But despite Coben's involvement with the Fool Me Once series, the show is set in the United Kingdom while the author's book takes place in his home state of New Jersey.
Why Netflix's Fool Me Once Isn't Set in New Jersey
When asked by CBS Mornings why Netflix's Fool Me Once is set in the UK and not the Garden State, Harlen Coben explained he already has an established team across the pond, and so "we just take the story" and "we move it over:"
“I have this great team over there. This is the fourth show we’ve done. Some of you maybe saw 'The Stranger' on Netflix or 'Stay Close.' And so, working with this team is just a lot of fun and so we just take the story, we move it over, and I think that hybrid makes it richer, you know? You see this cool house in sort of a little 'Downton Abbey'-ish. And so a combination of the American story with the hybrid of the British sensibilities, I think it makes the series a little bit better.”
As for the described "cool house" and the Downton Abbey aesthetic, Fool Me Once's production relied on locations in Manchester, Salford, Oldham, and Cheshire, England.
As to whether a TV adaptation allows the show creator more creative freedom, the author confirmed as much but also credited the change in setting, saying, "Yeah, you do, I think. Overseas, you can hide a little bit more there.”
Why Fool Me Once's Changes Works
Harlen Coben's decision to stick with his UK team and change settings may not have been creatively motivated. However, it sounds like the location swap allowed for further creativity and, according to him, actually "makes it richer" and "the series a little bit better."
While audiences discovering Coben's book are sure to be surprised by its New Jersey narrative, the change could help the author's book sales, especially if Fool Me Once fans are curious about additional changes and how it reads as an American story.
All eight episodes of Fool Me Once are streaming now on Netflix.