Cover Image: If You Tell

If You Tell

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I was able to read this book thanks to NetGalley. This book really touched me. It was terrifying and horrifying and extremely well written. The author did a fantastic job telling this tale. I have recommended this book to all of my true crime loving friends snd I will for very much look forward to reading more books by this talented author.
Was this review helpful?
I shook my head so many times while reading this book. It is understandable that the children were scared to tell people what was going on in their home. What I didn't understand, and felt the book failed to relay, was why the adults didn't reach out for help. Not after they had been under Shelly's control for awhile, but at the beginning when it started. Additionally, I felt like the book was incredibly repetitive. Events were referenced multiple times. This gets annoying and distracting very quickly. The author is not responsible for what actually took place, but they are for how the information is presented. Thankfully, none of this detracted from recognizing the horrible situation. There is no crueler animal than humans.
Was this review helpful?
If You Tell by Gregg Olsen was a novel I've been looking forward to reading for a long time. Female killers intrigue and baffle me.
Michelle "Shelley" Knotek is a sociopath through and through. Reading the things that she did to her children and those closest to her in life just boils my blood and makes me sick. 
For her behaviour to have escalated to the point it did with no intervention is just astounding. It seems to me that she did not hide who she was at all and if she did it was for such a brief period of time that I don't know how she didn't throw up red flags to everyone she encountered. She was horrible to be around, people knew that she was a liar and a manipulator but still seemed to allow her to get away with the things she did. I feel there was a HUGE injustice done to her children and obviously the 4 people she had a hand in murdering. I did find the book to be fairly well written and in the end no matter how the story was to be told it would leave the reader horrified.  One thing that does not sit well with me is the level of abuse the husband Dave inflicted on the children and Shelley's friends, but did not seem to feel he was complicit or that anything was truly wrong. 
For myself, I want to research the psychology behind the situations a bit more. How can individuals become so manipulated, conditioned, abused and not say anything?! 
I hope that Shelley never sees the light of day as she has not taken one ounce of responsibility for her crimes. Thank you so much to the author for bringing this story to myself the reader, those girls needed their story to be told.

Thank you also goes to the Publisher, and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
If You Tell by Gregg Olson

Brief Summary: This book details horrific abuse survived by three sisters at the hands of their mother. It also details their mother’s abuse of other friends and family members. I requested this book because I have a clinical interest in abuse and resiliency but also because I saw how many great reviews this book was getting. It did not disappoint.  

Highlights: I have read several books on abuse. This is by far one of the most horrific. It was very hard to read at times and could be triggering for its graphic content. I could not believe she kept getting away with it. I kept reading to find out how this wise and cunning woman would slip up in a way that she couldn’t cover her tracks. I was also really impressed with the resiliency of her daughters and how they grappled with denial/not wanting to see the truth. How people learned to see Shelly for who she was was also fascinating!

Explanation of Rating: 5/5; this book was so hard to read at times but like a bad car accident I just couldn’t tear myself away

Thank you to Net Galley and Lake Union Publishing for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review
Was this review helpful?
We loved this book so much we included a copy in our subscription box. The talent this author has is mind-bending, and to think he tackles both nonfiction and fiction. We're in awe!
Was this review helpful?
Gregg Olsen writes gripping true crime, and this one is no exception. But be prepared - this one will leave a residue long after you've finished reading it. It's hard to conceive of this level of evil, particularly within a family setting, but what's almost as disturbing is the level of complicity from the people on the periphery. There is no happy ending here, only an ending that is slightly less tragic than the beginning. #netgalley
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Netgalley for the free ebook to review! 

