Saturday, March 19, 2016

ARC Review: Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben

Fool Me Once
Author: Harlan Coben
Publication: Dutton (March 22, 2016)

Description: 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.

My Thoughts: This story begins at a funeral and ends at a birth - a reverse of the natural order of things. It was a fascinating story about a woman - Maya Stern - trying to solve the mystery of the murders of her husband and her sister. Maya has an interesting story. She is a former military helicopter pilot who served in the Middle East and was forced into taking an honorable discharge after some sort of incident that we find out about late in the book. She suffers from PTSD. Her main symptom is aural flashbacks, or maybe hallucinations. She is also the mother of a two-year-old daughter that she loves very much.

When her husband is killed in an attempted robbery, Maya gains the attention of the police. She was with him when he was killed but ran for help before the final shot was fired. Her husband was the scion of a very wealthy and private family. The kind of family that has hereditary servants. His childhood nurse's daughter is now his daughter's nanny. Maya and Joe met, fell in love, and married after a whirlwind courtship when Maya found herself pregnant with Lily. They were married about three years before his death but didn't spend much time together. Maya spent some time deployed.

Maya needs closure for both deaths and finds herself investigating. As she looks into her sister's murder she finds a number of connections to Joe and his family. The deeper she digs, the more questions she has. She also doesn't know who she can trust. She finds that her sister was working with the same internet whistleblower who brought forward the incident that ended Maya's military career. She contacts him to find out what secrets her sister might have been sharing. Her close friend from the military - Shane - helps her out but she doesn't share much with him in part because she wants to keep him out of it and in part because she is keeping secrets from him.

I got the feeling that Maya was an unreliable narrator early on but I certainly never guessed where the story was going. I found the ending stunning but reasonable when I looked back over the story again. The characters were fascinating and the mystery engaging. Fans of thrillers will enjoy this one very much.

I got this book from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. You can buy your copy here.

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