsThe new novel The Placebo Effect, book one of The Junction Chronicles by David Rotenberg, Canadian thriller with Canadian locations and Canadian humor, is a very thought provoking smart story in addition to being a fast paced action packed adventure crossing from one end of North America to the other As you are aware I love reading Canadian and was happy to have won this book, a story which I very much enjoyed, from Simon and Schuster in a first reads Goodreads contest With a cast of colourful characters, and a truly fascinating concept hook, the story addresses the repercussions of always knowing the truth about strangers while at the same time never being unable to understand or read those closest to us The colourful troupe of characters are well drawn and everything you would expect in a good thriller and yet incredibly unique and interesting What will distinguish a really good book from a mediocre book, for me at least, are the characters, particularly if the main character stands out in my mind And, Decker definitely stands out Even if I do not always like Decker, he did manage to get inside my head, if not always my heart Decker is so well formed that I would expect to find him wandering about the Junction Decker Roberts is a synaesthete who receives visual clues in front of his closed eyes to distinguish between the truth and a lie Yslan Hicks is in charge of the file for synaesthesia for a secret government organization and is hunting Decker down Yslan would very much want to investigate, if not apply, Dickers skills Emerson Remi is a Princeton educated journalist in hot pursuit of the next big story for which he believes Yslan to be the key and is busy tracking Yslan s every movement Henry Clay Yolles is a pharmaceutical executive on the surface but in reality a gangster complete with hit men, on the brink of making a huge amount of money from the production of a new antidepressant drug and who to his absolute delight has found out about the synaesthetes network and is busy taking full advantage of this secret knowledge Mike, ratio man is a synaesthete whose talent of being able to determine the correct balance and ratio for anything, is coerced into working for Yolles Pharmaceuticals by Henry Clay, and in doing so has exposed the synaesthetes world Mac Macmillan is a thug and hit man of Henry Clay whose latest job is to take out Mike and then, Decker who both know too much Eddie is Deckers best friend and confidant who manages Deckers real life and keeps in contact with Seth, Deckers estranged son Seth is sick and suffering alone with cancer but wanting absolutely nothing to do with his father The story is delivered in short quick sections from third POV from all the above characters and their divergent storylines flow neatly into each other The writing is crisp, direct and concise and together with the structure of short chapters and the rapid shift between characters, the story maintains a fast pace The settings for the book of both Canadian and American cities are very well described Although I have never been to most of the American cities described, I can say that Rotenberg s description of Toronto was right on the money The Junction in particular was brought to life in full colour and is both evocative and moody Clusters of churches guarding evil right in the middle of the Junction, I will be on the next train out I grew up in the Eastern Townships of Quebec and he caught the mood and tone of Stanstead perfectly a small town inundated with tourists and outsiders for whom the townies must give way Don t we know it Decker Roberts is a human lie detector He is blessed, or cursed depending on point of view, with the ability to tell if a person is speaking the truth, due to a condition called synaesthesia This is a real medical condition that can sometimes be found to develop after head injuries, and reasons unknown, in which a person s neurological pathway of the senses for vision, hearing, smell, touch and taste get scrambled So a person with synaesthesia sees what he tastes or hears what he touches Decker sees patterns before his eyes when someone speaks to him and these patterns change shape when someone is lying This skill is limited as he is unable to use this skill with people he truly cares about Decker in his normal job is an acting teacher Working as an acting coach, he teaches young actors to reach for the emotions and feelings within themselves and apply these to the character they are to portray in film or on stage On the side and in secret, Decker has been applying his lie detection skill in the corporate world and making a great deal of money Decker s world begins to unravel when his house is burned down, his credit cards cancelled and the building from which he leases a studio for his acting classes is condemned It seems Decker may have uncovered a truth better left buried Now he is trying to back track through his latest truth detecting jobs to determine who is out to get him With Yslan, Remi, Mike and Mac following in Dickers wake, the race is on, but the truth for Decker is unusually elusive The underlying themes of The Placebo Effect, are in fact about the placebo effect both in medicine and generalized to our popular culture First, let us review a quick definition of the placebo effect A placebo is an inert medicine or treatment used in what is called double blind medical studies in order to measure the true effectiveness of a new drug or medical treatment Double blind just means neither doctor nurse nor patient know if they received the real medication so that the results are not influenced either way The placebo effect is a beneficial effect, produced by a placebo drug or treatment, that cannot be attributed to the properties of the placebo itself, and must therefore be due to the patient s belief in that treatment In other words, patients will improve given any medication or treatment due to their blind faith and belief that the doctor or the medicine will make them better In short a placebo is a fake, artificial, a lie Rotenberg is efficient at pointing out all manners of things that are placebos and fake and weaves this theme through the backdrop of The Placebo Effect Decker like many people in our North American society has lost faith, faith in him, and faith in others As Decker believes that he harms those closest to him when he uses his gift of lie detection, he keeps a distance from others Decker is lonely He really has only one friend and a few acquaintances that he meets through his job as an acting coach His wife is dead, he and his son are estranged and he maintains a very superficial relationship with all he meets There is a network website for synaesthetes run by Yslan in order to study and keep track of these special people Decker only feels good when he is in the chat room of the synaesthetes site connecting with people with similar traits to him A social media site, in short, a social placebo, his new faith, to which even on the run from killers, Decker will log into in order to feel good This extremely interesting novel concept of being able to distinguish the truth from a lie carries the whole story As a basic thriller recipe, The Placebo Effect starts with the mandatory fast paced exciting story, mix in the type cast sad lonely good guy and evil corporate guy turned evil scientist guys, sprinkle in the mysterious government agencies, and add all the running about that we expect from a good thriller, at the bare bones the story is all ready well on to being a wonderful book The icing with all those sugary sprinkles that the kids like is the commentary that Rotenberg adds to this story We are given an examination of our society from the point of view of Rotenberg, a man who has spent many years directing and teaching in the acting business A business based on fabrications and illusions Rotenberg s insights into the current influence of pop culture are very revealing if not dead on Those sugary sprinkles are the insightful examination of what is real and true in our lives, family and friends in which we can invest our faith and belief, as opposed the false, pretend, placebo pop culture that has infiltrated North American.My only complaint is that there is a lot thrown into the mix, some of it brilliant, some of it distracting I admit to be confused and lost at points in the story To be honest I am not sure all the threads got tied off at the end or if I missed something or if I am just to find out that bit within the ongoing story of the series But, who said reading is suppose to be easy But, whether it was me not being able to keep up or the manner of the delivery, I docked the book a half star Thrillers are usually fun to read and there is a lot that can be learned from this genre James Rollins has taught me much about quantum physics and when reading John LeCarre I gain a better understanding of the state of the world politically Rotenberg has done something completely new and unexpected he has included a thread of philosophy about life, faith and love and the North American culture in general I am looking forward to the next book in the Junction Chronicles, A Murder of Crows.For More see my blog

