Never Tell: A Novel of Suspense Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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“[Burke] has delivered another winner….Two seemingly different storylines converge in a shocking way, demonstrating Burke’s remarkable abilities as a writer….Hatcher is a complex character, and her journey both personally and professionally will have even the most jaded suspense aficionado rapidly turning the pages.” (J<k>eff</k> A<k>yers</k>, Associated Press) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
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.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Never Tell is the fourth book in the Hatcher series. Burke piques our interest with the opening prologue - an entry from a blog - "Second Acts: Confessions of a Former Victim and Current Survivor."
Cut to Ellie and her partner Rogan - they've been called out to what appears to be a clear cut suicide. But the dead girl is young - and her parents are rich and influential. Her mother insists her daughter would never kill herself. Ellie thinks the call is a waste of her time and believes the death is exactly what it appears to be. Rogan - he's got his doubts. And it turns out he's right. A chastened Hatcher approaches the case with a new attitude. And what she finds........
Ellie is a great protagonist. She's real and fallible, but at the same time tough, dogged and determined. I enjoyed the secondary story line of Ellie's love life - her relationship with Max, an NYC Assistant District Attorney. I always like to get to 'know' a character's life and follow the changes throughout a series. Rogan works as a good foil to Ellie's personality. They are complete opposites, but work well together. Their dialogue is easy and entertaining.
Burke has again come up with a plot populated with enough false leads and twists to keep me wondering 'whodunit' until the last few chapters. Never Tell kept me interested from first to last page. Burke has worked as a criminal prosecutor and currently teaches criminal law. That insider knowledge gives her writing an added punch and a dose of reality. A recommended series.
Fans of Lisa Gardner and Linda Fairstein would enjoy Alafair Burke's books. I'm looking forward to her next book - a stand alone called If You Were Here, releasing in June 2013.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Alafair Burke uses her knowledge of the streets of New York to create action that rolls out as if the reader was a pedestrian in the street or in Washington Square Park, listening to the sounds of laughter and observing the eccentricities of the characters.
Ellie not only investigates the questionable suicide of the teenager but has flashbacks of her own policeman father who was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot when Ellie was of impressionable age. She considers if she "...could simply set aside her own past like a discarded shopping bag."
When Ellie talks of her youth and her hero father, she remembers the occasions when he'd discuss his work. We wonder if this could be anything like young Alafair Burke growing up with her own multiple award winning writer father, James Lee Burke.
The teenage children and their relationships with their parents are the heart of the story. Many of these teenagers have been cast aside by their parents and are attempting to live their lives on the streets. We are also given a lesson of the danger of abuse of perscription drugs and antidepressants.
There is rich character development as we learn of the character's histories and view the parents who seem so perfectly content in their society world.
The author keeps the reader guessing through the intricacies of the story and the reader will shake their head in appreciation of the writing skill as we read the concluding chapters of the story.
When the teenage daughter of an influential family commits suicide, her mother refuses to believe it, and pressure is brought to bear as she demands a full investigation.
While this sounds a rather mundane plot, the author manages to bring it all together in a maelstrom of suspense, tragedy and triumph that far transcends the ordinary.
Ms. Burke's masterful handling of delicate issues, her controlled and well-defined plotting, along with some very realistic characterizations give Ms. Burke an edge on many of her contemporaries.
"Never Tell" starts off, after a scene-setting prologue, with Ellie Hatcher, an NYPD detective and her partner J. J. Rogan arriving at the townhouse where Julia's body has been found in her bathtub, with her wrists slashed and with a suicide note close to hand. And maybe you'll think, "oh right--the cops will be anxious to close the case but the influential parents will demand a more complete investigation."
But be patient. Yes, Hatcher is convinced it's suicide, Rogan's not convinced, and after pressure's put on the partners they indeed do embark on a complete investigation, and find themselves riding a carousel surrounded by characters high and low, with motives pure and impure, and with many secrets to conceal. It becomes intriguing and atypical, as Ms. Burke makes what in lesser hands would be stock characters seem real, and she finally ties up the spidery loose ends beautifully and in one case in a single paragraph. (Now what happened with that . . . ? Oh!)
It even has sort of a moral. As one of the characters tells Hatcher: "Things can be black and white, right and wrong--all at the same time."
The problem is, Julia's mother refuses to believe her daughter would take her own life. The Whitmores are wealthy Manhattanites and have the means and the power to keep this case open and so Ellie and JJ must treat this as a possible homicide.
