REVIEW: Fool Me Once, Harlan Coben

This is another book that was passed on to me by a friend. I was in the mood for something gritty and fast paced and loved the sound of the blurb:


I haven’t read anything by Coben before but was expecting something quite cinematic and dark. I instantly liked the protagonist, Maya. An ex-soldier, mother and recent widow she is sharp, to the point and really quite ferocious. The novel moves quickly into the action, with questions leading to more questions and a wide cast of intriguing characters that kept me suspicious and engaged throughout. This wasn’t your typical crime novel as Maya becomes quite unpredictable and at times untrustworthy.

The novel is full of twists and it certainly wasn’t what I was expecting. I really liked that it is set over a relatively short period of time so there was no time for waffling or unnecessary information. The reader is at the centre of the action throughout.

I also loved the ending. It’s not very often I say that but with this novel the author went with the right ending and there was a lot of shock value but without being gratuitous or seeming to only end it that way for the shock. It felt well put together in the end and I felt satisfied as I turned the final page.

I do think the novel could have done with another edit, there is some quite repetitious language (he really loves describing Maya as a silent sentinel) and at times the descriptions become cliched. I also think there is a danger of making Maya the stereotypical Strong Woman, she is coarse, sometimes rude and one of the boys yet physically attractive. I struggled with this at moments as it detracted from her authenticity.

Overall a highly enjoyable read that I finished in a couple of days. Great for a break from heavier reading and with a very cinematic and dramatic feel.

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