Review copy provided by Harper via TLC Book Tours in exchange for this review
Even a perfect family has its secrets.
Sixteen-year-old Julia Whitmire appeared to have everything: a famous father, a luxurious Manhattan town house, a coveted spot at the elite Casden prep school. When she is found dead in her bathtub, a handwritten suicide note left on her bed, her parents insist that their daughter would never take her own life. But Julia’s enviable world was more complicated than it seemed. The pressure to excel at Casden was enormous. Abuse of prescription drugs ran rampant among students. And a search of Julia’s computer reveals that she’d been engaged in a dangerous game of cyberbullying against an unlikely victim.
NYPD detective Ellie Hatcher is convinced the case is a suicide, but she knows from personal experience that a loving family can be the last to accept the truth. As she is pressured to pursue a case she doesn’t believe in, she is pulled into Julia’s inner circle—an eclectic mix of precocious teenagers from Manhattan’s most privileged families as well as street kids from Greenwich Village. But when the target of Julia’s harassment continues to receive death threats, Ellie is forced to acknowledge that Julia may have learned the hard way that some secrets should never be told.
Never Tell is the first book by Alafair Burke that I have read. It isn't the first book involving NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher and her partner Rogan, but honestly, this posed absolutely no problem for me. I was literally drawn into the story from the first page. Once I started reading, I could barely force myself to stop for meals. This book was so enjoyable that I read it in one day.
What starts out as a classic suicide by Julia, a privileged, wealthy teen whose parents were mostly absent and was basically on her own, quickly turns into something else. Despite their absence from the daughter's life, once she is found dead they stop at nothing to get to the bottom of what happened to her. Ellie isn't convinced and resists pursuing a homicide investigation - for a while. Her partner, Rogan, sees where she is letting her own past interfere with her work and calls her on it. Once Ellie is able to get past her own preconceived notions about the case, she changes her outlook and gets down to the business of solving a crime.
All of this is typical of crime fiction and is really well written; but Never Tell isn't what I would call typical because Ellie makes mistakes throughout the investigation, much like real human beings do. I appreciated that once she and Rogan became aware of where they veered off track, they immediately set things back on the right track and acknowledged their mistakes. It was nice to have main characters that aren't perfect at everything they do.
There are so many layers and so many issues that are interwoven into the story. There is the expensive, exclusive prep school that Julia attends that seems to be more worried about covering their own proverbial asses than about the death of a student; the mostly absent, overly indulgent parents, the friends who seem to be hiding things, the issues of drug use and alcohol use by minors and people who aren't quite what they seem as well as a rather surprising case of internet bullying. I found the novel to be so compelling. I loved every minute of it. I won't go into too many details because half the fun is reacting to the next revelation - and there are many.
Never Tell is definitely a book I will be recommending. The story was very involved and I loved every time I had to change my mind about a character. This book was just so much fun to read. If you like mysteries, crime fiction, well developed characters and a story that will surprise you over and over again, Never Tell is definitely a book you should check out. It seems rather obvious to point out, but I will be reading more of Burke's books in the near future.
About Alafair BurkeAlafair Burke is the bestselling author of nine novels, including the thrillers Long Gone and If You Were Here, and the Ellie Hatcher series: 212, Angel’s Tip, and Dead
Connection. A former prosecutor, she now teaches criminal law and lives in Manhattan.Find out more about Alafair at her website, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.
Alafair’s Tour StopsTuesday, May 14th: A Book Geek
Wednesday, May 15th: The Reader’s Hollow
Monday, May 20th: Reflections of a Bookaholic
Wednesday, May 22nd: Tina’s Book Reviews
Thursday, May 23rd: Literary Feline
Friday, May 24th: Drey’s Library
Monday, May 27th: A Bookworm’s World
Tuesday, May 28th: A Dream Within a Dream
Wednesday, May 29th: Traveling With T
Tuesday, June 4th: Brooklyn Berry Designs
Monday, June 17th: Peppermint PhD