Book Review, Edelweiss, Family Relationships, Psychological, Secret Identity, Serial Killer, Thriller

Fool Her Once by Joanna Elm


Some killers are born. Others are made.

As a rookie tabloid reporter, Jenna Sinclair made a tragic mistake when she outed Denny Dennison, the illegitimate son of an executed serial killer. So she hid behind her marriage and motherhood. Now, decades later, betrayed by her husband and resented by her teenage daughter, Jenna decides to resurrect her career—and returns to the city she loves.

When her former lover is brutally assaulted outside Jenna’s NYC apartment building, Jenna suspects that Denny has inherited his father’s psychopath gene and is out for revenge. She knows she must track him down before he can harm his next target, her daughter.

Meanwhile, her estranged husband, Zack, fears that her investigative reporting skills will unearth his own devastating secret he’d kept buried in the past.


Holy cow! This book had me at me from the start and I couldn’t put it down until the very intense and shocking ending. I’d heard great things about this thriller from Edelweiss’s editor’s picks webinar and it certainly didn’t disappoint this reader.

Jenna Sinclair’s tragic mistake as a rookie tabloid writer destroyed a family by revealing the evil parentage of a young man and it’s coming back to bite her in her ass. There is someone out to get her 20+ years later and she is determined to save her daughter from a killer intent on revenge. What she finds is nothing she could imagine in a million years.

Jenna is so unlikeable to me. She’s selfish and quick to judge other people. It’s despicable that she keeps calling the man whose life she destroyed the “spawn” of a notorious serial killer. She is also a bad judge of character when it comes to men in her life. She’s so obsessed with Ryan, her self-centered and egotistical boss, and former lover, who dumps her for a trust-fund baby, and now she’s found out her devoted and trusted husband, Zack, has been having an affair with his intern.  Jenna is smart at what she does when it comes to researching a lead and finding the truth. She does that and more when tying up loose ends on a misdeed that she wants to make right. Only what she finds is the mind-blowing and sad result of a chain of events she set in motion so many years ago. Secrets are revealed and danger is right around the corner. A fitting quote for this story is by Sir Walter Scott: “O, what a tangled web we weave; when first we practice to deceive!”

The main theme of this story asks whether there is such a thing as a psychopathic gene, or whether the idea is but a self-fulfilling prophecy. Think of the heartbreak and fear it would cause. It’s chilling.

It’s hard to go into detail about this story without giving the plot away so I recommend you cuddle up with a hot cup of tea or coffee and be prepared for heartbreaking realizations and chilling twists and turns that will leave you breathless.

Thank you to Ms. Elm for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.


Fool Her Once

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I’ve been writing for a living for more than four decades.  I’ve written for newspapers and magazines in Britain (London Evening NewsWoman’s Own, True Magazine) and in the United States (STAR MagazineTV Guide).  I grew up in London during the Swinging 60s. I landed in New York during the disco era of Studio 54 and Xenon to write for TV news (at WNEW’s, 10 O’Clock News where I was the writer/researcher on an Emmy Award-winning documentary, Irish Eyes ) and for a tabloid TV newsmagazine (Fox TV’s, A Current Affair).

I’ve had two novels published Scandal (1996) and Delusion (1997)). They were both set in locales where I was living at the time of writing, Palm Beach and Philadelphia. Scandal was published as an original paperback and sold 70,000 copies.  I have written a screenplay that was not made into a movie.

After graduating law school, summa cum laude, I researched and assisted in drafting opinions for a judge in the appellate division of the New York State Supreme Court. I also wrote memos, motions and briefs for the District Attorneys of Brooklyn, NY and Suffolk County on the East End of Long Island.

Follow Joanna on her website, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.