Book: Fool Me Once
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Date Read: 2.19.21
Stars: ★★★☆☆ 

Summary: Ex Military, Maya solves the murders of her sister and her husband; both killed two weeks apart. Everything changed when she saw her dead husband in the nanny camera. Was it a figment of her imagination or is she going mad?

This was an easy read  that didn’t excite me as it should have. In all sincerity, it was hard to connect with the unlikable protagonist. She was demanding, annoying, and incompetent. For someone stoic who supposedly has the mind of a spy, she made questionable decisions with no long-term comprehensive thought. I have no experience with PTSD from combat or how the mind of a retired thrill seeking soldier works but her priorities are off. Maya is a mother who didn’t or choose to not have a bond or a relationship with her daughter. She was consumed in extreme revenge that she failed to acknowledge that her toddler needs love and guidance, especially after losing a father.

This book was meh to me. Despite my criticism, I will continue to read Harlan Coben’s work because he is a good writer. 

That being said, here comes my critique with spoilers.

  • Maya installed a nanny camera and sees her husband in the video feed cuddling with their daughter. Maya confronts her nanny while she leaves the evidence out in the open. A physical fight ensued, Maya got pepper sprayed, the nanny cam picture frame disappeared, then then the nanny went missing. Who doesn’t save an extra copy of the media file at first sight? I would have duplicated that video on my desktop, a separate file in the hard drive, a thumb drive, an extended HD, a cloud, and likewise emailed it to another email of mine. I’d observe my environment afterwards looking for signs of deceit. I’d then have the video analyzed. Since she killed her husband, she was 100% sure the person in the video was not him. Throughout the book she continuously made amateur moves. You can’t help but think how inexperienced she really is as an ex-soldier.
  • Maya gets a random visit from her therapist regarding her PTSD but it doesn’t strike her as suspicious. After spilling her emotions, her psychiatrist prescribed her a medication that is readily available in the trunk of her car. Maya readily accepts it with full trust. Foolishness. At that point, I would have trusted no one!
  • Maya knew from the start that her husband Joe killed her sister. She likewise knew that her mother-in-law covered up the crime to save her son. In the end Maya reveals that she was the one who killed her husband out of revenge. Here comes my rant. I’m more impressed with Amy Dunne’s diabolical thorough planning in Gillian Flynn’s, Gone Girl. In contrast, Maya’s plan to murder her husband was too hasty. Her end plan going on a suicide mission and getting herself killed was weak. If it were me, I would have planned to have my husband land in prison and seek revenge on my in-laws by draining their cash cow and reputation. Whatever it takes to grow old with my daughter.
  • Forget revenge, be there for your daughter! How do you plan a suicide mission and leave your child to your alcoholic brother-in-law?