Author Harlan Coben has been fooling readers for years now and each time he fools them they love it more and more. Readers like to be surprised and with Coben's books you are always assured there will be a twist in the plot or in the action of a character that is totally unexpected. His latest novel is titled FOOL ME ONCE and this clues the reader to the fact it is going to be surprise time all over again.
This new novel tells the story of Maya Burkett, a disgraced Army helicopter pilot who is married to a man from the wealthiest of families. This new wealth has not precluded her from having a run of bad luck. Her sister, Claire, with whom she was very close was killed in a home invasion while Maya was serving in Kuwait. Then she was involved in a mission where several civilians were killed. This cost her her career in the military.
While still in the military Maya and her husband Joe welcomed a daughter Lily. She became the joy of their lives. Maya did not take to motherhood naturally but she made a real effort. When she separated from the military it looked like the bad things from the past were over but then her husband was attacked and killed by thugs in a park where he and Maya had gone on a "date".
While getting over Joe's death, a friend suggested to Maya that she get a nanny cam. Although she trusted her nanny completely she decided it would be better to be safe than sorry. A few days after getting the camera she discovered something amazing occurring in her home when she was gone. This "incident" sends Maya on a chase to see if her married life had been a sham.
This is the kind of inventive and involving plot Coben writes. He doesn't do it once or twice, but every time he types a manuscript. As a reader you begin to anticipate a mystery even when there is not one indicated. Then suddenly it appears and you are left breathless with surprise.
Coben is also a deft creator of characters. Maya is not the typical heroine of a story. She is smart, aggressive, independent and combat trained. This is a lady who can take care of herself, and for this reason she does not mind plunging headfirst where angels fear to tread. Reading her story is exciting because you can feel the pleasure Coben took in creating her and these situations.
Harlan Coben is a master of his craft and a wizard with words. He grabs the readers' attention in the first few pages and takes them on a wild ride. FOOL ME ONCE is him at his best and there is no shame in having him trick us one more time. In fact most of us will be begging him to fool us again and again and again.
FOOL ME ONCE is published by Dutton. It contains 400 pages and sells for $28.00.
Jackie K Cooper