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The Placebo Effect

(Junction Chronicles #1)

3.15  ·  Rating details ·  134 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Decker Roberts has the dangerous gift of detecting the truth (synaesthesia). But when his carefully compartmentalized life starts to fall apart he has to go on the run and figure out why he’s being targeted. There’s also a government agency hunting him down who seems to know everything about him and other people of “his kind.” How will Decker find out which truth was endan ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published 2012 by Simon & Schuster
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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
Four and a half stars

The 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
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 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
Sarah (Workaday Reads)
Nov 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Patricia Bergman
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.
Abria Mattina
Dec 17, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc, review-2012
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
Mar 05, 2013 rated it did not like it
“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 wi
Suzanne Tremblay
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
Mark Edlund
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
I would say more like 3.5 stars. The plot is staged in Toronto but even as someone who works in Toronto there parts with so much detail that I was lost. The book also makes a lot of references to other things which you can get lost in while reading the story. Interesting plot but the story wasn’t what I expected, it was okay but I wasn’t that into it.
Nov 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime, thriller
I imagine being a human lie detector would have its perks. It would sure help figuring out who left the milk out on the kitchen counter! Sorry. Pet peeve. It'd have its drawbacks, too. I just wouldn't have put money on one of those drawbacks being NSA agents chasing you down. That's one of Decker Roberts' big problems, but it's one of many.

Decker is an acting coach, but his real gift comes from the strange ability to literally see whether people are telling the truth through visual cues when his
Feb 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I get stuck from time to time when I'm reading. Sometimes I can't seem to get enough romance, then I start reading paranormal and can't seem to get enough of that genre, right now I seem to be stuck with mystery, with each mystery/suspense/thriller novel they seem to keep getting better and better. David Rotenberg has a written a great novel, it captured my interest right away, from the very first chapter and I couldn't seem to put it down until I had closed the back cover.

I was provided by Sim
Nov 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: won-free-books
Well first off, I would like to thank Goodreads First Reads for an advance copy of this book.

Unfortunately I did not enjoy this book as much as I had hoped to. I thought that the concept was intriguing so I was really looking forward to it, and overall it was alright - certainly not bad - but I never got to the point where I can truly say I liked the book.

I did really like that the author is Canadian, and there were a sufficient number of Canadian and hockey references which I thoroughly enjoye
Jul 15, 2013 rated it liked it
The problem with writing a review on this ebook (I read the ePub version) is that I got the ebook a year ago, almost exactly to the day, and started it twice at least. I suppose that should be a sign that it wasn't quite good enough to hold my attention. But the interruptions were for one reason or another, and I was interrupted recently because a library ebook I put on hold last March finally became available and I had to read it before it was due. I decided not to start The Placebo Effect from ...more
Aug 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Denise by: 77
Shelves: first-reads
Full disclosure: I was chosen a First Reads winner, and received a paperback copy of The Placebo Effect in the mail. That in no way influenced the review that follows.

I absolutely LOVED this book. I found it to be intelligently written and terribly well crafted. Decker Roberts, the main character, is an acting teacher and director who has the ability to tell when people are telling the truth. I found him to be a fascinating character (and not only because I have worked as a professional director
Nov 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
In compliance with FTC guidelines, I disclose that I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads!!!
( thanks Simon & Schuster Canada!)

Our MC, Decker Roberts, has the unique ability to 'see' if someone is telling him the truth. Because of this unique gift, how he acquired it, and who else has acquired similar gifts, everyone is after him. This book had so many unique characters in it, a sneaky pharmaceutical company with a dirty head honcho, a hot national service agency agent keeping
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, suspense
I won a copy of "The Placebo Effect" by David Rotenberg through the Goodreads Giveaway Contest.This book was a real thriller.I was gripped by this story right from the beginning and couldn't put it down.

Decker Roberts is an actor teacher that has the ability to tell when someone's telling the truth.His best friend, Eddie sets up assignments with large corporations that are willing to pay Decker large sums of money for detecting if the people they are planning to hire are truthful.Decker maintain
Aug 12, 2013 rated it liked it
A pretty enjoyable ride.

Decker Roberts can tell the truth — that is, he can tell when somebody else is being truthful. Of course, that makes him rather important to a lot of people, including the American NSA.

Roberts also has a talent for teaching actors — even though he isn't an actor himself. Apparently these abilities are somewhat related, but it's never really explained.