TW/CW: physical abuse, emotional and mental abuse, violence, trauma, killing, homelessness, alleged sexual assault, sexual abuse **take care of yourself if you decide to read this one ❤️**

What a truly horrific book. I mean this in the absolute best way. It was well written and told the story of Shelly and the years of unimaginable abuse on every single person around her. What’s horrific about this book is every single act that Shelly committed against every single person in her life. From each of her husbands to her children to her friends to her parents. No one escaped the abuse she so willingly doled out. I think it’s wild she only has a year and a half left in prison for everything she did. I hope her children are able to find peace in their lives and begin to heal from the repeated trauma taken out on them over the years
Was this review helpful?
Another terrific Greg Olsen book this one fiction based on a true story.Dark chilling sad a book I could not put down#netgalley#thomasmercer
Was this review helpful?
This was an easy to read thriller thaylt kept my attention all the way through! Lots of twists and surprises I didn't see coming. Very good, would recommend!
Was this review helpful?
"After more than a decade, when sisters Nikki, Sami, and Tori Knotek hear the word mom, it claws like an eagles talons, triggering memories that have been their secret since childhood. Until now."

This book was very disturbing, especially since it is based on true events. The story is tragic. You can't believe that things like this can happen in real life. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of true crime.

Thank you to NetGalley for an advanced copy for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This book was very hard to get through. this is based on a true story which makes it even harder to read. I'm impressed with the sisters' strength and their will to endure.  this will stay with me for a long time.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you for the opportunity to read and review this title.
I have never read true crime before but I did enjoy this one enough to consider them again in the future.
Was this review helpful?

That was a lot of sadness.

I'd like to talk about the writing of this book by Gregg Olsen. It wasn't my favorite, I feel like it was stretched very far out, and other parts way too rushed. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt because I am sure with all of the people and different versions of stories from 20+ years ago was just a cluster mess.

I am very happy that these women came out to talk about their past and to have a writer get with them to get their tragic stories out there, to expose their mother and their father. Which!! by the way, the father has been released and the mother's sentence is to be released in 2022. Oh yeah, this is a very true story.

I guess, I really wish that along with this story, written as a fiction novel, that there could have been a segment of Shelly's psychological state SOMEWHERE! I could always guess, but I want concrete. Of course the girls wouldn't want to expose their mental health, I understand that completely, I wouldn't want to do the same thing either.

Good book, wish it was written in a different way though.
BE PREPARED!! There is a lot of sadness in this book, and it was all true. Make sure you can handle it.
Was this review helpful?
This is a deeply saddening story of family violence. While I found the story interesting to read, I don't feel that the story was told well. I usually enjoy true crime books but this one was a bit of a disappointment for me.
Was this review helpful?
***Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review***

A harrowing and upsetting tale. Throughout the horror there is love and strong spirits surviving for one another.
Was this review helpful?
Phew! My emotions were all over the place with this book. I was sad, angry, shocked & heartbroken. If You Tell is a heartbreaking story of three sisters' journey of survival against all odds & cruelties. Unlike other books I pick up, this is a non-fiction - a true story that has all the horrors one might think only happens in the pages of a thriller & not in real life. 

Michelle 'Shelly' Knotek is a mother straight from hell. She's foul, brutal & possibly one of the evilest people I've ever read about. Her need to see others in pain, demeaning & insulting all those close to her shocks me to the core. All through the book, I kept reading about one unbelievable 'punishment' after the other, each horror and pain-filled activity worse than the last and designed to kill any spirit left in her victims. While her crimes may have been brutal & shocking, how she managed to evade attention & get away with so much is still a surprise to me. I am angry that nobody - no friend, teacher, neighbor cared enough & was persistent in their efforts to see what was up. My heart literally breaks for Nikki, Sami, Tori, Shane, Kathy & Ron. 
I'm amazed the Knotek sisters found the strength to finally bare their souls to the author - but that's the human spirit for you - strong & resilient! I'm glad they broke the circle & live happy lives now at last - they deserve it.
This was a long book, & some of it gets a bit repetitive, but every incident is important to the story being told. I'm so glad I picked this book & read it. I'm thankful to Gregg Olsen for writing this book.

Thank You NetGalley, Thomas & Mercer & Gregg Olsen for an arc! This for sure is one of the most unforgettable books I've read.
Was this review helpful?
2.5 stars

If You Tell by Gregg Olsen is the true story of abuse within a family. 

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Thomas & Mercer and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

My Synopsis:   (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions)

Three sisters.  They may not live in the same town, but they are close.  They grew up in a small town in Washington.  Past events have created a strong bond between them.  They may have all had different fathers, but that never mattered.  They are full sisters.

