True Believer

True Believer

by Nicholas Sparks


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781455571666
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 09/13/2016
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 22,915
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

With over 100 million copies of his books sold, Nicholas Sparks is one of the world's most beloved storytellers. His novels include fifteen #1 New York Times bestsellers, and all of his books, including Three Weeks with My Brother, the memoir he wrote with his brother, Micah, have been New York Times and international bestsellers, and were translated into more than fifty languages. Eleven of Nicholas Sparks's novels—The Choice, The Longest Ride, The Best of Me, Safe Haven, The Lucky One, The Last Song, Dear John, Nights in Rodanthe, The Notebook, A Walk to Remember, and Message in a Bottle—have been adapted into major motion pictures.


New Bern, North Carolina

Date of Birth:

December 31, 1965

Place of Birth:

Omaha, Nebraska


B.A. in finance, University of Notre Dame, 1988

Read an Excerpt

True Believer

By Nicholas Sparks

Warner Books

Copyright © 2005 Nicholas Sparks
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-446-53243-6

Chapter One

Jeremy Marsh sat with the rest of the live studio audience, feeling unusually conspicuous. He was one of only half a dozen men in attendance on that mid-December afternoon. He'd dressed in black, of course, and with his dark wavy hair, light blue eyes, and fashionable stubble, he looked every bit the New Yorker that he was. While studying the guest onstage, he managed to surreptitiously watch the attractive blonde three rows up. His profession often demanded effective multitasking. He was an investigative journalist in pursuit of a story, and the blonde was just another member of the audience; still, the professional observer in him couldn't help noticing how attractive she looked in her halter top and jeans. Journalistically speaking, that is.

Clearing his mind, he tried to focus his attention on the guest again. This guy was beyond ridiculous. In the glare of television lights, Jeremy thought the spirit guide looked constipated as he claimed to hear voices from beyond the grave. He had assumed a false intimacy, acting as if he were everyone's brother or best friend, and it seemed that the vast majority of the awestruck audience-including the attractive blonde and the woman the guest was addressing-considered him a gift from heaven itself. Which made sense, Jeremy thought, since that was always where the lost loved ones ended up. Spirits from beyond the grave were always surrounded by bright angelic light and enveloped in an aura of peace and tranquillity. Never once had Jeremy heard of a spirit guide channeling from the other, hotter place. A lost loved one never mentioned that he was being roasted on a spit or boiled in a cauldron of motor oil, for instance. But Jeremy knew he was being cynical. And besides, he had to admit, it was a pretty good show. Timothy Clausen was good-far better than most of the quacks Jeremy had written about over the years.

"I know it's hard," Clausen said into the microphone, "but Frank is telling you that it's time to let him go now."

The woman he was addressing with oh-so-much empathy looked as if she was about to faint. Fiftyish, she wore a green-striped blouse, her curly red hair sprouting and spiraling in every direction. Her hands were clasped so tightly at chest level that her fingers were white from the pressure.

Clausen paused and brought his hand to his forehead, drawing once more on "the world beyond," as he put it. In the silence, the crowd collectively leaned forward in their seats. Everyone knew what was coming next; this was the third audience member Clausen had chosen today. Not surprisingly, Clausen was the only featured guest on the popular talk show.

"Do you remember the letter he sent you?" Clausen asked. "Before he died?"

The woman gasped. The crewman beside her held the microphone even closer so that everyone watching on television would be able to hear her clearly.

"Yes, but how could you know about-?" she stammered.

Clausen didn't let her finish. "Do you remember what it said?" he asked.

"Yes," the woman croaked.

Clausen nodded, as if he'd read the letter himself. "It was about forgiveness, wasn't it?"

On the couch, the hostess of the show, the most popular afternoon talk show in America, swiveled her gaze from Clausen to the woman and back again. She looked both amazed and satisfied. Spirit guides were always good for ratings.

As the woman in the audience nodded, Jeremy noticed mascara beginning to stream down her cheeks. The cameras zoomed in to show it more clearly. Daytime television at its dramatic best.

"But how could you ...?" the woman repeated.