  3. says:

    First things first I need to mention I received this book in Goodreads giveaways.Decker Roberts has a dangerous gift he can reliably tell whether a person tells the truth Despite his attempt to keep this ability secret while still making very good amount of cold hard cash from this tax free I suppose , he still finds himself wanted by a lot of different groups of people including NSA these are spooky guys is both real life and this book, high profile lawyers, and a head of a major pharmace First things first I need to mention I received this book in Goodreads giveaways.Decker Roberts has a dangerous gift he can reliably tell whether a person tells the truth Despite his attempt to keep this ability secret while still making very good amount of cold hard cash from this tax free I suppose , he still finds himself wanted by a lot of different groups of people including NSA these are spooky guys is both real life and this book, high profile lawyers, and a head of a major pharmaceutical company Some of these guys want to use his talent for free, some of them want to complicate his life as much as possible, and some just want him dead.Despite my 3 star rating, this is a good book There are some problems resulting in my fairly low rating I do not get motivation of the main villain of the book at all Very minor SPOILER follows you have the most useful person for your company working for you for minimum wage Why on Earth do you want to fire him Your company is not going to be broke paying oneaforementioned minimum wage, even if this person is going to be useful once in a while Another problem Decker s son is a typical asshole for the lack of better term who considers his father to be nothingthan just a walking wallet and who think it is below his dignity to ask his father for money in person using their mutual friend for communication I was supposed to care about him, but I really did not at all.Lastly, it took a while for the book to get really interesting for a thriller book it spent too much time setting up the stage and actors Once the action finally started, it became very interesting with the scene of Decker escaping NSA being simply brilliant.All in all, a good book with some shortcomings which prevented me from giving it higher marks

  4. says:

