Fool Me Once

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Fool Me Once

No one writes psychological thrillers like Harlen Coben. This story is just the type of novel we’ve come to expect from Coben with the trademark plot twist and the dark examination of humanity, while creating some of the most evil characters in popular fiction.

Maya took the honorable discharge after a controversial decision in Iraq becomes public knowledge. Back home, she deals with the PTSD that plagues her, while settling into civilian life with her husband, Joe, and her two year old daughter, Lily. But, her life takes yet another cruel twist when Joe is killed in a senseless robbery not long after her sister, Claire, also died in a violent way. Coincidence? I think not.

Of course, things aren’t what they appear on the surface, and Maya is soon caught up in a bizarre cat and mouse game involving her rich in-laws, while trying to find the connection between Joe and Claire’s death.

Anytime I have the opportunity to read a novel by Harlen Coben I consider it a challenge. Because I read so much, I have developed an ability to read plot lines much easier and as a result, have become a little jaded. However, Mr. Coben has always given me a run for my money, so I like to savor his novels, read them slowly and carefully, wondering if I will ever manage to find a shortcut through one his clever mazes.

Was I foiled again? I’m afraid so.

This story has multiple moral dilemmas, and is one of those novels in which all the characters are complex, and untrustworthy, including Maya, who is an enigma, due to her murky military history, but, despite the scandal and controversy surrounding her, ultimately I rooted for her, and admired her strength, courage, and her intelligence, most of all.

The only downside here is the rocky way the nanny cam is introduced, which felt contrived, and that the tone remains gloomy and tense from beginning to end, with little or no humor sprinkled in, which would have provided a little relief from the depressing atmosphere.

Taken at face value, however, this is an excellent thriller, packed with taut, edgy suspense, and is certainly entertaining, keeping me fully engaged from start to finish. What more can you ask for?

But, if you want to dig a little deeper, this story provides an interesting character study and one that left me feeling a little conflicted. I hoped the truth would set everyone free and in a bizarre way it did just that, but not in a way I ever would have imagined proving that pat, black and white answers are rare. What choices you make can and will come back to haunt you but are they entirely wrong? Are there extenuating circumstances? Is there a way to even the score? Maybe we all carry a little darkness in our souls or maybe we just want to see justice done the way we think is should be, and maybe heroism comes in many forms. You be the judge.

Because this is a stand- alone, anyone who loves a good old fashioned mind game with plenty of chills and thrills should give this one a try. I don’t think you will be disappointed.


Book Blurb for Fool Me Once

#1 New York Times bestseller Harlan Coben delivers his next impossible-to-put-down thriller.

In the course of eight consecutive #1 New York Times bestsellers, millions of readers have discovered Harlan Coben’s page-turning thrillers, filled with his trademark edge-of-your-seat suspense and gut-wrenching emotion. In Fool Me Once, Coben once again outdoes himself.

Former special ops pilot Maya, home from the war, sees an unthinkable image captured by her nanny cam while she is at work: her two-year-old daughter playing with Maya’s husband, Joe—who had been brutally murdered two weeks earlier. The provocative question at the heart of the mystery: Can you believe everything you see with your own eyes, even when you desperately want to? To find the answer, Maya must finally come to terms with deep secrets and deceit in her own past before she can face the unbelievable truth about her husband—and herself.


Night Owl Reviews Mar, 2016 4.50