"He was talking about your sister, too," Clausen murmured. "Not just himself."

The woman stared at Clausen transfixed.

"Your sister Ellen," Clausen added, and with that revelation, the woman finally let loose a raspy cry. Tears burst forth like an automated sprinkler. Clausen-tan and trim in his black suit with nary a hair out of place-continued to nod like one of those bobbing dogs you stick on your dashboard. The audience gazed at the woman in utter silence.

"Frank left something else for you, didn't he? Something from your past."

In spite of the hot studio lights, the woman actually seemed to pale. In the corner of the set, beyond the general viewing area, Jeremy saw the producer rotating an upraised finger in a helicopter pattern. It was getting close to the commercial break. Clausen glanced almost imperceptibly in that direction. No one but Jeremy seemed to notice, and he often wondered why viewers never questioned how channeling from the spirit world could be timed so perfectly to fit with commercial breaks.

Clausen went on. "That no one else could know about. A key of some sort, is that right?"

The sobs continued as the woman nodded.

"You never thought he'd save it, did you?"

Okay, here's the clincher, Jeremy thought. Another true believer on the way.

"It's from the hotel where you stayed on your honeymoon. He put it there so that when you found it, you would remember the happy times you spent together. He doesn't want you to remember him with pain, because he loves you."

"Ooohhhhhhh ...," the woman cried.

Or something like that. A moan perhaps. From where he was sitting Jeremy couldn't be certain, because the cry was interrupted by sudden, enthusiastic applause. All at once, the microphone was pulled away. Cameras zoomed out. Her moment in the sun completed, the woman from the audience collapsed in her seat. On cue, the hostess stood from the couch and faced the camera.

"Remember that what you're seeing is real. None of these people have ever met with Timothy Clausen." She smiled. "We'll be back with one more reading after this."

More applause as the show broke for commercials, and Jeremy leaned back in his seat.

As an investigative journalist known for his interest in science, he'd made a career out of writing about people like this. Most of the time, he enjoyed what he did and took pride in his work as a valuable public service, in a profession so special as to have its rights enumerated in the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. For his regular column in Scientific American, he'd interviewed Nobel laureates, explained the theories of Stephen Hawking and Einstein in lay terms, and had once been credited with sparking the groundswell of public opinion that led the FDA to remove a dangerous antidepressant from the market. He'd written extensively about the Cassini project, the faulty mirror on the lens of the Hubble spacecraft, and had been one of the first to publicly decry the Utah cold fusion experiment as a fraud.

Unfortunately, as impressive as it sounded, his column didn't pay much. It was the freelance work that paid most of his bills, and like all freelancers, he was always hustling to come up with stories that would interest magazine or newspaper editors. His niche had broadened to include "anything unusual," and in the past fifteen years, he'd researched and investigated psychics, spirit guides, faith healers, and mediums. He'd exposed frauds, hoaxes, and forgeries. He'd visited haunted houses, searched for mystical creatures, and hunted for the origins of urban legends. Skeptical by nature, he also had the rare ability to explain difficult scientific concepts in a way the average reader could understand, and his articles had appeared in hundreds of newspapers and magazines around the world. Scientific debunking, he felt, was both noble and important, even if the public didn't always appreciate it. Frequently, the mail he received after publishing his freelance articles was peppered with words like "idiot," "moron," and his personal favorite, "government flunky."

Investigative journalism, he'd come to learn, was a thankless business.

Reflecting on this with a frown, he observed the audience chatting eagerly, wondering who would be chosen next. Jeremy stole another glance at the blonde, who was examining her lipstick in a hand mirror.

Jeremy already knew that the people chosen by Clausen weren't officially part of the act, even though Clausen's appearance was announced in advance and people had fought wildly for tickets to the show. Which meant, of course, that the audience was loaded with life-after-death believers. To them, Clausen was legitimate. How else could he know such personal things about strangers, unless he talked to spirits? But like any good magician who had his repertoire down pat, the illusion was still an illusion, and right before the show, Jeremy not only had figured out how he was pulling it off, but had the photographic evidence to prove it.

