Fool Me Twice by Stephanie Black represents some of the genres I'm most excited to see expanding in LDS literature. Suspense, thrillers, and mystery just add a fun element to the ways you can throw an LDS character into a whole world full of trouble. That trouble is what makes them real to us. Go figure, we like to know other people are having a hard time getting through life, too. If it’s done right (as Stephanie shows us) the characters don’t come across as perfect and you don’t feel like the gospel is being shoved down your throat. So, throw a good person who’s just discovering the church or a life-long member into this type of thriller and the characters begin to feel like long lost friends. Even though you may never find yourself in these same situations (thank goodness) sometimes you can relate to and become involved in an LDS character more than a secular character. They think and feel more like you do. When you're rooting for the heroine to succeed, you're also mentally yelling things that the rest of the world would never think to coach her with. Have you ever caught yourself in the middle of a harrowing scene and saying, “You doofus, why didn't you pray first?” or, “Well duh, everyone knows the Holy Ghost goes to bed at 11- what did you think you were going to come across walking around at 2am?” Ok, it may never have occurred to us in that situation either, but that’s beside the point.
It’s an “in the world, but not of it” thing. Ah yes, we are strange creatures.
Fool Me Twice starts with one of those things many authors use to set the stage: a premise built around identical twins. At some point we have all probably wondered what it would be like to see your own face starting back. Would it be a good thing or a bad? These are parts of the questions the twins Megan and Kristen have dealt with all their lives, and they seem to end up on opposite ends of the spectrum by the time we meet them in Fool Me Twice. Add that conflict to a few nastier twists and turns and you’ve essentially got a case of good-twin-verses-bad-twin fighting it out in a house of horrors. I won't tell you who comes out on top. You’ll have to read it for yourself.
Still, I did find myself having a couple of “bummer” moments when I felt Stephanie had spoiled my fun by giving me too much information. One of those moments came when I was first introduced to the evil twin; I was a little disappointed to find out as much as I did about her involvement right away. I think I would have preferred not knowing so much about her part in things. It might have made her betrayal a little more poignant. The introduction to the bad guys as Stephanie has it plotted out in the story is great, but I wanted to spend more time in “ignorance is bliss” land. I’m just weird that way.
On the whole Fool Me Twice took me on a thrilling ride. Almost every time I thought I’d just learned too much, I found out I really didn’t have a clue about what it was going to mean. My quirks aside, the way the plot progresses really does work. It's fine to know what you do about each character from the beginning; the end will still have you on the edge of your seat, mentally yelling at the characters that they should have prayed first, or what ever strikes your fancy.
So if you come across that particular chapter and find yourself saying, “What? Now what's left to show me later?" Don't worry, trust the author she definitely delivers the thrills and chills whether you think you have things figured out or not. ;)
Great job, Stephanie! Keep writing and we'll keep reading. Fool Me Twice is definitely a keeper.
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