Title: Fool me Once
Author: Harlan Coben
What's it about?
Maya is a strong woman. She believes fiercely, defends unapologetically and loves relentlessly. And then her whole world was turned upside down and everything she knows to be true is questioned after her husband is murdered in a botched robbery. Now, she's left to raise her 2 year old daughter on her own while grieving her loss, while the world around her seem to be determined to break this war vet down to her very core.
After Maya buries her beloved husband, a very well meaning friend gives Maya a nanny cam as a gift. At first Maya is thankful for the gift, however soon she finds her self shoved down a dangerous rabbit hole after she sees her dead husband's form while reviewing the nanny cam footage from the day. Now she's on a mission to prove that her husband is really dead and explain the eerie connections between the murder of her husband and her dear sister. The answers to all of her questions are scattered across state lines and secrets are destined to be drudged up and exposed as she searches for the truth that has been hidden from her for too long.
Favorite Character: I think I had two favorite characters. The first one was Maya. I liked her strength and her determination to uncover the truth. She was smart. I loved how the fact that she was a vet played a big role in the story without being too dark/negative or too glorified. She was a trained fighter, but she wasn't unfeeling or robotic. She didn't follow "orders" blindly but she had a respect for order and direction. She knew the difference between right and wrong, but also knew that the lines sometimes blurred to a degree, but there was a limit; a line that, if crossed, left you in the neighborhood of black.
My other favorite character was Shane. He, too, was a trained fighter. He, too questioned the world around him but had a respect for orders. He was loyal and I loved how he stood by Maya's side. He respected her but wasn't afraid to call her out when needed.
Least Favorite Character: Ok, this is going to sound a little odd but my least favorite character was Eddie. This isn't because I dislike him as a person, but because I felt like his characterization and arch felt...off. I felt like, while I appreciate the way it was supposed to go and I understand the intent, there were a few steps missing along the journey. It seemed too...abrupt? Maybe? I liked Eddie as a person, but I felt like this flaw in his chracter creation hindered him and left me almost frustrated with what was happening and how, which further annoyed me because I wanted to be sucked away into the story, not trying to understand how his character was getting from point A to point B.
As far as actual personal like and dislike, Judith was my least favorite character. There was something I distrusted about her from the first second we see her and, no matter how many times she does something that should have helped me trust her more, I just couldn't do it. I felt like she was manipulative and selfish (there was just something about her arrangements with the servants that left me feeling like she was selfish, entitled and...something. Maybe unethical. I don't know. It just rubbed me wrong). I just didn't like the old woman! With that being said, there wasn't a lot of reason for my hostility towards here for most of the book, and, one could argue, that through the majority of the other times when she may have deserved my harsh feelings, it was done out of love. But, nope. It still doesn't sit right with me. I just dislike her.
Favorite Part: My absolute favorite part was the end of the story. It was the perfect end to a whirlwind of a story with twists, tales and secrets uncovered. It offered answers to questions demanding solutions. It provided the perfect closing to something that was a hard story to find a satisfying ending to.
Now, if you feel like that was a cop out, I'll give you another part that I found amusing and touching. It's the scene when Maya interacts with Ricky. It was just witty, fast paced and fun. But more then that, it was a great view of Maya as a person, not a solder, not a scared and worried mother, not a confused widow, but a human. A person. A woman. We get to see all of it, her grief, her guilt over the past, her concern for her daughter and, well, very emotional.
Least Favorite Part: This is another place that I can't just tell you and wax poetic (as much as I'm ever able to wax anything resembling poetic) about my pick for this subject. If I were to throw caution to the wind (is that poetic enough?) I'd also be providing spoilers. So, I'll say this. My least favorite part was a time Maya drops her daughter off in the care of someone other then her. I found it emotional. There. That's all your getting out of me!
Any other thoughts?
This was a ride worthy of an amusement park. I started the very first scene of the book and was hooked. The humor was perfect. The questions were there. The need to understand what happened and uncover the truth may not have been on page one, but it was there soon after. I felt for the characters and, while I did find some flaws (see above as I discuss Eddie) and parts I didn't quit understand, it was such a fun read! I was eager to read every night and I didn't feel like it was work, not even for one page! The pacing was perfect, not too fast and rushed but not too slow. While, I wouldn't label this writing style as "show me", I wouldn't exactly call it "tell me", either. It was a great mix of somewhere in between which proved to be the perfect recipe for this book. I liked the premise and the execution was fantastic. I'm so glad that this book came across my desk in as part of an awesome donation! And now I get to share it all with you.
What do I rate this book?
I give this book a
But, that's just me. Maybe I'm crazy. Maybe I have horrible taste (though I may have to argue you on that). What did you think? Did you love the way Eddie's character was presented? Did you hate Shane? Let us know in the comments.