Bringing down Clausen would be Jeremy's biggest coup to date, and it served the guy right. Clausen was the worst kind of con man. And yet the pragmatic side of Jeremy also realized that this was the kind of story that rarely came along, and he wanted to make the most of it. Clausen, after all, was on the cusp of enormous celebrity, and in America, celebrity was all that mattered. Though he knew the odds were utterly improbable, he fantasized about what would happen if Clausen actually picked him next. He didn't expect it; being chosen was akin to winning the trifecta at Santa Anita; and even if it didn't happen, Jeremy knew he'd still have a quality story. But quality and extraordinary were often separated by simple twists of fate, and as the commercial break ended, he felt the slightest twinge of unjustified hope that somehow Clausen would zero in on him.

And, as if God himself wasn't exactly thrilled with what Clausen was doing, either, that was exactly what happened.

Three weeks later, winter in Manhattan was bearing down hard. A front from Canada had moved in, dropping temperatures to nearly zero, and plumes of steam rose steadily from the sewer grates before settling over the icy sidewalks. Not that anyone seemed to mind. New York's hardy citizens displayed their usual indifference to all things weather-related, and Friday nights were not to be wasted under any circumstance. People worked too hard during the week to waste an evening out, especially when there was reason to celebrate. Nate Johnson and Alvin Bernstein had already been celebrating for an hour, as had a couple of dozen friends and journalists-some from Scientific American-who'd assembled in Jeremy's honor. Most were well into the buzz phase of the evening and enjoying themselves immensely, mostly because journalists tended to be budget-conscious and Nate was picking up the tab.

Nate was Jeremy's agent. Alvin, a freelance cameraman, was Jeremy's best friend, and they'd gathered at the trendy bar on the Upper West Side to celebrate Jeremy's appearance on ABC's Primetime Live. Commercials for Primetime Live had been airing that week-most of them featuring Jeremy front and center and the promise of a major exposé-and interview requests were pouring into Nate's office from around the country. Earlier that afternoon, People magazine had called, and an interview was scheduled for the following Monday morning.

There hadn't been enough time to organize a private room for the get-together, but no one seemed to mind. With its long granite bar and dramatic lighting, the packed facility was yuppieville. While the journalists from Scientific American tended to wear tweed sport jackets with pocket protectors and were crowded into one corner of the room discussing photons, most of the other patrons looked as if they'd dropped by after finishing up at work on Wall Street or Madison Avenue: Italian suit jackets slung over the backs of chairs, Hermès ties loosened, men who seemed to want to do nothing more than to scope out the women in attendance while flashing their Rolexes. Women straight from work in publishing and advertising were dressed in designer skirts and impossibly high heels, sipping flavored martinis while pretending to ignore the men. Jeremy himself had his eye on a tall redhead standing at the other end of the bar who appeared to be glancing his way. He wondered if she recognized him from the television ads, or whether she just wanted some company. She turned away, apparently uninterested, but then looked his way again. With her gaze lingering just a little longer this time, Jeremy raised his glass.

"C'mon, Jeremy, pay attention," Nate said, nudging him with his elbow. "You're on TV! Don't you want to see how you did?"

Jeremy turned from the redhead. Glancing up at the screen, he saw himself sitting opposite Diane Sawyer. Strange, he thought, like being in two places at once. It still didn't seem quite real. Nothing in the past three weeks had seemed real, despite his years in media.

On-screen, Diane was describing him as "America's most esteemed scientific journalist." Not only had the story turned out to be everything he'd wanted, but Nate was even talking to Primetime Live about Jeremy doing regular stories for them with a possibility of additional features on Good Morning America. Though many journalists believed television was less important than other, more serious forms of reporting, it didn't stop most of them from secretly viewing television as the Holy Grail, by which they meant big money. Despite the congratulations, envy was in the air, a sensation as foreign to Jeremy as space travel. After all, journalists of his stripe weren't exactly at the top of the media pecking order-until today.

"Did she just call you esteemed?" Alvin asked. "You write about Bigfoot and the legend of Atlantis!"