    First off I received this book free through first reads thanks Simon And Schuster Some spoilers ahead As I was lucky enough to receive this book for free, I really wanted to like it Unfortunately I found it to be pretty mediocre.The main thing that bothered me was all the improbable things that occurred Its like Rotenberg was like yes I want this plot point to happen Hang logic Things like That Yolles would hear a man of questionable mental health going on about ratios and think for s First off I received this book free through first reads thanks Simon And Schuster Some spoilers ahead As I was lucky enough to receive this book for free, I really wanted to like it Unfortunately I found it to be pretty mediocre.The main thing that bothered me was all the improbable things that occurred Its like Rotenberg was like yes I want this plot point to happen Hang logic Things like That Yolles would hear a man of questionable mental health going on about ratios and think for some reason that was all the info he needed to hire this man to work on pharmaceuticals That Ratio Man could in a short time devise a ratio that placebo and anti depressants pills could be mixed And that there would have been any time ethics board approval for testing its efficacy which Yolles seems super sure of That placebo ratio is even a thing If that lower amount of drug is effective than the pill would just be that lower dose, and if a drug doesn t need to be taken every day than that would be reflected in the dosing That the consumer would need to be fooled by sugar pills in this scenario is ridiculous Placebo effect is a real thing..placebo ratio, stupidity That somehow Yolles requires Decker a man who somehow sees truth re this drug and then is so threatened that Ratio man yelled about ratios near Decker that he is willing to kill one man and try to kill another Does Yolles plan on standing up near Decker and saying, Every pill in this Anti depressant you ve probs never heard of till I just mentioned it to you now is real drug Seems unreasonable So yeah this a few of the things I found ridiculous in just the first quarter of the book or so It doesn t really getplausible.Luckily even though I found most of the plot implausible, the writing itself was not bad, and I enjoyed some of the characters Still, I think that won t be enough to make me want to read the next book in this series or anything else by this author That s unfortunate because the only storylines I found really intriguing were about how the boy Decker I assume ended up on the lamppost and what Decker did to his dying wife and his son Both of these were definitely left hanging to get the reader to move to the next in the series Blech

  5. says:

    For me, the highlight of this book was the detailed descriptions of Toronto, a city I live not far from It is unusual for a Canadian city to have such prominence in a book, and it was quiet refreshing Most people familiar with Toronto will recognize most, if not all, of the locations mentioned in the story It gave me a quiet thrill to actually know the places mentioned.Getting to the actual story, I found Decker s ability to be quite unique and very interesting I have never before thought of For me, the highlight of this book was the detailed descriptions of Toronto, a city I live not far from It is unusual for a Canadian city to have such prominence in a book, and it was quiet refreshing Most people familiar with Toronto will recognize most, if not all, of the locations mentioned in the story It gave me a quiet thrill to actually know the places mentioned.Getting to the actual story, I found Decker s ability to be quite unique and very interesting I have never before thought of how being able to detect truth could be profitable or rich It is definitely an underused gift in the world of paranormal abilities.I did find the story a bit confusing near the end as all the threads started coming together to form the climax, but they did coalesce nicely The ending was satisfingly complete

  6. says:

    I won this through Goodreads giveaway.The protagonist, Decker Roberts, is either gifted or cursed with an ability to detect truth and lies This thriller follows Decker as he attempts to find those who are trying to destroy him This is an exciting and thought provoking book which I can definitely recommend.

  7. says:

