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old money and dark secrets: Fool Me Once

Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben
Pub. Date: March 22, 2016
Source: finished copy via publisher (Thank you, Dutton!)
Summary: 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.
Genre: Thriller, Suspense

Five years of my life were spent working as a bookseller in a small shop and over those five years I became very familiar with certain authors. You know the ones, the Big Names everyone asks for and who automatically shoot to the top of all the bestsellers lists. The Danielle Steels, the James Pattersons. One of those authors I grew to know was Harlan Coben. His books were always on the shelves and I knew to keep an eye out for his latest release because people would be calling for it.

Oddly enough, in all those years of being surrounded by those names, I had never felt inclined to pick up a Nora Roberts novel or dive into the latest Clive Cussler. That all changed a few weeks ago when Fool Me Once appeared at my door. Admittedly I was a little hesitant – could he really be as great as readers would have me believe? Turns out…yes. Yes he most certainly can.

Home from Afghanistan, former special ops pilot Maya Stern hasn’t had a happy homecoming. A few months ago her sister was murdered – the victim of a supposed robbery-gone-wrong – and just two weeks ago her husband was also brutally murdered in an attack Maya barely managed to escape. Naturally shaken and unsure of who to trust these days, Maya doesn’t hesitate in setting up a nanny cam (so what if Joe’s old money family has always employed a long line of caretakers, Maya isn’t about to let anything else happen to her family) but when she watches the tape one night she gets the surprise of her life: sitting in her living room, playing with her daughter is Joe, alive and well. Maya wants answers and she’ll stop at nothing to uncover to truth.

HOO BOY. Let’s cut to the chase, okay? This book was good. Really, really good (with some over-the-top dramatics) and read like a movie. I honestly had no idea what to expect going into it, but Foll Me Once had me kicking myself for not discovering Coben sooner! There’s the family who drips with wealth, a private school who keeps some pretty massive secrets securely hidden within its ivy-covered gates, bribes, possible connections to two deaths 20 years ago, a WikiLeaks-esque website – Mr. Coben certainly isn’t afraid to pack a few punches and is no stranger to out-of-nowhere twists!

I don’t want to say too much (trust me, I did NOT see that ending coming!) but my introduction to Harlan Coben was phenomenal. I tore through Fool Me Once in record time and kept several people updated every step of the way (and now they’re interested in reading this one!) FUN FACT: at the end of the novel in his acknowledgements, Coben thanked his cast of characters. I was really confused by this until I learned that those names? They belong to real people and if you donate to one of his favorite charities, he’ll use your name in one of his books! VERY, VERY cool! Seriously, Fool Me Once was a fantastic thriller that kept me guessing the entire time, all the while flipping pages like crazy. When I wasn’t reading I was counting down the minutes until I could get back to the book. I’m so, so sorry I’ve waited this long to read you, Coben, but I know this one won’t be my last!

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