I'm trying to recall a book that I read as a paperback somewhere in the 1995-2005 timeframe.

  • Protagonist is a genius, exhibits some spectrum behaviors
  • Protagonist's life is deeply affected when, as a child, his brother is kidnapped and murdered; possibly living in Concord, Massachusetts at the time
  • Protagonist grows up fascinated with criminal forensics
  • Protagonist creates recording lie detector technology through which everyone's life is recorded 24x7 from their viewpoint
  • Recording lie detection becomes both mandatory and discoverable as evidence
  • This recording lie detector technology revolutionizes criminal forensics and ushers in a golden age where crime drops precipitously

Near the end of the book, the unscrupulous business partner of the protagonist threatens to blackmail protagonist with knowledge of a crime protagonist had committed years ago; protagonist chooses to murder the partner, taking advantage of a backdoor protagonist had left in the recording lie detector technology to allow it to be evaded.

Any help identifying the book would be greatly appreciated!

[Edit: Following @JoeL.'s correct answer, I corrected the question so as to not to be misleading for future searchers. Mea culpa!]

  • The description reminds me of James Halperin's The Truth Machine, although the tech there is an infallable lie detector.
    – Joe L.
    Jul 31, 2015 at 21:04
  • @JoeL., that's exactly it. I don't know how I confuzzled 'recording device' with 'lie detector', but that's definitely the story I was looking for. Could you enter that as an answer so I can accept it?
    – gowenfawr
    Aug 1, 2015 at 0:32
  • Done and done. I'm surprised, but glad to help.
    – Joe L.
    Aug 1, 2015 at 5:14

1 Answer 1


This is James Halperin's 1996 thought experiment/novel The Truth Machine.

from the Amazon link:

It is the year 2004. Violent crime is the number one political issue in America. Now, the Swift and Sure Anti-Crime Bill guarantees a previously convicted violent criminal one fair trial, one quick appeal, then immediate execution. To prevent abuse of the law, a machine must be built that detects lies with 100 percent accuracy.

Once perfected, the Truth Machine will change the face of the world. Yet the race to finish the Truth Machine forces one man to commit a shocking act of treachery, burdening him with a dark secret that collides with everything he believes in. Now he must conceal the truth from his own creation . . . or face his execution.

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