The story centers around an online community of "synaesthetes" — people whose senses are somehow intertwined, so that they
Aug 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads

The Placebo Effect (Book 1 The Junction Chronicles)
By: David Rotenberg Thriller
Publisher: Simon & Schuster 2012
Pages 339.
Copy Courtesy of Goodreads First Read
Reviewed by: tk

Decker is a man of special talents. He can tell you whether or not a person is tell the truth. An amazing talent that is wanted by everyone in business, the military, or the guy next door. Decker likes to keep a low profile, and his life private. He is employed by companies that are concerned about the truthfulness of the cli
Oct 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
I won the 2nd book in the series in a Goodreads giveaway, and the publisher was kind enough to also inlcude the 1st book.

I am fairly new at reading the science fiction genre, but I am finding as long as the books don't focus too much on explaining the actual science, I am quite enjoying them. This book is more of a paranormal/special abilities type book. In someways similar to Stephen King's Firestarter. Although how/why the characters have their special abilites is not fully explained. (which
Jun 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: won
I love reading Canadian fiction so I was happy to win a copy of this book on goodreads. It takes place in Canada and the US and follows the adventures of Decker Roberts, a Toronto man with the gift of telling if someone is lying or not. Throughout the story many people are chasing Decker, including Islan (and NSA agent), lawyers and the CEO of a multinational drug company. Decker spends most of his time on the run trying to sort out his life.

The characters in the book are interesting (while a li
Well, sadly, I did not care for this book. I found the writing to be very choppy, and the story line to not mesh well. The sentence structure was hard to get through. It did not read well. I was constantly having to go back and read sentences after I had already read them, thinking "Wait, what the heck did that just say?"

The plot was ok, it could have been better played out. I was bored at times. There seemed to be a lot of "fluff" in this book. There was a lot of information, and even characte
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
It took me about 7 chapters before I finally became interested in the book. The story's format jumps from one character's situation to the next. Until I learned more about the characters and how they relate to one another, I didn't feel the need to finish the book. I'm glad I stuck with the book, though. Although I can't personally relate to any of the characters, I found the characters to be interesting, once more of their backgrounds were revealed. The fast paced action was exhilirating and ke ...more
Not bad. It was alright.

For me the writing was fairly bland, while technically adequate it had zero creativity or prose. I heard the voice but there was nothing rememberable about it; no strength, lyric or individuality.

In contrast the story’s concept was very interesting and given the right kind of support through details. I appreciate the reality of the subtle political undertones. I really particular like this novel’s kind of content so the mediocre writing is redeemed making it a decent, ea
Jan 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received a free copy of this book thanks to Goodreads and Simon & Chuster.

I found the book intriguing and surprising at the same time, so I would recommend it.

Because of the excessive number of characters, it was quite hard to remember what each person did or said at first, and his/her connection to Decker Roberts. After getting familiar with the names of most of them, the story started to interest me a lot more.

My favourite part: When Roberts realized (and me as well!) the connection between
Jan 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I recieved this book as part of Goodreads First Reads Giveaways. I have not read a lot of books by Canadian authors, so as a Canadian I was excited to have recieved this book. It was refreshing to read about places that I've been and/or at least heard about, and the Canadian "humour" made me chuckle in spots. The plot is interesting, to say the least, and there is plenty of action and suspense. I am looking forward to reading the other books in this series, and also will read some of Rotenberg's ...more
Colleen Coleman
Nov 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was a really good book! As I read the last words I said out loud "Good Story". I had won "A Murder of Crows" from Goodreads and this one was also included. I made the mistake of reading "a Murder" first so the events were out of order. Both books were hard to put down. Mr. Rotenberg is an excellent story teller and I look forward to the next book in "The Junction" to find out what is going to happen next! ...more
*Thanks to Goodreads Giveaways/Simon and Schuster Canada for this complimentary copy!*

Not a bad story line, but I found it confusing at times. There were also a handful of characters that didn't have a strong part in the book, but were repeatedly mentioned. It was hard to remember who they were. Liked that it took place in an area of Toronto that I've visited, so I did recognize a lot of the street names and landmarks. 2.5 stars.
Nov 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
The Placebo Effect sounded like an interesting read so I entered the Giveaway and to my delight I was a winner! :) I enjoyed this book as my curiosity was trying to figure out what what happened to Decker Roberts. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed that one event was not fully explained guess I will have to wait for the next book to see if it is explained then. :)
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Chilling Thrillers: THE PLACEBO EFFECT by David Rotenberg 3 19 Aug 14, 2012 04:28PM  
Book One of the Junction Chronicles 1 9 Nov 23, 2011 03:57PM  

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David Rotenberg has been a master acting teacher for over 20 years. He has directed on Broadway, in many major regional 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 film.

David has taught at York University, the National Theatre Sc

Other books in the series

Junction Chronicles (3 books)
  • A Murder of Crows (Junction Chronicles, #2)
  • The Glass House (Junction Chronicles, #3)

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