Never Tell: A Novel of Suspense (Ellie Hatcher)

Image of Never Tell: A Novel of Suspense (Ellie Hatcher, 4)
Release Date: 
May 13, 2013
Harper Paperbacks
Reviewed by: 

“. . . sit up and notice. A supremely intelligent novel, masterfully created with a telling hand and unique voice . . .”

Sixteen-year-old Julia Whitmire appears to have everything: a famous father, legendary music producer Bill Whitmire; a luxurious Manhattan townhouse; 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 insists 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 cyber bullying 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. W

hen 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 the victim met in Greenwich Village.

Julia’s friend, Ramona Langston, points Ellie in the direction of several homeless youths she and Julia befriended over the past year—particularly Casey Heinz, who has a crush on Ramona and keys to the Whitmire residence.

When the target of Julia’s harassment continues to receive death threats, Ellie is finally forced to acknowledge she hasn’t been thorough in her investigation or given the case the attention she normally would.

Even more troubling in that acknowledgement is that Julia may have learned the hard way that some secrets should never be told. . . .

Ms. Burke is superb at building suspense. Throughout the book, she draws on her experiences as a criminal law professor and deputy district attorney, and the authenticity of her writing rings true on every page.

Once in awhile, a book comes along and makes you sit up and notice. A supremely intelligent novel, masterfully created with a telling hand and unique voice, Never Tell is one of those books. Crime writing doesn’t get much better than this.