    This book and I got off to a rough start First it offended me, then it bored me, then the action picked up, and then it petered to an ending that managed to satisfy while still leaving enough loose ends to sustain a sequel.What offended me almost as soon as I began reading was Rotenberg s portrayal of synaesthetes I am a synaesthete, and it angered me that people with my condition were labeled weird assed wackos and portrayed as insensible, dangerous mental patients.Yslan Hicks, a Federal Ag This book and I got off to a rough start First it offended me, then it bored me, then the action picked up, and then it petered to an ending that managed to satisfy while still leaving enough loose ends to sustain a sequel.What offended me almost as soon as I began reading was Rotenberg s portrayal of synaesthetes I am a synaesthete, and it angered me that people with my condition were labeled weird assed wackos and portrayed as insensible, dangerous mental patients.Yslan Hicks, a Federal Agent at work with the National Security Agency, is in charge of working with synaesthetes that may prove useful to the government In the scene where both she and the synaesthete program are introduced, Rotenberg has her explain that synaesthesia is the result of head trauma.While it s true that some people acquire synaesthesia as a result of brain injury, manylive with the condition as the result of a natural predisposition Most synaesthetes are not the unfortunate victims of trauma, to be pitied or handled I was also bothered by Yslan s regard for some forms of the condition as silly synaesthetes because their manifestation of synaesthesia was not useful to the NSA To be clear, it s almost unheard of for a synaesthete to have only one form of it eg smelling colours Odds are that several senses will overlap or correspond in unique ways By this simple logic, very few real synaesthetes would be completely useless to a project that involves unique perception.And when synaesthetes aren t being portrayed as dangerous crazies, they re being portrayed as superheroes They re like the mutant in X Men, lying in wait for an organization to use their unique skills I couldn t tell if Rotenberg just liked the idea of synaesthesia, or if he s a synaesthete himself and wants to elevate the condition to a cooler level Personally, I don t think synaesthesia needed his help What The Placebo Effect does is spread misinformation about the condition or, worse, make people assume that it s entirely fictional the stuff of comic books and sci fi.Case and point Decker Roberts, the protagonist of The Placebo Effect, makes reference to Daniel Tammet videos on a website dedicated to synaesthesia Daniel Tammet is a real person and the author of the book Born On A Blue Day his autobiography He is also an extreme case of synaesthesia and has autism Daniel Tammet is interesting, but he is not a typical synaesthete.Later in The Placebo Effect, after letting the reader think that Decker Roberts uses his form of synaesthesia to detect lies from truth, Rotenberg reveals that Decker isn t a synaesthete at all.Smoke within fog that was him within the world of synaesthetes, not actually one of them, but enough like them that he could hide in their midst He s got the cool extra sensory perception stuff going on, but none of the insanity that comes with being one of those people The reader learns this after Rotenberg exploits a feeling that a lot of synaesthetes have at some point in their lives I didn t like the way he looked at me like I had confirmed in his mind that I was really a freak After all the effort Rotenberg went to in the vilification and discrediting of synaesthetes, it was confusing, misleading, and disappointing to find out that the one sane person with sensory differences isn t one of them because the group needs a redeeming character in this book.Rotenberg seems to have a gift for being casually offensive This passage in particular struck me as particularly insensitive The natural thing was to make Henry Clay Yolles enter down the centre aisle so that he looked up at Decker on the bimah like Princess Di s funeral Did the Brits know how to stage a pageant in a cathedral or what When the coffin came all the way down the centre aisle, then turned to the right and the huge doors opened to allow the light in and her coffin out Decker remembered wanting to cheer , blockquoteThe funeral of a woman who died under tragic circumstances is not a pageant , and the urge to cheer is inappropriate.Rotenberg s style annoyed me on several occasions, but particularly in the early chapters of the novel He makes frequent comparisons to films, but not in an appropriately timed pop culture reference kind of way It slike Rotenberg throws in a comparison to iconic memorable film moments when he doesn t feel like describing a character s action Who hasn t seen that movie Of course they ll all get the reference He leans too hard on his background in theatre TV.There s also a fair bit of tangental nonsense When Decker witnesses an altercation between a supermarket patron and clerk, Rotenberg wastes half a page on unimportant description of how multicultural Toronto is instead of keeping the action in the supermarket He also offers the reader a clumsy description of how to use a smartphone, in case you ve been in a coma for several years.Decker s friend and colleague, Eddie, is a likeable and quirky character, prone to making haphazard mashups of common idioms and slang I liked himandas the novel progressed, probably because his introduction to the novel is a bogged down, over long stretch of dialogue that strives to be realistic instead of to the point, and therefore loses the reader s interest.Eddie is passionate about his family and his job He s a caregiver, and he s also imperfect At times I wished the story focusedon Eddie than Decker, because at least Eddie is aware of how profoundly flawed he really is He s relatable and he carries the scenes in which he s present.The story didn t really gain any traction or sense of urgency until chapter 23, almost 150 pages into the book, when Decker begins to dig through his past work assignments and locates a mystery to be solved Finally, there seems to be a point to what Decker does The reader can see his goal Everything that happened before that chapter his teaching, his relationship with Eddie, the craziness of the synaesthete Mike Shedloski, an arsonist burning his house down, and his estranged son Seth seem like extraneous scene setters that built up to chapter 23 by the most indirect route possible Most of these things end up being relevant to the climax and ending of the novel, but the pace of the book felt very uneven.Eventroubling was the convoluted plot The cast of characters in The Placebo Effect is extensive, and most of them don t directly interact until near or during the novel s climax Most of the time I was lost, unable to keep track of who was on who s side, what had had motivated each character, and how much time had passed.It s not easy to follow the long series of coincidences in The Placebo Effect For example, a lounge singer just happens to have a grudge against Yolles Pharmaceuticals and just happens to be the girlfriend of a man that Decker Roberts just happens to know from fifteen years ago The people he relies on don t naturally or smoothly enter into the narrative, and most of the time they leave so abruptly that the reader doesn t know whether to anticipate their reappearance or not.I found Seth s story to be the most moving part of the book Estranged from his family and dealing with a serious illness, his sense of loneliness and futility is heartbreaking He s already learned the lesson that his father struggles with Your life isn t here to entertain you it s to be lived.Unfortunately, Seth is barely in The Placebo Effect because he is estranged from the protagonist The reader sees him when the events of his life are relevant to what s going on with Decker, but otherwise the book s most compelling character is left off stage Heartbreaking as Seth s story was, I wanted to seeof him.I felt like I fought with this book from start to finish It was a struggle to read, to enjoy, and to understand I might skim the sequel when it comes out, purely out of curiosity about Seth s fate, but after having such a rough and tumble experience with this one, I don t think I ll be reading the remainder of the forthcoming Junction Chronicles Quotes not final

