- Title: Fool Me Once (Amazon) (Goodreads)
- Author: Harlan Coben
- Publication: Dutton (March 22, 2016)
- Genre: Suspense/Thriller
- Pages: 400
- Format: Hardcover
- Source: Library
- Rating: 3.5/5 stars
A woman witnesses her husband shot and killed. Now she sees her dead husband playing with their toddler.
Harlan Coben’s suspenseful tale Fool Me Once takes the reader through countless surprises. Former special ops pilot Maya Burkett faces many challenges: her husband Joe’s brutal murder, a military scandal, and PTSD.
Maya’s top priority right now is protecting her precious two-year old daughter Lily.
Unfortunately, a new problem emerges. A close friend gives Maya a nanny cam posed as a regular digital picture frame. Maya takes advantage of the camera and uncovers an eerie sight: Joe in the living room with Lily.
After the discovery, Maya interrogates her nanny Isabella on Joe’s whereabouts. Isabella’s response: pepper-spray to the face!
Maya recovers from the incident and finds the nanny cam’s SD card missing.
The deeper Maya searches for answers about her “late” husband, the more she thinks twice about the friends and family she thought she could trust. Even worse, police have revealed to Maya the bullet that killed Joe comes from the same gun that killed her sister Claire years earlier.
Now, Maya must solve how her loved ones’ deaths are connected.
What else could go wrong?
Frustratingly Good Obstacles
This book can be upsetting in a good way. Every time Maya gets close to retrieving a valuable tip, an irritable character blocks her path.
I literally gritted my teeth when Isabella had the nerve to lie to Maya about Joe. She knew something was up! Maya saw her on camera the same time as Joe appeared. Maya wasn’t delusional.
Secondly, family repeatedly remind Maya of her PTSD. A psychiatrist or two keep showing up as help when they’re only hindering Maya’s progress solving Joe’s whereabouts.
I feel for Maya’s annoyance at the issue. If only Isabella didn’t steal the SD card, people would’ve understand Maya better.
Maya’s horrid past in the battlefield haunts her over the course of this novel. Receiving news of Claire’s death while overseas was more salt added to Maya’s mental wounds. She has recovered much from the past, but occasionally suffers minor stress-related episodes.
Lastly, there’s Detective Kierce assigned to Joe’s murder case. Supposedly helping Maya, he always shows up whenever she takes one misstep on her own mission. Maya doesn’t trust him or his suspicious interrogations. The last thing she wants is to land in the criminal’s hot seat.
The infuriating characters in this book are part of what makes this story great. The best stories are the ones with consistently conflicted characters and forever offending antagonists.
It’s been a while since I’ve read any suspense novels. Fool Me Once was a fresh morning coffee of thrills. It’s not the greatest cup in the world, but it kept me going. The book lacks the action I’ve expected from a suspense novel, but the last-minute twists made up for it.
Books I’ve Read Similar to Fool Me Once
Feel free to comment below if you’ve read this book or have any recommendations! ^_^