*originally published on 03/21/2016
FOOL ME ONCE Written by Harlan Coben
2016; 400 Pages (Dutton)
Genre: suspense, mystery, thriller
(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY)
I have been reading Harlan Coben’s novels since about 2002 and his stand alone novels have had me up nights racing to the end. He has this great talent of building up suspense and not letting the reader breathe until the last page. Even with his last novel, The Stranger I had enjoyed the novel even though the end was messy and seemed a bit forced. I had given the novel 3.5 stars. In Fool Me Once we have a strong female lead yet I found it difficult to relate to her and found her a bit too hard. Maya, a former Special-Ops pilot, is burying her husband after he murdered in front of her eyes. In the war she saw many deaths but she never expected to lose first her sister and then her husband to murder. Before she can grieve for her late husband she sees something on the nanny cam that changes her world. And soon she cannot tell what is real or not.
I was totally into the story until Maya confronts her nanny on what is on the nanny cam. While I found the novel easy to read as Coben is a great writer and I did feel his signature suspense, I just couldn’t buy all of the plot. This may be more of my issue than all readers as I was expecting something a little different. Some may think the twist is great but I saw the twist and thought it would go another way because it was too easy and yet unrealistic the way the book ended. Vague enough? I am also still contemplating the epilogue – I understand the purpose but it felt very out of place. I gave this novel 3 stars because I enjoyed the first half of the book, it kept me reading and it was suspenseful. I would recommend this novel to Harlan Coben fans because you appreciate all of Coben’s signature pieces. If you are a Coben virgin or new to him – I would suggest trying his earlier standalone novels first.