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If You Tell: A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood

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A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood After more than a decade, when sisters Nikki, Sami, and Tori Knotek hear the word mom, it claws like an eagle’s talons, triggering memories that have been their secret since childhood. Until now.For years, behind the closed doors of their farmhouse in Raymond, Washington, their sadistic mother, S A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood After more than a decade, when sisters Nikki, Sami, and Tori Knotek hear the word mom, it claws like an eagle’s talons, triggering memories that have been their secret since childhood. Until now.For years, behind the closed doors of their farmhouse in Raymond, Washington, their sadistic mother, Shelly, subjected her girls to unimaginable abuse, degradation, torture, and psychic terrors. Through it all, Nikki, Sami, and Tori developed a defiant bond that made them far less vulnerable than Shelly imagined. Even as others were drawn into their mother’s dark and perverse web, the sisters found the strength and courage to escape an escalating nightmare that culminated in multiple murders.


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A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood After more than a decade, when sisters Nikki, Sami, and Tori Knotek hear the word mom, it claws like an eagle’s talons, triggering memories that have been their secret since childhood. Until now.For years, behind the closed doors of their farmhouse in Raymond, Washington, their sadistic mother, S A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood After more than a decade, when sisters Nikki, Sami, and Tori Knotek hear the word mom, it claws like an eagle’s talons, triggering memories that have been their secret since childhood. Until now.For years, behind the closed doors of their farmhouse in Raymond, Washington, their sadistic mother, Shelly, subjected her girls to unimaginable abuse, degradation, torture, and psychic terrors. Through it all, Nikki, Sami, and Tori developed a defiant bond that made them far less vulnerable than Shelly imagined. Even as others were drawn into their mother’s dark and perverse web, the sisters found the strength and courage to escape an escalating nightmare that culminated in multiple murders.

30 review for If You Tell: A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dem

    2.5 Stars Just to be clear I am not judging or rating this book on the horrific happenings or the cruelty that took place within this family and I cannot imagine what it would be like to grow up in a home with fear and violence part of every day life or with parents like the Knoteks. My rating reflects how the book came across to me as a reader who had never heard of this family or what took place within the household. We all react differently to books and this is just my reaction This book ca 2.5 Stars Just to be clear I am not judging or rating this book on the horrific happenings or the cruelty that took place within this family and I cannot imagine what it would be like to grow up in a home with fear and violence part of every day life or with parents like the Knoteks. My rating reflects how the book came across to me as a reader who had never heard of this family or what took place within the household. We all react differently to books and this is just my reaction This book came up as a bookclub January read and it may not have crossed my radar otherwise. I think it was poorly written and very repetitive. The account is quite disturbing and if there was a rating for how shocked I was at the level of abuse and torture that took place within this home, then I would rate it a 5. However I am not rating the book on it’s shockability factor. For me the story doesn't come across well and I wasn’t convinced I was getting the full picture of what actually happened. So many questions remained unanswered, how so many people on the outside of this family and in authority didn’t notice the disappearances or even what was going on with this family. The level of abuse and torture is relentless and makes for difficult reading. I did finish the book and am while I didn’t love it I do think it will make for good discussion. I listened to this one on audible and the narrator was excellent. An ok read and a story that may appeal to readers who enjoy true crime stories but not a book for my favourites shelf.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    This was a disturbing book. Sometimes things that really have happened are far worse than anything one can dream up in their mind. This is a tale of abuse, manipulation, and complete and utter disregard for human suffering. Where one woman got off on the emotional and physical pain she could inflict on others - mainly her children and those closest to her. How she got away with this for so long is a mystery. “I loved my mother because I didn’t know I had a choice. I had to love her.” What hap This was a disturbing book. Sometimes things that really have happened are far worse than anything one can dream up in their mind. This is a tale of abuse, manipulation, and complete and utter disregard for human suffering. Where one woman got off on the emotional and physical pain she could inflict on others - mainly her children and those closest to her. How she got away with this for so long is a mystery. “I loved my mother because I didn’t know I had a choice. I had to love her.” What happens when the person who is supposed to love you the most, hurts you the most? The level of depravity and cruelty in this book is unsettling and hard to read at times. Shelly was nothing short of a monster. Be warned, there are many scenes which will be difficult for some to read. There are tales of horrific abuse. This was a well written, well-researched account of abuse. The author did a great job telling these sister's stories and chronicled their lives together living with their mother and when they were adults The light at the end of the tunnel, besides Shelly being brought to justice, was that the three sisters were able to move on, each in her own way. Each was able to make a life, love and be loved. Thank you to Gregg Olson, Thomas & Mercer, and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    A tragic story, but... I found it difficult to engage with the story. I understand that the author has had to cobble together, many different points of view and try to create a coherent timeline for the story, but if found it clunky and sadly lacking in depth. Don't get me wrong, this is a truly tragic and mind boggling account of terrible acts and my heart goes out to the victims. The strength and bond the sisters have retained is incredible. On the other hand, the terrible complicity and acts of A tragic story, but... I found it difficult to engage with the story. I understand that the author has had to cobble together, many different points of view and try to create a coherent timeline for the story, but if found it clunky and sadly lacking in depth. Don't get me wrong, this is a truly tragic and mind boggling account of terrible acts and my heart goes out to the victims. The strength and bond the sisters have retained is incredible. On the other hand, the terrible complicity and acts of the father seem to be minimised in comparison to Shelly's crimes. This isn't an investigative account, more of a first draft that has the potential to fill in so many blanks. I for one would have liked more information to explain why the police didn't act on the information received the first time, Shelly was never even questioned? The conclusion was pretty disappointing in so far as it left even more blanks. Nothing really was explained in any detail, they were arrested. She pled guilty but not guilty really? They went to jail. He gets out. Kids take him back into the fold, whilst Shelly is still in denial saying it's all a mistake. Phew????? I stuck with this expecting more and sadly got less and less.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dan McDonald