They grew up in a house with a sadistic and controlling mother, a father who was seldom seen and who was also under the mother's control.  Physical and emotional abuse were a daily occurrence.  No one told a neighbour, no one told a teacher, no one told a relative.  No one told anyone else what went on in that house.  Not everyone survived....and still, no one spoke up.

The sisters have survived.  Against all odds.  Nicki is now in her mid-forties, and lives in a million dollar home in Seattle with her husband and children .  Sami is the middle daughter, just turned forty.  She returned to her small coastal hometown to live, and teaches elementary school.  She, too, has children.  Tori, the youngest, is barely in her 30's and lives in Central Oregon.  They are close.

But those that came to live with them were not so lucky.

 My Opinions:  

The subject is dark...a sadistic mother, who seems to be able to control all aspects of her children's lives, her husbands lives, her friends lives.  Her control is so far-reaching that she can somehow get loans that she shouldn't get, get jobs she isn't qualified for,  and manipulate anyone she comes in contact with.  This book angered me, and I am sure I will be alone in these thoughts, because my anger is not just at the is with the neighbours, teachers, co-workers, because they all had to have noticed something, and looked away.  As well, although the kids were young... Do they not teach children to tell someone when there is a problem at home?  Do they not teach children to go to the teacher, go to the principal, go to the guidance counsellor, a neighbour, a friends mother....  They say you can't blame the children....yet the older two were in their twenties, with a younger one still at home, before they finally said something.  At some point, they have to take some responsibility for their lack of action.  Everyone does.  In hindsight, everyone feels guilty.  But until society learns to stand up to abuse, things will not change.  Sorry, I am done the rant now, and will continue with the review.

The story was told to reflect the hardship these children went through, and it is evident that this was a horrendous way to live, but they survived.  They survived the torture, the humiliations, the verbal and physical abuse.  Unfortunately, three other people did not survive....partly because no one told. Yes, the family are victims of a brutal mother, but the strangers who ended up living with this mother paid the ultimate price.

I read everything Gregg Olsen writes.  He is an amazing author.   This one, however, did not sit well with me.  The abuse, while horrific, was not the reason.   The book seemed to be drawn out, often repetitive, and yet the ending seemed abrupt.  Perhaps because there was no court case, but it seemed like, okay, non-ending abuse, arrests were made, sentences were handed out,  and that's it.  What?  Although the book seemed long, I still have questions.  Was the mother's mental state questioned? What about the father? Are the kids in counselling?  More information on the families of the deceased would have been nice.

This seemed like a long haul to me.  Anyway, I'm actually glad I'm done with this book, and I don't often say that.  I think I'll try something a little lighter now.
Was this review helpful?
I have been a Gregg Olsen fan for a while but have never read one of his true crime books.  If You Tell was my first but it will not be my last.  The story is about  three sisters Nikki, Sami, and Tori Knotek and their family life growing up.  For years, their sadistic mother, Shelly, subjected her girls to unimaginable abuse, degradation, torture, and terror.  . Even as step fathers, friends and even a step brother were drawn into their mother’s web, the sisters were able to escape their nightmare life that ended in multiple murders. If You Tell is a story of more than child abuse and neglect; it is one of perversion on the highest level.  It is also about the fact that even though you grow up in an incredibly abusive and perverse situation, you can escape it.
Was this review helpful?
As a huge fan of Gregg Olsen I was so excited for this one and it was soooo good. Probably one of his best! I feel that the fact that he seemed to take a break from writing true crime really gave him the break he needed to make a fantastic read. The story was so intriguing and unbelievable!
Was this review helpful?
Such an crazy story! I read any true crime I can get my hands on and I really liked the more narrative way the author told this story, rather than just giving the facts in a very straightforward manner. I was fascinated by the Knoteks' lives because of the way Olsen weaved descriptions and summaries with quotes from those involved. I felt some parts were repeated, which is why I gave it 4 stars, but overall a great book.
Was this review helpful?