The Placebo Agenda

Fiction - Thriller - Conspiracy
530 Pages
Reviewed on 07/24/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

The Placebo Agenda by Forrest Jones is a fast-paced, action thriller that will make you sit on the edge of your seat. Street Brewer is a reporter who joined a startup as a reporter. For Street, this was a good opportunity for him to make a comfortable enough living to be satisfied. Nothing was too challenging for him until Street was asked to go to Venezuela for a new story. He was the perfect person for the job, having already lived in Caracas before. However, setting foot in the country proved to be far more dangerous than he expected. Street was somehow a magnet for trouble, and it became worse when a stranger warned him to run for his life. However, Street could not run: he had a story to unfold and crimes to report. Would it cost him his life? Or was Street going to stop a war from ravaging a country?

Author Forrest Jones opened the story with a bang and introduced readers to a lot of suspense. The identity of the poor American woman was hidden for a reason, and readers get to explore that idea as the story progresses. I loved how the author never lets the pace slow down a smidge. The pace was fast, the narrative was immersive, and the overall feel of the story was great. I felt like I was reading the screenplay for an action movie. Street was just as interesting as his name, and he lived up to the hype the author built around him. From the moment Street was introduced, he had my attention. The descriptions of Venezuela, the political tension, the civil unrest, and the descriptions of the desperation Street felt were so real, I felt it. The Placebo Agenda was an incredible journey that I would recommend to everyone!

Divine Zape

The Placebo Agenda: A Novel by Forrest Jones is an excellent book for readers who enjoy thrillers, crime novels with intrigue and strong political themes, and stories told in gorgeous prose. The story begins with a naked American woman running through a dangerous alley. She is running away from her captors after uncovering a deadly secret. When she runs into another gang, she pleads that a member of that gang gets a message to a writer, Street Brewer, before throwing herself under the front right tire of an arriving bus and getting killed.

When Street Brewer arrives in Venezuela for a news interview, he immediately understands that things are not what they seem. Tailed by a shadowy foreigner, dogged by the police, and warned by a mysterious woman to get the hell out of there, Street is ready to play the deadly game because he has powerful secrets buried in the Florida Everglades that can destroy his enemies. This is a tale of political corruption and the protagonist is out to expose a conspiracy and a political scheme set to destroy Venezuela. The corruption involves levels of power but through Street’s smart work, the presidency of Venezuela might just be saved.

Forrest Jones is a top-tier storyteller who creates characters that readers stick with, plot points that are solid, and a setting that comes vividly to life before the mental gaze of readers. The Placebo Agenda is a thrilling and addictive novel with a protagonist who only gets better and better at what he does. Forrest Jones knows how to create atmospheric scenes and pulse-pounding action, the ingredients that establish the strength of a good crime thriller with a hefty dose of intrigue.

Christian Sia

If you’re looking for a thriller, the kind of story that puts you on the edge of your seat, then The Placebo Agenda by Forrest Jones is a must-read. The story starts in the middle of a disturbing situation, with a naked American woman running away from danger into a gang that seems to have an affiliation with her pursuer. But before she dies of her wounds, she makes sure that the one known as Boston gets a note for Street Brewer. The piece of paper might save Venezuela. When writer Street Brewer makes his way to Venezuela for an interview for a news story, a lot of things begin to happen, including an unusual interest in him by the police, a strange foreigner that stalks him, and a shadowy woman asking him to run for his life. But Street is a smart guy who uses his wits to stay ahead of whatever is following him. He is about to expose a crime like no other, and in a way that will protect the presidency of Venezuela.

The Placebo Agenda is immersive, a story with robust and likable characters. The first thing that strikes the reader is the setting and how it affects the characters. From the beginning, the American woman with a stunning discovery runs into a world where policemen are even afraid to go. A sense of danger is embedded in the society that the characters navigate. Things are not always what they seem in the world that Forrest Jones has created. His characters come from political worlds and are written with strong backgrounds, from Street to Olivia Crawford, to Domínguez, Brent, Roman, and many others. This is a novel about investigative journalism and how an intelligent and relentless journalist can change the political tide of a nation. The Placebo Agenda has a captivating plot, twisty and fast-paced, a rich conflict that grows in magnitude as one reads. The writing is stellar and the storytelling exceptional. A perfect read for fans of political thrillers with a lot of intrigue and with strong social and political settings.

Romuald Dzemo

The Placebo Agenda by Forrest Jones opens with a compelling premise: an American woman runs through a dangerous alley, naked, wounded, and shouting for help. She has discovered a horrible secret and the fate of Venezuela depends on it. Someone is after her to make sure she is dead. Mustering all her strength, she succeeds in passing on a cryptic message through a gang member for a writer in Miami. The writer is Street Brewer, and when he lands in Venezuela for a news interview, a lot of bad things start happening. He is followed by a stranger who seemingly has no good reason to follow him, the police take an interest in him, and a mysterious woman warns him that his life is in danger. Follow him as he works hard to expose a deadly scheme that is about to sink a nation and change the geopolitical climate in the region. Always a step ahead of his enemies, Street is poised for something that is explosive. Will he succeed with danger getting closer and closer?

An atmospheric, suspenseful thriller that is as twisty as it is engaging, The Placebo Agenda contains the key elements that readers look for in a good story — superior characterization, robust plot points, a strong conflict that moves the story forward, great writing, and a setting that is realistic. The story opens with a disturbing incident that arouses the interest of readers. I wanted to know what happened to the characters and what happens next. I especially wanted to know the secret scheme against Venezuela. The author introduces compelling characters with strong political and criminal backgrounds and I wanted to find out how each of them evolves in the story, including the President of Venezuela. Forrest Jones is a great storyteller and he has the ability to get readers deeply interested in his characters.

Vincent Dublado

The Placebo Agenda resembles those well-made films that tackle corruption and government mistrust. Author Forrest Jones knows how to keep the tension running so that you stick with the main protagonist, Street Brewer, from start to finish. The novel’s opening is off to a good start with an American blonde draped in nothing but a silk sheet running for her life in the slums of Venezuela. Fortunate enough to scrawl a message and order a teenage gang that she stumbles upon to get the note to a young writer in Miami, the writer in question is none other than Brewer who works for a startup publication. Brewer didn’t ask for it, but he is about to get entangled in a large-scale conspiracy and corruption that involves the Venezuelan government and an oil and gas company that makes even the CIA’s blood run cold.

The plot thickens beautifully. Forrest Jones not only has a handful of spine-tingling ideas that he spins out for more than 500 pages, but he also has a brilliant plot twist. You can expect that it will not be easy for Brewer for on the top of the rogues' list is the Venezuelan president who, like Hugo Chavez, has an adversarial attitude toward the United States. You can see the storyline’s sophistication as Brewer digs deeper. For him, it becomes a matter of competence and pride as he puts his life on the line and others are placed in grave danger as he gets closer to the truth. The juxtaposition of corruption and patriotism registers well with Jones’s three-dimensional characters. You truly believe that they all have a likeness in the real world. Best of all, The Placebo Agenda contains brilliance in its genre. You share the excitement of figuring out who gets the last laugh and how everything will turn out for Brewer. As a passive witness, you will enjoy reading this high-octane thriller.