Book Review: Fool Me Once

By Douglas Soule on May 29, 2016 from Book Review via

With more twists than a hastily-crafted pretzel, recently released Fool Me Once, written by Harlan Coben, must have been written in Tornado Alley. Scattered throughout the pages were epic bursts of action, heartwarming glimpses into family love, and (sometimes bloody) displays of family vengeance. What’s a family without a little bloodshed?
Maya, once a special ops pilot, returns home after a campaign in the Middle East, haunted by PTSD and controversy after coverage of her choice to fire a missile at a civilian-driven vehicle surfaced on the web. Her arrival is not one of happiness. Only four months prior, her sister had been tortured and killed in an alleged “home invasion.” Maya’s grief is worsened when, on a romantic stroll in the park, her husband is shot multiple times. Death follows Maya like the media follows presidential candidates- with unstoppable attention.
This book is a buffet of entertainment, appeasing the literary stomachs of those who line up and read, despite the fact that the quality can be mediocre at times.  The story achieves its role as a thriller, keeping me tense and swarming through the pages as quickly as possible. We see the narration through the eyes of a former soldier; eyes that constantly scan surroundings for threats. Maya has the personality of a Momma Bear; wary of dangers but ready to attack in a moments’ notice. The situation is grizzly for anyone who gets in Maya’s way!
Maya’s daughter is two-years-old, and the contrast between parenting and war is notable towards anyone who’s undergone these two forms of combat. Adjusting back to modern society is difficult after spending years with your life constantly on the line. Fool Me Once shows the difficulties veterans have after returning back home, casting PTSD in a justifiably heartbreaking light.
Fool Me Oncefooled me more than once! Misled by the plot, I reached multiple conclusions that proved to be wrong.  By the end of the book, I felt like a kid finding out Santa Claus wasn’t real- lied to, but in the best way possible. The mystery within is highlighted with pulse-racing, palm-sweating tension. Social interaction with possible murderers- which occurs quite frequently within the story- is similar to picking the nose of a shark:  you may or may not end up sleeping with the fishes.
Criticisms of Fool Me Once are warranted. Compared to Harlan Coben’s other works, this publication is lackluster. The dialogue in places comes off as unrealistic, as if the author who wrote it is an alien trying to replicate human interaction. The build-up to the ending is elaborate, obviously well-thought-out, yet the actual conclusion of events left me unsatisfied, like when I take a sip of what I presume to be an ice-cold soda and find out it is lukewarm. Endings don’t have to be perfect. They usually aren’t. Yet, when you invest yourself into a book, you expect a last page that will be lasting in your mind. Fool Me Once does not accomplish this goal.
Fool Me Once is nowhere near perfect. It’s nowhere near bad either. While overall, the book is quite forgettable (the character names are already fading away), it is one which I do not regret reading. And neither will you!

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