Facebook Twitter

REVIEW: Fool Me Twice


Megan O'Conner is one of those kind, self-deprecating people who always tries to do the right thing and to please others. After her father dies, her mother convinces her to postpone her college plans until the new widow is back on her feet. This turns into a permanent condition with Megan making all of the sacrifices, including that of her education dreams, to satisfy her mother's selfish whims. Megan has a twin sister who is as selfish as their mother who has long since run off to seek her fortune. Megan has not only lost her job and must now support herself and her mother with two minimum-wage jobs, but she has broken up with her cheating boyfriend and her mother expects her to forgive and forget because he's a doctor and makes good money. When her sister arrives back in town, Megan is pathetically eager to have at least her twin sister like her.

The twin sister, Kristin, spirits Megan away with promises of a brighter future and assurances that she really does care about her. Kristin has devised a plan to fool an elderly, estranged aunt who is dying of cancer and wishes to leave her considerable fortune to Kristin on condition that Kristin cares for her until her death. Kristin explains that she needs a break from the demanding old woman and offers half of the fortune she'll inherit to Megan if she'll pretend she's Kristin for a few weeks while Kristin travels to Paris with her boyfriend. Megan needs the money to pursue her college dream and she reasons that the aunt won't know the difference, but will get the care she wants, so the small dishonesty won't really matter.

Kristin fills Megan in on her friends and the people who know her to prepare her for the switch, but when she arrives at Kristin's apartment, she learns Kristin's friends aren't as she expected. The old lady is annoyingly demanding, but either the woman has mental problems or something is going on that Megan doesn't understand. Then Megan attends a church activity with one of Kristin's friends, and she and the friend's brother are nearly killed and the friend is kidnapped.

Fool Me Twice is an absorbing, multi-layered, suspenseful novel, but it doesn't follow expected paths. Almost from the start the reader knows who the good guys and the bad guys are. The motives aren't hard to guess either. Or is everything as simple as they first appear? There's more going on than the usual twists and turns of a "who done it." Megan may not be the only character playing a part and Kristin is far from being the only liar in the game.

Stephanie Black creates memorable characters that can't be defined as all good or all bad. Megan is a little too trusting and gullible and the hero is a bit too perfect, yet the gradual change in characters as they become stronger or more evil is both believable and an important element of the story.