During the investigation, they come across more questions than answers and it seems like everyone has something to hide. There are the homeless kids that Julia and her friend, Ramona, have befriended, the rampant drug abuse at the private school they attend, and Ramona's mother is being harrassed and threatened on her anonymous web blog, which somehow connects back to Julia.
So what caused this young teen to take her own life? Or was she really murdered. As the case moves forward, Ellie comes to see that not everything is black and white and just when you think you have all the answers, another question pops up. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, some new secret came out. I was guessing till the very end.
I really enjoy the Ellie Hatcher series for several reasons. Alafair Burke has created a character that I can somewhat relate to as a woman. She is strong at times, can be very stubborn and nowhere near perfect. It is her flaws that make her so likeable. We all have them.
Ms Burke also uses her experience in the criminal justice system to provide accurate information on how police procedure works. Not everything is like it is on Law and Order. She also paints a portrait of New York City where you can visualize it in your mind. It's enough to make me want to go back, but not too much that it feels like page filler.
Overall, I liked NEVER TELL , the 4th Ellie Hatcher novel in the series, maybe more than the prior 3. It grabbed my attention from page one and didn't let go. I spent 2 nights up late saying to myself "just one more chapter" and finding I would read several more before turning in.
If you haven't read any of these novels (or the seven previous, including one stand-alone) I urge you to check them out. The Ellie Hatcher books give enough background to inform first time readers, but not too much that it will feel redundant to loyal fans.
Between 1975 - 2005, I taught in the public schools and often met parents that neglected their children by letting the child do whatever he or she wanted to do to have fun and feel good all the time, which isn't what love should be. Instead, it often leads to disturbed, dysfunctional adults when the child physically matures.
Julia Whitmore, age 16 at her death as the novel opens, shows us why parents must be involved in their children's lives more than the five or fewer daily minutes studies show the average American parent actually talks to his or her child.
Before I go on, I want to say that there are good parents in America but they are in the minority because the average parent is not parenting, as they should. Julia's parents are an example of this trend in the US that started in the 1960s with the growth of the self-esteem movement in parenting.
From the start of the novel, it appears that Julia Whitmore committed suicide but why. She had everything a teen could want because her wealthy and powerful parents made sure of it--except one thing, the guidance of a caring parent when a parent is needed in a young person's life (a parent that is involved who is not afraid to say "no" and mean it). Instead, Julia raised herself with help of her friends, TV, movies, the media and the boys and men she seduced.
As N.Y.P. D. detective Ellie Hatcher and her partner J.J. Rogan reluctantly continue their investigation of what they feel, at first, was a suicide and not a murder, we discover that Julia was a very disturbed teen.
Julia's mother and powerful father, however, cannot accept that their precious daughter (who had everything) killed herself and use their influence to keep the investigation open, which leads to a few surprises at the conclusion of the novel.
This isn't easy on Ellie because investigating Julia's death opens up old wounds--when she was a child, her policeman father was found dead of an apparent suicide by a self-inflicted gunshot wound, which continues to haunt her while having an impact on her own relationship with Max, her lover. He wants the relationship to grow closer while she is reluctant to let that happen.
The relationship between parents and their children is the core of this story. For example, there is homeless Casey, a transgender teenage girl that wants to be a boy and who had a crush, as a boy, on Julia. Casey has been abandoned by her-his parents because they cannot stand the idea that their daughter lives as a boy.
It is up to Ellie and Rogan to unravel this complex mystery and what they discover while solving the crime of Julia's death is that there is no black and white. Instead, there are many shades of gray and Alafair Burke does a good job in this novel making sense of that gray area. For that reason, this novel deserves five stars. A skilled author does more than just entertain. They teach us about the dysfunctional world around us (even if we don't want to hear it) with all of its shades of gray that can make life emotionally complicated and challenging.
A word about the rating system, which I have borrowed/adapted from Alice Wakefield, in an attempt to keep the star rating system meaningful.
* 5 stars are reserved for that rare work that reaches the level of a classic, such as a National Book Award, a Pulitzer or a Nobel Prize winner that compares to a Steinbeck or Mark Twain, which means the author impressed me beyond the average, entertaining book.
* 4 stars from me are high praise, meaning I enjoyed the novel and recommended it.
* 3 stars mean I enjoyed the book and recommend it with some reservations.
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