Fool Me Once
by Harlan Cohen
Release Date: March 22nd 2016
Ebook Edition; 392 Pages
Genre: Fiction / Mystery / Suspense
Source: Review copy from publisher
3 / 5 Stars
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.
Fool Me Once is one of those books that I thought started off very well, but as I kept reading, I began to lose interest quite quickly. I decided just to enjoy the ride, enjoy the convoluted mess, accept the unacceptable, and try to find something to like in Maya.
I tried really hard to like Maya, the main character, but I just couldn't. And while I totally understood her troubles with PTSD, she just seemed too cold and calculating for me, and I really couldn't dredge up a lot of empathy for her. And even though the author tried to add warmth to her character through her interactions with her daughter, it didn't actually come across as warm, but more as something she felt she needed to do as a mom and part of her daily duties. And it doesn't have anything to do with being a soldier as I live with a soldier and my husband is definitely not like Maya. I am glad to see the troubles with PTSD however, and exposure needs to be given to this serious issue as don't think the government is doing enough to help our soldiers deal with it, but that is a rant for another time and post.
While the novel was convoluted, it wasn't hard to discover who did the crimes; the real question was discovering the motive and this is what really kept me reading to the end. I was interested in finding out the 'why'. Overlooking a few questionable methods and some unlikely scenarios, the author kept the pace moving rather quickly. I lost interest because once I figured out the 'who', going through the paces of the novel made me roll my eyes several times; it was just a way to try to keep the characters busy and to try to throw in some red herrings, but anyone who reads mystery novels a lot could have figured it out quite easily. Once I just went along with it for the ride, it went a lot smoother for me as a reader and I just amused myself trying to see what the author would do next, without rolling my eyes. And it was much more fun to read that way. But did I find it riveting, couldn't put it down? No, definitely not. Read at least two other books while reading this one.
Fool Me Once is not Coben at his best, and I really wasn't crazy about either Maya or Shane. I just thought they were lacking in depth and I didn't feel any empathy towards either of them. I should have felt something at the end, but I didn't. I also wasn't crazy about the Epilogue and could have done without it. And while I typically love Coben's writing style, I felt like it was a bit off in this one whereby the humour and sense of style was somewhat missing. Has this turned me off Coben's books altogether? No, not yet. I've got an ARC of Home waiting for me so we'll see how that goes.