"Shh," Nate said, his eyes glued to the television. "I'm trying to hear this. It could be important for Jeremy's career." As Jeremy's agent, Nate was forever promoting events that "could be important for Jeremy's career," for the simple reason that freelancing wasn't all that lucrative. Years earlier, when Nate was starting out, Jeremy had pitched a book proposal, and they'd been working together ever since, simply because they'd become friends.

"Whatever," Alvin said, dismissing the scolding.

Meanwhile, flickering on the screen behind Diane Sawyer and Jeremy were the final moments of Jeremy's performance on the daytime television show, in which Jeremy had pretended to be a man grieving the boyhood death of his brother, a boy Clausen claimed to be channeling for Jeremy's benefit.

"He's with me," Clausen could be heard announcing. "He wants you to let him go, Thad." The picture shifted to capture Jeremy's rendition of an anguished guest, his face contorted. Clausen nodded in the background, either oozing sympathy or looking constipated, depending on the perspective.

"Your mother never changed his room-the room you shared with him. She insisted that it be kept unchanged, and you still had to sleep there," Clausen went on.

"Yes," Jeremy gasped.


Excerpted from True Believer by Nicholas Sparks Copyright © 2005 by Nicholas Sparks . Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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True Believer 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 631 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i had a countdown of the days til 'true believer' came out in stores. i bought it and was immediately immersed in it. when i was down the shore this weekend, i never left my room, racing to satisfy my thirst of nicholas sparks' romance, but slowing myself just enough so i could enjoy it. 'true believer' has many turns and twists - and although some of sparks' books can be somewhat predictable- this one was different. i was extremely pleased.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
 The PW description seduced me into thinking it was a story about journalist investigating mysterious lights. It isn't. The lights serve only to get Our Hero to the place where he meets cliched smart beautiful librarian, so that he can ultimately embrace the charms of rural life. Now, just about every romance formula is done over and over, and if it is done well, I enjoy it over and over. I did not think this was done well. The characters were all surface; there was no apparent reason for Hero to fall for this particular woman or she for him (except that pickings are slim in a very small town). And it struck me as being purely anti-modernist/technological -- a tiny backwater town equated with all that is good.This is a delightful novel. I liked the setting, because it is an area of NC I know quite well. As with many of Sparks' novels, any twists or turns in the plot are resolved, usually positively. Reading about good things vs action and killing is refreshing.It seems every book I read gets better and better. I love anything and everything that Nicholas Sparks comes out with. I love the fact that he takes me inside the books and I can't help but to read on. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I always love a nicholas sparks book, & he's done it again!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Y would u hate itiloveit
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So I didn't know that At First Sight was a sequel to this book and read that one first. I probably would have enjoyed this one a little more had I not known what was already going to happen. It was very slow for me in the beginning and I had a really hard time getting into it. It picked up a bit the last 100 pages or so. I would recommend reading this one first then reading At First Sight.
Anonymous 16 days ago
As always with Nicholas Sparks, a love story that every woman wishes was hers!
indygo88 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
It's been quite a while since I've read a Nicholas Sparks, so I'm not sure if my reading tastes have changed or if this one just wasn't up to par. It was an okay storyline, but very predictable & as another viewer stated, cliched. Maybe not so bad for a quick weekend or beach read, but nothing deep here.
countrylife on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Just a beach read, somewhat lame and predictable. A writer, whose best work involves debunking, is invited to come investigate mysterious lights in a cemetery in North Carolina, where a romance develops. I wasn¿t enamored of any of these characters, and can¿t abide stories where people fall in love with no other underlying attraction than looks. And speaking of that little problem, this was better than Twilight, but not by much.
sharlene_w on LibraryThing 7 months ago
The beginning of the book had me wondering if Nicholas Sparks was veering from his usual tale, but once the guy meets the girl, things are back into their predictable place. Sparks leaves the couple "happily ever after" but with a be continued in the next book, "At First Sight".
sallyawolf on LibraryThing 8 months ago