  8. says:

    I told him, It doesn t work on people I care about or family Decker had thought at the time about telling his father about the lines in his head how they aligned when he heard a truth then decided against it, as he decided against telling the southern girl across the table from him My father s eyes widened then he said, I want you downstairs next Thursday night I protested, But you and your friends are way better pool players than I know, he said But I m not good enough to play wiI told him, It doesn t work on people I care about or family Decker had thought at the time about telling his father about the lines in his head how they aligned when he heard a truth then decided against it, as he decided against telling the southern girl across the table from him My father s eyes widened then he said, I want you downstairs next Thursday night I protested, But you and your friends are way better pool players than I know, he said But I m not good enough to play with No you aren t, but come down and play that lying trick of yours I really didn t want to do it, but I did After their game ended and the men left, my father asked me what statements made by his friends were truthful I identified the very few truths spoken that night, then added, And Mr Walsh pocketed a twenty that belonged to you You saw that too Yes My father nodded slowly This is pretty interesting, don t you think he said But I really didn t find it interesting I found it scary and isolating And I didn t like the way my father looked at me like I had confirmed in his mind that I really was a freak So I stopped using itDecker Roberts is a synaesthete Not one of those silly synaesthetes who can smell words or see colours and shapes in music of which I am actually the latter , but an actual benefit to society and the protection of life and liberty Through some crossed wiring in his brain he is able to tell, with incredible precision, when someone is telling the truth Sometimes, that is When there are no possible outstanding factors that might give someone reason to fib Oh, and that s another thing he can t tell when someone s lying, only when they re not being entirely truthful Which is a round about way of saying that though Decker is in possession of a unique ability, it comes a pre packaged laundry list of ways it can be circumvented It s a little like getting a mobile phone that only works when you re standing in one specific spot at a certain time of day.In the years since his wife s death from ALS, Decker has forged a side business to take advantage of his particular set of skills On paper he teaches acting courses and has a past in the Broadway theatre scene Off the record, however, he is available on a case by case basis for jobs requiring him to tell whether or not someone usually an employee of a business with too much money to burn is being truthful When not jetting around North America on one night only jobs, Decker makes his home in Toronto, in an area of the city known as the Junction, where he pines for slivers of knowledge as to the wellbeing and whereabouts of his estranged son, Seth, who abandoned Decker years earlier for reasons not explained in this book.The plot of The Placebo Effect, the first in a trilogy of books, revolves around two primary elements the NSA s tracking of known synaesthetes not unlike the mutant Registration program from X Men, minus the towering, thirty foot tall sentinels and Henry Clay Yolles of Yolles pharmaceuticals orchestrating a scam to sell his company s medication for maximum profit using a carefully calculated ratio of placebos to actual medicine The ratio itself was calculated beyond a shadow of a doubt by another synaesthete the tragically simple Mike Shedloski aka the Ratio Man Henry Clay is aware of Decker Roberts and his special skill and puts him to the test supposedly to see whether or not he can be used as an asset But when Mike the Ratio Man threatens to reveal Yolles Pharmaceuticals underhanded behaviour, Henry Clay deems both him and Decker as threats to be quickly discarded.There are a great manycharacters and plot elements to the story too many, in fact, given how little time is spent developing each character I had several problems with The Placebo Effect, chief among them that it s simply not very well written, plotted, or paced The characters themselves are two dimensional cut outs They have back stories, sure like Crazy Eddie attempting to regain custody of his daughter, or the mostly untold history between Seth and Decker but there is so much jumping around scene to scene, and often with only single paragraphs dedicated to one time or place before moving onto the next, that it is almost impossible to get any sort of emotional or psychological feel for any of the characters The structure is spastic in how quickly it moves between people and places, and as such there is no room for the narrative or the characters to breathe, to be anything to one another but basic screenplay devices And when Rotenberg does attempt to give a little depth via comparisons or interests, it is still handed in a frustratingly surface level manner eg using albums, films, and TV shows to illustrate character traits, but not explaining how or what the relation is such as referencing one s dislike of The Fountainhead without giving context as to why And when all is said and done, no actual depth has been added through these plentiful asides, and the reader is left perpetually wantingand not at all in a constructive I can t wait for the sequel manner.Beyond these issues, I found the manner in which topics related to race were handled to be insensitive and heavy handed, the amount of information which is teased but deliberately held back for future installments to be overwhelmingly distracting and by holding so much of it back, especially with respect to Seth and Decker s relationship, it actually harms are ability to take an interest in either one of their lives , and the level of detail especially with respect to the language and imagery used to explain Decker s particular synaesthesia to be startlingly sparse and illustrating a surprising deficit of imagination.Most egregious though is discerning Yolles motivation, especially with respect to his targeting of Decker At the end of the book I m left seeing this as a shot first scenario, where it is Yolles fear and lack of understanding about Decker that causes him to go after him in the first place Had he just left it alone and not done a thing, or waited to see if someone like Decker would actually ever be a threat in the first place, then it might have made sense to go after him As it stands, the plot of The Placebo Effect feels as if it hinges entirely on Yolles making an incredibly stupid error in judgement, drawing Decker into a plot that would have otherwise passed him by And all this without touching on NSA Special Agent Yslan Hicks, who vacillates so jarringly between intrigue and being a force of unnecessary oppression and antagonism that by the end I d lost interest in discovering who she was beneath the surface.I have a lotI d like to say like how ridiculously simple it is for Yolles to gain Mike s passwords to the online synaesthete community but the long and short of it is that The Placebo Effect did not work for me on any level I like the basic idea of employing synaesthetes in unconventional ways, but at no point does Decker s skill or any of the synaesthetic skills presented feel necessary to the goings on in this book In the end, too many characters and questions are left hanging for the second book in the series, while not enough has been given for me to know why I should want to read on