    Dark, Disturbing, Drawn Out, and Ultimately Dissatisfying If you're going to write a book about a mentally ill, sadistic serial killer you should probably spend more time talking about her mental illness or at least trying to explain the "why" instead of just the "what." I never felt like I understood the motivations or motivating force behind any of the people in this tragedy. Was Shelly suffering from borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, both? What would the exper Dark, Disturbing, Drawn Out, and Ultimately Dissatisfying If you're going to write a book about a mentally ill, sadistic serial killer you should probably spend more time talking about her mental illness or at least trying to explain the "why" instead of just the "what." I never felt like I understood the motivations or motivating force behind any of the people in this tragedy. Was Shelly suffering from borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, both? What would the experts say? Was she just evil? An epilogue at the end that only gives superficial treatment to these issues and, particularly, the psychology behind why victims stay and don't report is extremely dissatisfying. Sorry. I just don't like reading about human misery without at least some ability to understand why or how it occurred. Giving the reader more tools to do that would have been appreciated.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Shaina

    It took me no time at all to read this. Why? Well you hear about crimes and crazy things ppl do or split minute decisions made in haste, but I have never heard of someone like the mother in this story. She had a switch. She seemed to have a hair trigger. The book even remarked on that. It also well documents and shows you exactly what this means. Happy to horribly mean, calm to hellaciously evil and vengeful. I’m not sure she had all of her humanity included when she was born? Or maybe in her fo It took me no time at all to read this. Why? Well you hear about crimes and crazy things ppl do or split minute decisions made in haste, but I have never heard of someone like the mother in this story. She had a switch. She seemed to have a hair trigger. The book even remarked on that. It also well documents and shows you exactly what this means. Happy to horribly mean, calm to hellaciously evil and vengeful. I’m not sure she had all of her humanity included when she was born? Or maybe in her formative years she did not get the type of nurturing care she needed when she was developing the most crucial parts of her personality and how she would learn to process emotions. This was a great book, but in a terrible way. It was terrible in that this went on so long. It’s terrible that these things happened under the noses of others and that there were authority errors and non-response. But I’m glad it came out for the sake of those that needed it to. I can say I have heard of a lot of ppl but that woman seemed to be evil incarnate to me. She needed lots of help. I would recommend the book to true crime lovers that are strong and not triggered often. This is definitely a very disturbing piece of material that has been well organized and written by Olsen. It’s not my first by him, and I enjoy his research.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Effie

    Poorly written. Poorly interpreted. Yuck. Just yuck. The subject matter...the written word. I wanted to find out “what happened”. But it was a REAL struggle to read. So many ways this story could have been shortened. So much superfluous text. Just yuck.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Grace Anderson

    I’m pretty horrified that Shelly was allowed to get away with so much. Horrified.