On a routine investigation of a weird phenomenon a scientific research writer finds more then he bargains for in the small town of Boon Creek. This book is all about love loss and the power of a community to look out for one of their own. I loved the sentiment of this book that true love can not be put in a box and studied scientifically. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes romance and the mysteries of small towns.
Katie_Dieleman on LibraryThing 8 months ago
"True Believer" was the first book by Nicholas Sparks that I had read and I instantly got attached. It was a truley an amazing novel and i couldn't wait to read the sequel. Jeremy Marsh is sent to a small town in North Carolina to investigate and do a report on ghosts in the cemetary. He meets Lexie Darnel and instantly falls for her. Drama comes their way in trying to break them up but does that stop them? Amazing Novel.I highly recommend reading "True Believer"
dbhutch on LibraryThing 8 months ago
In this book a sleepy little town in North Carolina has ¿Ghosts¿ Emery leaves his life and friends in New York to prove the ¿ghost lights¿ are something more than ghosts As he does he falls in love with Lexie and is amazed that he is that deeply in love with her only after days. This books another awesome and inspiring love story from Nicholas Sparks. This story continues in the book At First Sight.
ldenham on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A little too sappy for me - but that's Nicholas Sparks, I guess. I keep reading him and keep confirming that he's not my style. This one interested me because it involves a NY fellow finding himself in little Boone Creek, NC - and wanting to stay there with the local librarian, Lexie. But the ghost lights in the cemetary and diviner grandma...
bribre01 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A cute story, but somewhat predictable. This is the first Nicholas Sparks book I have read, and I really liked his writing style. I will be reading more of his work.
beckylynn on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Typical Nicholas Sparks book. For some reason I was drawn to this one because it advertised it as a kind of 'ghost hunter' book. Yeah, that doesn't have a whole lot to do with the plot. Speaking of plot- it's the same as every other book of his I've read. Two people fall in love, realize they can't be together for x reason, learn to live without each other, and then BAM something amazing happens and they all live happily ever after.
bellamia on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I am very disappointed in this book. I love Nicholas Sparks but this one, in my opinion, was not good. It took me awhile to get through it. I wanted to put it down but kept thinking it had to get better. It did...chapter 14. That didn't last long. I didn't like Lexie at all or the story line for that matter. She drove me crazy! I did like Jeremy's character but as for the book as a whole....very diappointing.
bhowell on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This book is truly awful, cliched, and predictable. The story could have been interesting but there are no surprises and the writing is so, well, bland. There isn't a single swear word in the book (not that this is required) but it is just an example of how the author sanitizes everything and in the result produces a vacuous boring read. It wouldn't challenge a ten year old.
ctmsnocr on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The book "True Believer" by Nicholas Sparks is about a boy named Jeremy Marsh who is a science journalist. His career is at the zenith after he shows his audience he is fooling a psychic. Now, he's heading to North Carolina to check out mysterious lights in an old cemetery. The mayor is hoping to boost tourism, so he welcomes Jeremy with the key to the town. Jeremy begins to enjoy the community and characters he meets there especially, a young woman named Lex.Before Jeremy knows what's happening, he's fallen for Lex, whose grandmother Doris sent the information that got Jeremy into this investigation in the first place.The big city journalist figures out what caused the spooky cemetery lights, but not all the town's mysteries. There's a love triangle. But Jeremy is a man who has the sense to forget science by which he has always lived when it comes to matters of the heart.
zohar on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Didn't like it all that much. Seemed contrived and clichéd.
Anonymous 8 months ago
I like it... on to book two
tinas37 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Good love story. Not as good as the Notebook or Message in a Bottle, but I enjoyed it nonetheless
picklechic on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I really enjoyed this book. It was a really simple, sweet story with complex, yet likeable characters. I enjoyed the mystery and romance involved. I was a tiny bit dissappointed that the end wasn't less predictable and I wish it had more plot resolution. Overall, a pretty good book, though.
bibliophile26 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I read the sequel first; I found this one to be smarmy and not as good, but that could be because I already knew the ending.
bookwormteri on LibraryThing 10 months ago
A little predictable, but heartwarming and enjoyable. A good book to cuddle up with on a stormy night.
kristicw on LibraryThing 10 months ago
A good love story. Nothing spectacular or unpredictable, but good enough.