Monday, June 17, 2013

Never Tell by Alafair Burke - TLC Book Tours

Never Tell by Alafair Burke
HarperCollins, 2012

Format?  Hardback
Source? the publisher via TLC Book Tours
**FTC Disclaimer - I received a copy of Never Tell from the publisher in exchange for a review.  However, the review below and the opinions therein are my own and offered without bias.

Title? more ways than one
Cover? I never imagined this victim with a frightened look on her face...and yes, I'm being ambiguous about who this victim is for a reason.  This cover doesn't work for me.

Why?  Alafair Burke is one of those writers for me that I know I can pick up her work and have a good time.  I read this one in about 2 days time...straight through :)

What Now? I've read and reviewed Angel's Tip and Dead Connection as well as Never Tell.  The third Ellie Hatcher was 212, and I somehow missed that one.  I missed a pretty important stage in Ellie and Max's relationship, so I want to go back and check that out.

Golden Lines

The tapping sounds against the keyboard were so quick and intense that the typist did not hear the approaching footsteps until a second face appeared, reflected in the laptop screen.
It was too late. (6)

She tried joining him in front of the television, but watching the real housewives fight over who drank more pinot grigio made her want to arrest somebody. (86)

...So to make sure nothing is taken out of context, no Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, all that nonsense.  One of the administrators told me that the school even hired a public relations firm to search the Internet for stories about the school and have the negative ones scrubbed.  It's like 1984. (130)

Brandon stared at his crossed feet.  When he looked up, Ellie saw a surprising softness in his expression.  "Like I said, Casey's my friend."  Ellie forced herself to remember he was only sixteen years old and had lived a young life so horrible that his current existence - alone on the streets of New York City - was an improvement.
"So when do we get our money?"
And, just like that, the moment of sympathy passed. (181)

Short and Sweet Summary

A mega-rich student from the elite Casden School in New York is dead.  The evidence points to suicide, but her mother demands an investigation...and she gets one via her husband's string pulling in the more money than anybody needs social network of New York City.  Ellie and Rogan are called in on the case, and Ellie's not happy about it.  She'd like to just call it what it is and move on.  Channeling leftover parental issues about her own father's death, Ellie has to repeatedly push her emotions aside in order to pull this very tangled web apart.

What I Liked 

Ellie Hatcher - Ellie is smart, gritty, flawed, and passionate about her work and who she is in contrast with what society expects of women, especially women in her profession.  The inside look at police work as well as that of the law and how the two professions work together (or not) to solve crimes is always very interesting to me.

Technology, Internet, Blogs...police work...Burke uses up to date issues and investigative procedures in her stories and that may be the most refreshing thing about her writing.  For example, the suicide note allegedly left by a teenager who probably wrote very little, if anything down on a piece of paper in her entire life..the need for handwriting experts is now completely useless. IT departments and techie gurus are now vitally important parts of investigative teams...where postings take place, IP addresses, blog owners, time frames, computer histories, etc. It's really mind blowing when you look at the technological issues of police work in today's social media culture.

Psychology, mental disorders of children and adolescents, medications, and big business associated with this ever developing problem.  Again, Burke keeps her focus on up to date issues...this time over-medicated kids and the high stakes, high pressured world of elite high schools and colleges.  While dealing with the crimes, Burke also takes the time to educate the reader on both sides of this problem, those who abuse the system and those who truly need help and slip through the cracks due to the aforementioned system abuse.

I've read 3 of Burke's books, and so far, they have been incredibly well thought out and put together layer by layer.  There is generally no one victim and no one bad guy...and it is very difficult to figure out what's going on until the very end.  I'm very bad about looking at the ending of books before I get there, but with Burke, you might as well not even do that.  The answers are too tightly wrapped up in events to be able to find the answer in one or two sentences.  That's great mystery/thriller writing to me :)

What I Didn't Like

I like Max...and I can really see this relationship working, but Max, please don't start pushing Ellie.  K?  

There were almost too many characters for me...there were leads and then there were leads that led nowhere...of course, this frustration could very well be exactly what Burke wanted her readers to experience bc I'm sure that type of distraction, whether it's routine distraction or "do-gooders," is something real-life investigators have to fight constantly.

Overall Recommendation

If you've read the other Ellie Hatcher books, don't miss this one...settle yourself in for some brainwork as well.  If you haven't read Ellie Hatcher but like a strong female, law enforcement protagonist, start with the first book, Dead Connection.  I do think to understand Ellie that the reader needs to know her story and how it unfolds throughout her adult life.

The Author - Alafair Burke

Other Stops on the Tour

Tuesday, May 14th: A Book Geek
Monday, May 20th: Reflections of a Bookaholic
Thursday, May 23rd: Literary Feline
Friday, May 24th: Drey’s Library
Monday, May 27th: A Bookworm’s World
Tuesday, May 28th: A Dream Within a Dream
Wednesday, May 29th: Traveling With T
Tuesday, June 4th: Brooklyn Berry Designs
Wednesday, June 12th: Tina’s Book Reviews
Monday, June 17th: Peppermint PhD


  1. I'm glad you enjoy this author's work so much. Ellie sounds like a fabulous character!

    1. I really like her a lot! She's feisty enough to keep my interest yet also has a soft side...when you can get through all the baggage and find it! :)

  2. I'm a stickler for reading a series in order (even when it isn't necessary) so I'm fine with starting at the beginning and working my way up to this one - sounds like it is worth the wait!

    Thanks for being on the tour.

    1. I have enjoyed this series...and I actually think I was introduced to it through TLC :) Thanks for having me!!