If You Tell – Gregg Olsen

#1 New York Times bestselling author Gregg Olsen’s shocking and empowering true-crime story of three sisters determined to survive their mother’s house of horrors.

After more than a decade, when sisters Nikki, Sami, and Tori Knotek hear the word mom, it claws like an eagle’s talons, triggering memories that have been their secret since childhood. Until now.

For years, behind the closed doors of their farmhouse in Raymond, Washington, their sadistic mother, Shelly, subjected her girls to unimaginable abuse, degradation, torture, and psychic terrors. Through it all, Nikki, Sami, and Tori developed a defiant bond that made them far less vulnerable than Shelly imagined. Even as others were drawn into their mother’s dark and perverse web, the sisters found the strength and courage to escape an escalating nightmare that culminated in multiple murders.

Harrowing and heartrending, If You Tell is a survivor’s story of absolute evil—and the freedom and justice that Nikki, Sami, and Tori risked their lives to fight for. Sisters forever, victims no more, they found a light in the darkness that made them the resilient women they are today—loving, loved, and moving on.

Book Info: Print length: 431 pages. Publisher: Thomas & Mercer. Publication date: 1 Dec 2019. Audio info: Listening length: 10 hours 34 mins. Narrator: Karen Peakes.

About Gregg Olsen: I live in rural Washington State (about a mile as the crow flies from Dr. Linda Burfield Hazzard’s infamous Starvation Heights sanatarium). My thriller, THE LAST THING SHE EVER DID was an Amazon Charts bestseller. LYING NEXT TO ME was a reader favorite, charting at No. 1 in the Kindle store and the bestseller’s list at the Washington Post. My true crime book, IF YOU TELL, found a home on Amazon Charts for more than 140 weeks. In fact, it was the bestselling Kindle ebook of 2020 (and the second-bestselling of 2021). I’ve been a guest on Dateline NBC, NPR, Good Morning America, The Early Show, FOX News, CNN, Anderson Cooper, Entertainment Tonight, Inside Edition, Extra, Access Hollywood, 20/20, Snapped, Deadly Women, William Shatner’s Aftermath, and A&E’s Biography. You can find out more about me at www.NotoriousUSA.com.

My Review:

This is my first book by Gregg Olsen and if you have Kindle Unlimited you will be delighted to know most of his books are available on KU and several of them have free audible too.

I downloaded If You Tell having seen lots of recommendations for this book on another Facebook book group and as it also appeared in my audible library I decided to listen to this book instead of reading it.

This is a true story and the saying “the truth is stranger than fiction” sums up my feelings perfectly having spent the last few days listening to this harrowing, incredulous and very disturbing true story narrated perfectly by Karen Peakes.

This is the true story of Shelly (Michelle) Knotek, an American convicted murderer from Raymond, Washington who was found guilty of murdering 2 people in 2004. If You Tell is told through the voices of people who knew Shelly well, including her stepmother, her husband and more importantly her 3 daughters who she subjected to years of abuse and cruelty.

This story follows Shelly from childhood to adulthood, her 3 marriages and her journey into motherhood. She is a master manipulator, a cruel and deceitful child who grew up to become a dangerous, unpredictable and vicious woman.

I can’t begin to even understand how or why she behaved as she did, I can’t begin to understand how her 3 daughters coped with the abuse and violence they witnessed throughout their childhood and I can’t begin to understand how she got away with it for so long, but once again.. “truth is stranger than fiction”.

It’s difficult to say I “enjoyed” this book/audio as it was so dark and disturbing. Every time the narrator spoke as Shelly, her voice crawled under my skin making me feel unsettled and uneasy. If You Tell was as fascinating as it was horrific and fans of true crime should definitely pop this onto their list of books.

I should just point out there are topics covered in great detail which might be triggering to some readers including child abuse, physical and mental abuse, extreme torture and murder.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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