  9. says:

    set in the JUnction in toronto, this is a story about malevolent pharmaceutical company owner intent on making the biggest profit on a drug, something of a revenge, a settling of accounts for the suicide of his father Hence the placebo effect how making placebo pills can you incorporate in a pill bottle and still get people to buy the bottle because they get relief often enough to keep swallowing the pills A too far fetched story involving the NSA and some of its special agents, ultra gifted p set in the JUnction in toronto, this is a story about malevolent pharmaceutical company owner intent on making the biggest profit on a drug, something of a revenge, a settling of accounts for the suicide of his father Hence the placebo effect how making placebo pills can you incorporate in a pill bottle and still get people to buy the bottle because they get relief often enough to keep swallowing the pills A too far fetched story involving the NSA and some of its special agents, ultra gifted people, including the central character Derek who can always tell if people speak the truth, a skill the NSA is eyeing with great interest.Springled with a bit of mysticism of ceremonies where sheep are sacrificed and their skins draped over the bodies of the participants lying down on marble altar somewhere in Texasa bit too much

  10. says:

    Science Fiction series Rotberg has written a mystery series I really liked so thought I would indulge his venture into science fiction Not bad but not great The lead character is a tortured synesthete who can always tell if someone is telling the truth The NSA is quite interested in him as are several other bad guys Too much going on and not enough back story.Canadian references set in Toronto so too many too mention.Pharmacy references pharmacy company talks about drug testing pharma Science Fiction series Rotberg has written a mystery series I really liked so thought I would indulge his venture into science fiction Not bad but not great The lead character is a tortured synesthete who can always tell if someone is telling the truth The NSA is quite interested in him as are several other bad guys Too much going on and not enough back story.Canadian references set in Toronto so too many too mention.Pharmacy references pharmacy company talks about drug testing pharmacy company in Florida mention of Canadian internet pharmacies girl buys pregnancy kit at the local pharmacy sub plot is putting placebos into bottles of real drug to make money

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