Title: Never Tell
Author: Alafair Burke
Release Date: June 19, 2012
Genre: Crime Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Detective Ellie Hatcher is called to the scene of an apparent suicide when a sixteen year old girl is found dead in a bathtub with her wrists slit. The case seems open and shut, especially considering there was a suicide note found with the body. But the Whitmires are a powerful and wealthy family, and when they insist that their daughter Julia would not have committed suicide, Ellie is forced to pursue the case, regardless of her personal feelings.
I’ve heard great things about Alafair Burke’s Ellie Hatcher series, so when I discovered that Never Tell was releasing, I decided to give it a chance. After all, I enjoyed Burke’s standalone novel Long Gone, and though I’m not up to date on her series, I hoped I would be able to muddle through it regardless. Happily, I had absolutely no problem following the characters or storyline of this book; if you’re looking to dive into a series without having to read all the previous books, Never Tell is a great place to start.
Never Tell deals with a powerful and relevant issue: prescription drug abuse by teens. Julia’s death gives Ellie an invitation into the world of wealthy teenagers, and while it’s not shocking to discover that drugs run rampant through those circles, the fact that it’s prescription and not illegal drugs is surprising to Ellie. Burke also focuses on the complicated relationships between teenagers and their parents. She focuses on many different ones, from loving and functional to parents that have disowned their children. It’s beautifully portrayed and heartbreaking, and will really make the reader think.
Burke writes the police procedural incredibly well. She shifts between the action of New York streets and the inner workings of the police department seamlessly. There’s never a lull or a slow point. Though the police’s progress through the case may seem like a dull area to focus on, it isn’t at all. Burke makes it riveting and really shows the reader what happens inside a police station. Because of this dual focus, the novel never becomes slow or dry, and the reader will race through it breathlessly in order to discover the conclusion.
What’s more, Burke has also created a sympathetic and likeable main character in Ellie Hatcher. Ellie’s father committed suicide, and she has had to live with that stigma, so she understands the Whitmires’ pain. However, it also partially clouds her judgment on the case. It’s so interesting to see how her personal experiences influence the way she views this family, though regardless of her views, she executes the case competently and thoroughly. Alafair Burke has written a winning installment in the Detective Ellie Hatcher series, and whether you’re a longtime fan of hers or, like me, new to her work, you should definitely consider picking up Never Tell.
Other books by Alafair Burke: