You may recall that his book "Flashforward" was adapted into a TV series. The show departed radically from the book, but that's to be expected. I got the sense from this new book that he got a taste of Hollywood and wants to go back. I say this because the book starts like an episode of "24" or some manner of political suspense novel. Terrorist attacks across the country going on for a couple of years. Major landmarks destroyed. The President has a horrible secret plan to stop them for good. Then a conspiracy within the Secret Service puts a sniper's bullet in him while speaking on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial followed by blowing up the White House! dunt. Dunt! DUUUUUUUN! t.
This is a serious departure from Sawyer's normal fare. Typically he's more into copying brains into computers, reversing the aging process, mind swaps, that sort of thing. And as the book progresses you see the old Robert J Sawyer come out to play. The President is being treated at a hospital just one floor removed from an experiment to go into a soldier's head and fix his PTSD. The EMP resulting from the bomb at the White House causes the field enveloping the soldier's head to expand for a brief moment and cause 24 people within that field to be able to read the minds of another. As in person 1 reads the memories, but not the thoughts, of person 2. Person 2 reads the memories of person 3. Person 3 reads the thoughts of person 4. And on like that. And yes, that means someone can read the mind of the President of the United States.
While the main plot continues, the story settles down into the lives of the connected. One guy can read the mind of a woman who was molested as a child even though she can't remember it herself. One black Secret Service agent can read the mind of a racist old woman. A doctor can read the mind of a nurse who has turned to drugs to escape her life with her abusive husband and secretly has a crush on the doctor. Two others end up in a relationship because she now knows what he likes in bed and can enjoy the memories of being him in bed. And the President getting an attack of PTSD because he's linked to the soldier who was the subject of the original experience.
Of course, eventually someone has to find out what the President has planned and it must be stopped before the book ends.
If you're a James Patterson lover I think this book would be a good jumping point to Robert J Sawyer. Mind you, I haven't read any James Patterson so I'm going off of what I think James Patterson writes. This is definitely a good place if you're a fan of shows like "24".