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By: Harlan Coben
Publication Date: 3/22/2016
My Rating: 5 Stars
A special thank you to Penguin and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Harlan Coben delivers his best yet—FOOL ME ONCE, a skillfully plotted crime suspense mystery thriller; a web of deceit, with a kick ass heroine who will not be fooled again.
All the rage these days –novels centered around the intriguing widows and the dirty secrets of their husbands. Coben’s latest adds a unique twist with a veteran, a whistle-blower, conspiracy, and a nanny cam.
Maya and Joe were married, with a two-year-old daughter, Lily. Joe was recently murdered in Central Park. Now a widow, Maya has to deal with Joe’s wealthy family. Judith- mother, Neil-brother, and sister-Caroline. No one who married a Burkett was anything but a tolerated outsider.
Maya’s career as a U.S. Army helicopter pilot came to an end after whistleblower Corey Rudzinski exposed the civilian deaths caused by her actions in Iraq. Army captain, Maya Stern was involved in an international scandal.
Her sister Claire, was also murdered, four months earlier. Maya could not silence the voices of combat. Her ultimate goal --to protect her daughter. After what happened near the Syrian-Iraqi border. Maya had been encouraged to take an honorable discharge. Seeing no other real option, she did.
Shortly thereafter, Joe was gunned down in cold blood in front of her in Central Park, and she was able to offer a description of the masked killers.
Due to her past and the recent events, Maya’s friend gives her a digital photo frame (which doubles as a nanny cam). She needs to keep an eye on Isabella, the nanny and Lily. Isabella was hired by Joe’s family, with connections.
Maya forgets about the frame (camera), until she sees the footage. It is shocking. She thinks it is her husband (his clothes). When she confronts the nanny. She denies it and uses pepper spray, to distract her, while taking off with the memory card. There was no audio. How can this be? Why had she allowed someone in her house, around her daughter? What gives?
Judith had been forced to bury a child, (Andrew – ten years ago); two of her three sons now gone, one supposedly by a tragic accident and one by murder.
Old habits die hard. Once a soldier, always a soldier. Something is not right.
The war was horrible and no human being should ever have to experience it. Maya would lay down her own life to make sure that it never came close to Lily. Should Maya go to the police? They were of no help when her sister, Claire, was killed in a home invasion while she was deployed in the Middle East, and she doesn’t trust Roger Kierce, the NYPD homicide detective heading the investigation of Joe’s murder.
Now a red Buick Verano is following her.
Corey Rudzinski was the founder of a website where whistleblowers could safely post information in a confidential manner. Illegal activities by the government and big business. He ended her career when he posted footage of her ordering a defensive airstrike that killed five civilians and he has more.
Then they find the same gun was used to shoot both Joe and Claire. What would make someone kill Claire and hold onto the gun for four months, and then give it to someone to kill Joe?
Maya begins her own investigation and uncovers some very suspicious information about the Burkettes. Things they are hiding. How are the pieces connected? The more Maya starts digging, she discovers Claire was on to something, and she has to confront Judith and Neil. She wants answers. Payments. Murder?
A good soldier doesn’t attack unless she’s already calculated and can counter the most likely outcomes. Financial crimes, politics, money, power, conspiracy, murder, a pharmaceutical company. Two dead brothers. Soccer. No dead bodies. Did Claire die trying to expose injustice. Who is to blame? How are the cases related? Where did it all start?
Lies never die—they will always find a way to show themselves again.
Coben cranks up the intensity --a husband and family with dark secrets. However, Maya is sharp and has her own plans of revenge and justice, and the nanny cam may just help her achieve her mission.
The author will "wow" fans and new readers, with the ultimate explosive ending!