Review: The Placebo Effect and Q & A with author David Rotenberg

I love to discover authors whose writing I like, and I’m especially delighted when I discover a new series that I enjoy. The Placebo Effect fills both of those niches for me.

David Rotenberg's first book in a series called The Junction Chronicles follows Decker Roberts as he struggles to deal with his unique gift of detecting when other people are telling the truth. In other words, he’s a human lie detector. (I had visions of being able to do this all the while reading this book!) To make extra money Decker hires himself out to companies who will pay well for his services, determining for instance whether a potential employee is telling the truth about themselves. Life is going along swimmingly until Decker finds himself dealing with more than just the usual odd assortment of characters.

This book moves at lightening speed. I literally could not put it down. Every event in the plot plays out to an exciting ending. The idea of being able to detect when someone is lying is interesting in the first place. Add to that an unknown creepiness and it makes for a really fun read.

I especially enjoyed the main character. He was well fleshed out – the use of his background in the acting profession was an interesting twist. His family is not the perfect one either, dysfunction is the norm and I think it many readers will relate.

Without giving away too many details, I also really liked the role that corporations played in this novel. By their very nature, they’re large entities that seem untouchable but the author managed to give them a human face. Another aspect that I liked was the fact that the events moved around a good deal. Some of the action takes place in Toronto, some in New York City and Cincinnati. For me these are details that make a book more than just readable and The Placebo Effect was just that.

Read on for a Q & A with the author of The Placebo Effect, David Rotenberg

Q. How long did it take you to write Placebo Effect?
A. Pretty much 18 months, give or take two or three.

Q. I was struck by Placebo Effect's complex twists and turns. How did you keep track of all the details involved? Do you have a particular method that you use?
A. When I was younger I could actually recite whole swaths of my books-can’t do that anymore but I’m still able to keep track of the plotting events, and often surprise myself at my ability to recall very, very specific facts from previous drafts

-I don’t chart-my publishers wish I did, but I don’t.
-I think in the shower and very late at night-I’m not such a good sleeper.
-I know that I’m on to something when I begin to dream it.

Q. Was there a scene (or part of the book) that you enjoyed writing more than others?
A. A lot of the stuff about Seth pleased me. Also it’s fun for me to re-visit the New York City world that was mine for almost 15 years.

Q. There is something about the name of the main character that I find very appealing. How did you come up with Decker Roberts?
A. Do you know Blade Runner? Check out Blade Runner and you’ll see at least the origin of his first name.

Q. Have you started work on your next book?
A. Second book in The Junction Chronicles: A Murder of Crows is complete and with the publisher. Two other books (a sub series) called Seth’s Dream are also pretty much completed.



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