When Ellie and her partner J.J. Rogan arrive at the scene of an apparent suicide neither of them picks up any hints or clues that it is anything other than a suicide, with the homicide team called in because of the parents influence rather than their merit. After a brief time at the crime scene they both leave - only to go back several hours later because the parents have been calling anyone over their heads who will listen, calling in favours and using connections to get them back to the scene. When they return they discover something that seems out of place, something that Ellie completely missed the first time around. It looks like a homicide, and sounds like a suicide - not the best combination for any homicide detective.
As Ellie and Rogan dig further into the life of teenage "victim" Julia Whitemire they discover that everyone in her life seems to be keeping secrets. Her parents don't have a perfect marriage, Julia and her brother were abandoned too young to fend for themselves because of their mothers insecurities. One of her friends is not what he appears to be, a young person trapped in the body of the wrong gender - a tough challenge for anyone to face, especially when they are living on the streets. Added into the mix is the anonymous blog Second acts: Confessions of a former victim and current survivor. It appears that there is a connection between Julia and the woman who has been posting her private pain in the open forum of the world wide web.
Ellie and Rogan have their work cut out for them - not only because the elite are used to getting what they want, but also because the elite are used to keeping their secrets. In only a few days Ellie and Rogan have the rug pulled out from under them time and time again as they try and get to the bottom of the mystery and discover if it was the suicide of a young girl who was left too much to her own devices, or if it was an act of murder committed by someone with their own secrets to hide.
Never tell is the fourth book in the series about Detective Ellie Hatcher and seems to be an improvement on the previous book 212, which seemed to get a little lost and overly complicated. Never tell is complicated in its own way, but seems much better at keeping up the momentum and the pace. One of the aspects of this series that I appreciate is that the case is approached more holistically - it is not just the police working the case, the district attorneys office is also involved. My favourite book in this series is definitely still City of fear, partly because while Never tell does a brilliant job of keeping you guessing, it seems to do so at the expense of the some of the readability - it has something of the "trying to be too clever for its own good" syndrome.
These are excellent books and seem to be based well on fact, but it does feel a little forced here - but that could just be my very critical eyes (having read so many books over the years). My mother found this very readable, and as we have similar but diverging tastes that is a good sign that I am perhaps being a little too judgmental - I did finish it after all, and I did enjoy it overall. One of the nice "evolutions" of the series is that Ellie is not the perfect golden girl in this book, she makes mistakes and continues to make them - doing more than just lose her temper and make inappropriate comments. Her relationships are growing and evolving - with her lieutenant, her partner, her brother, and her boyfriend.
If you like this book then try:
- City of fear by Alafair Burke
- Now you see her by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
- Eeny meeny by M.J. Arlidge
- The surgeon by Tess Gerritsen
- One step too far by Tina Seskis
- The postcard killers by James Patterson and Liza Marklund
- Normal by Graeme Cameron
- The survivors club by Lisa Gardner
- Private Oz by James Patterson and Michael White
- Look behind you by Sibel Hodge
- Vodka doesn't freeze by Leah Giarratano
- Kill switch by Neal Baer & Jonathan Greene
- The edge of normal by Carla Norton
Reviewed by Brilla