Thursday, March 17, 2016

Harlan Coben Aces His Latest

I have long held that Harlan Coben is at the top of the mystery/suspense/thriller genre.  He has written 24 adult books.  And I have read every one of them.  I've come to expect at least very good and sometimes really really good.  This new one, Fool Me Once (which hits stores next Tuesday, March 22) is right at the top.  It's a 4/4 for me, and I just don't have one negative or slightly negative thing to say about it.  Here is the back cover synopsis:

Former special-ops pilot, Maya, home from the war, sees an unthinkable image captured by her nanny cam while she is at work:  Her two-year old daughter playing with Maya's husband, Joe - who was brutally murdered two weeks earlier.  The provocative question at the heart of the mystery:  Can you believe everything you see with your own eyes, even when you desperately want to?  To find the answer, Maya must finally come to terms with deep secrets and deceit in her own past before she can face the unbelievable truth about her husband - and herself.

What did I love about this book?  Really, everything.  Here are just a few examples:

1.  I enjoyed the pop cultural references.  He compared a fancy library to the one in the Beast's house.

2.  I did not figure out any of the plot endings.  That could, in part, be on me!
3.  I was actually crying real tears over the last 4 pages.  I tear up pretty easily.  But these were drop-down tears.
4.  I connected big-time with the characters.  In fact, do you remember what I said about one of the main characters in Pat Conroy's South of Broad?  Well, I had a similar reaction in this one.
5.  I really like a couple of descriptions in the book related to combat and war veterans.  These are worth quoting in full:

    a.  "But the unspoken truth was, a part of you joneses for the danger.  You didn't want that.  You didn't like what it said about you.  Liking it means you are prenatally violent or lack empathy or some such nonsense.  But there was an addictive element to fear.  At home, you live relatively calm, placid, mundane lives.  You go over there and live in mortal fear and then you're supposed to come back home and be calm, placid, and mundane again.  Human being don't work that way."

     b.  "Newsflash: War messes up your relationships at home.  It was a cheap copout for a soldier to say that nobody at home understands what he goes through, but it was also too damned apt.  After you serve in some hellhole, you just see things differently.  Sometimes it's in obvious ways, but more often, it's just about textures and hues and scents.  Things that used to matter don't and vice versa.  Relationships and marriages are hard enough, but you add war into the mix and small fissures become gaping wounds.  No one sees what you're seeing - again that clear-eyed unbiased things - except your fellow soldiers.  It's like one of those movies where only the hero can see the ghosts and everyone else thinks the hero is crazy."

Plus, some of Coben's comparisons are just right on:

1.  "He grabbed his suit coat and threw it over his shoulder like Sinatra playing the Sands."

2.  "Two women danced on stage with the enthusiasm of middle-schoolers waking up for a math test.  They couldn't have looked more bored without prescribed sedation.  Forget your morals, this was Maya's real problem with clubs like this.  They had all the eroticism of a stool sample."
3.  "Telling someone who was clinically depressed, for example, to shake it off and get out of the house was tantamount to telling a man with two broken legs to sprint across the room.  That was all well and good in theory, but in practice, the stigma continued."

Whether you like Coben or not; whether you like mystery/suspense thriller novels or not; or whether you read fiction or not - read Fool Me Once.


Love at First Sight – Love to Read Again with Dr. Bindi of Laser Eye Center of Silicon Valley  and Village House of Books in Los Gatos

WHO: Dr. Craig S. Bindi of Laser Eye Center of Silicon Valley is joining up with Village House of Books to help you fall in love with reading again.

WHAT: As we get into our 40s, we all start to understand what a hassle wearing reading glasses can be, not to mention trying to find them when you actually want to read something.

Dr. Bindi and the Laser Eye Center of Silicon Valley are inviting folks over 40 who are frustrated with reading glasses to learn about how they can love to read again while also taking a short quiz and being matched with their new favorite book at Village House of Books.

The first 100 guests will receive a $10 gift card at Village House of Books and refreshments will be served. Gifts cards are limited to one per family.

When: Saturday, March 19 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Village House of Books 21 W Main St, Los Gatos, CA 95030

For more information: contact Shelle Murach at (714) 206 4138 or


  1. I liked this one as well. And he definitely fooled me actually MORE than once!

    1. I totally agree. I never saw any of it coming - especially the biggie.

  2. Replies
    1. I'm not surprised. But I have to draw the line somewhere!

  3. Looking forward to this book. I stumbled upon his books by mixing up a title and the book I placed on hold was one of his. So glad I decided to bring it home and read it anyway!