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Fool me once by Harlan Coben


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.

Book:Fool me once

Author: Harlan Coben

Publishers: Century (Imprint of Penguin Random House)

Pages: 390

Published on: March 2016

ISBN: 9780525955092

Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Crime Thriller.

The Agenda: Favorite Genre list, New releases list

Review words count: 763

Fool me once by Harlan Coben



“Fool me once” gathers most of the same recipe we have been reading for long now. So my search for novelty is not to be found in this novel. But surprisingly even with less novelty, there had been a lot of creativity in the plotting. And the novel did the great job for which it was actually written, give a reader a good thrilling ride.

So the premise of the quest is set. Joe, the dead husband, of former special ops pilot Maya could be alive and you have to make a journey with the Maya to find the truth about it. Of course, there is a lot of “not another one of those novels” feeling about it but Harlan Coben does the story telling quite differently. He wrote “Fool me once” with new subplots, mixing with latest current affairs and dealing with questions close to the people’s heart. This freshens up the novel and reduces the redundancy. One of the things he did in this novel as sub-plot is bringing characters background with Whistleblower situation. The Snowden situation has created a lot of headlines in terms of privacy and many people are using the situation creatively in their own stories as plot and “Fool me once” is not different.

Another great thing about “Fool me once” is that the novel was really suspenseful and kept you on your edge throughout the end. The plot is set of puzzles where characters are made to solve. The puzzles are both emotionally and psychologically motivated. It is a quest for the character whether she can find the truth among all the psychological and emotional barriers.

It is the novel which improves with every page and keeps you up till a very end. But “Fool me once” is not a perfect book. It has its own faults and which majorly involves towards characterization. For me, writing didn’t work well with characters. They were almost like I don’t care what happens to the characters.

Another disappointing part of the novel is dialogues. Let me tell you that you will find the dialogues extremely irritating at a time. They were extremely cliché and written only so that you can like characters or appreciate more about characters. But it actually spoils the characterization. I think the author should have use minimalization and let story make characters more likable. You try to do something more and it gives you something even less.

You might also have a billion problems with the ending or may be a problem with an entire plot but personally, when I finished the ending I was like who cares? It was highly entertaining and the author would always make things interesting by adding plots which normally would be senseless.

For me and most of who enjoys thriller, this is the copy I would like to have with me for some long journey or leisurely reading on holidays. Don’t rush to get a copy but it is something which should be in your “To read list.”


I remember reading Harlan Coben another novel “Tell no one” where an exact same premise is set as “Fool me once”. In this novel, we have a dead husband and suddenly we were set for the quest to know whether the husband is alive or dead and plots summarize how the character can’t trust anyone or even her husband. We basically find the similar situation in “Tell no one”, in that the wife is dead. And suddenly the husband received a message in the computer, a phrase only he and his dead wife know. So suddenly character set for the quest to know whether his wife is alive or dead and plots summarize how character runs from the people he trust and etc. Well, I don’t remember much of “Tell no one” which might have been plus  while reading “Fool me once” but I am curious whether Coben writes similar stories with familiar plot structure and still surprise us? I am curious enough to try read “Tell no one” again and come back to you.

Rating: ** Recommended. 


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