May 28, 2013

Never Tell Blog Tour: Review

Never Tell (Ellie Hatcher #4)

Author: Alafair Burke
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Release Date: June 19, 2012
Publisher: Harper


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 antidepressants and ADHD medication ran rampant among students; an unlabeled bottle of pills in Julia's purse suggests she had succumbed to the trend. And a search of Julia's computer reveals that in the days leading up to her death she was 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. When the Whitmires use their power to force a criminal investigation, Ellie's resistance causes trouble for her both at work and in her personal life. 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 overly 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 fourth installment in the Ellie Hatcher series, but can be read as a standalone novel. It tells the story of Julia Whitmire, a popular rich girl from NYC who has apparently committed suicide. Ellie and her partner are assigned to the case when Julia's parents insist that their daughter was murdered. Soon the both Ellie and the reader are caught in a tangle of lies, deceipt, secrets, and teenage pressure. Ellie must put aside her own personal demons in order to get Julia the justice she deserves.

This was a fantastically written mystery/thriller novel that had me completely hooked from the first paragraph. There are lots of story lines happening at once throughout the book, so there are several smaller plots and mysteries that the reader has to keep up with, which only makes it harder to put down. Ellie is a great main character. She's a strong, intelligent, and capable detective who works hard and empathizes easily with the victims of the cases she works on. I found her easy to identify with and immediately liked her as the heroine. The other characters were well written, even the ones that barely made a ripple in the story, so much so that they all left a distinct impression on me as I read about them; it was easy to believe that they were real people mixed up in this girl's death. The plot wasn't anything completely unique, but the way the author wrote it was very perceptive and engaging that I felt like I was working the case alongside Ellie and trying to figure out what really happened. Like any good thriller or mystery, the story had several twists and turns that I didn't see coming - which only made me more determined to figure out the truth and had me reading as fast as I could to see what was going to happen next. The writing was phenomenal with a fast pace, believable dialogue, and effortless flow. Although there are several story lines happening at once throughout the novel, I never felt confused between them and they only deepened the intrigue that the author created. This is definitely a novel, as well as a series, that mystery and thriller fans will want to start reading - if they haven't done already. The author proves herself to be a major player in the genre and I'm eagerly awaiting her next release.

Alafair Burke is the author of "two power house series" (Sun-Sentinel) that have earned her a reputation for creating strong, believable, and eminently likable female characters, such as NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher and Portland Deputy District Attorney Samantha Kincaid. Alafair's novels grow out of her experience as a prosecutor in America's police precincts and criminal courtrooms, and have been featured by The Today Show, People Magazine, The New York Times, MSNBC, The Washington Post, USA Today, and The Chicago Sun-Times. According to Entertainment Weekly, Alafair "is a terrific web spinner" who "knows when and how to drop clues to keep readers at her mercy."

A graduate of Stanford Law School and a former Deputy District Attorney in Portland, Oregon, Alafair is now a Professor of Law at Hofstra Law School, where she teaches criminal law and procedure. Her books have been translated into 12 languages.

Alafair's latest thriller, Long Gone, has been praised by some of the world's most respected crime writers: Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Karin Slaughter, Lisa Scottoline, Lisa Unger, and Nelson DeMille.

Learn more about Alafair at

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  1. I'm glad that you enjoyed this mystery! Thanks for being on the tour. I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.

  2. "There are lots of story lines happening at once throughout the book, so there are several smaller plots and mysteries that the reader has to keep up with, which only makes it harder to put down"
    Burke's Ellie Hatcher mysteries are definitely stories the reader has to pay attention to...and then, in the very end, when Burke pulls it all together, I'm always stunned that she makes it all work. Enjoyed your review! :)