  8. 4 out of 5

    angela

    This was an intense book about mental, physical abuse and murder. A mother and wife who was a psychopathic, narcissistic, abusive, manipulating, murder. She tortured her children, manipulated everyone and should have been on death row, for what she did. It was sometimes hard to listen, awkward hearing what she would do her children and people who came to live with them. It was an excellent book, that brings to light, how crazy some people are. How lucky I am to have the family I do. I don’t know This was an intense book about mental, physical abuse and murder. A mother and wife who was a psychopathic, narcissistic, abusive, manipulating, murder. She tortured her children, manipulated everyone and should have been on death row, for what she did. It was sometimes hard to listen, awkward hearing what she would do her children and people who came to live with them. It was an excellent book, that brings to light, how crazy some people are. How lucky I am to have the family I do. I don’t know how anyone can do these things to anyone, never mind their own family. I’m in shock right now, I don’t know what to say. How these people kept it together and dealt with what was going on, is crazy, but I can see how it can happen, kinda. Everyone had no where else to go, or turn. If they said anything and weren’t believed, their lives would be in danger. It’s a hard situation. It was definitely well written, I believe it was based on a true story. I’m not sure though, I was going back and forth between two books, I know one was based on a true story. The Author did a wonderful job of describing everything, giving a mental picture of what was happening. The story was smooth. and engrossing. The characters all distinct personalities and they all dealt similarly, yet different. As much as this affected me, my feeling is when an Author can get you feeling real emotions and develop a true connection, or (concern in this case), they have done a GREAT job. My emotions were runithing over!! Great book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    ☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣

    Q: The best calls came at three in the morning. (c) Q: Even on the crazy train, there is a place where the world is shut out and things go on feeling as though they are normal or even worth fighting for. (c) The world's most fucked up train with Shelly Knotek as the lead conductor. This is I dunno what. If at least some of this is true then this is a bonkers batshit story. And it does seem to be credible. I have no idea how that gal managed to get off with this much military grade crap. What the he Q: The best calls came at three in the morning. (c) Q: Even on the crazy train, there is a place where the world is shut out and things go on feeling as though they are normal or even worth fighting for. (c) The world's most fucked up train with Shelly Knotek as the lead conductor. This is I dunno what. If at least some of this is true then this is a bonkers batshit story. And it does seem to be credible. I have no idea how that gal managed to get off with this much military grade crap. What the hell was the deal of the other people? Just how many deeply traumatized people are walking around ready to fall victims to some batsy person? Q: “She doesn’t know how to talk without some stupid lie coming out of her mouth.” (c) Q: After that, her underwear vanished. Kathy did chores around the house nude. (c) Q: Shelly never let the children use the toilet without permission or without the door fully open. Most times, Shelly perched next to the kids as they went about their business and watched like it was a science experiment. (c) Q: Lara Watson thought her son-in-law had a serious drinking problem, but it paled next to his Shelly problem. Drinking, he could quit. Shelly, it turned out, not so easily. (c) Q: ... not rocking the boat didn’t stop bad things from happening. It only allowed them to continue. (c) Aand here goes the answer: Q: (view spoiler)[ “Let’s see what Mom’s feeding Kathy,” Shane said. Shelly kept an array of pill bottles on the top of her dresser and on the nightstand near the bed. The medicine cabinet on the main floor was also a veritable pharmacy with dozens of prescription pill bottles, including Lorazepam, Nitroquick, Atenolol, Altace, and Paxil. It was bewildering. Most were drugs that neither of them had heard about before, prescribed by doctors across Pacific County, and filled at various pharmacies in Raymond, South Bend, and Aberdeen. Prozac, in its green-and-white capsules, was the most recognizable. “That’s what she’s giving Kathy all the time,” Nikki said... Shelly was clearly drugging Kathy. Some would later wonder if she’d also drugged Shane or any of her girls from time to time. (hide spoiler)] (c)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Christina - Recipe & a Read

    Woah.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ileana Renfroe

    Why? How? How could she have done all those things? From the moment I started reading this book I was hooked. I kept asking, why did the police not react sooner? They are to blame for Ron’s death, no question. But most importantly, How terrible these girls had to endure all those years of torture. However, there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel, and in this story it tells of three sisters who found the courage to finally tell the truth. Three strong women who are survivors. Thank you to Why? How? How could she have done all those things? From the moment I started reading this book I was hooked. I kept asking, why did the police not react sooner? They are to blame for Ron’s death, no question. But most importantly, How terrible these girls had to endure all those years of torture. However, there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel, and in this story it tells of three sisters who found the courage to finally tell the truth. Three strong women who are survivors. Thank you to the author for telling this story. May no one ever forget the horrible atrocities committed by “Shelley”. Heart wrenching story!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jade Violet

    I'm going to need a minute on this one. Feel like I have to go take a shower first and bleach my mind before I say anything... Oh, that was a bad choice of words considering. I'm going to need a minute on this one. Feel like I have to go take a shower first and bleach my mind before I say anything... Oh, that was a bad choice of words considering.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Valerity (Val)

    This is a crazy good book by Gregg Olsen about a really dysfunctional family that becomes painful at times to read. The more you read, the more you see it going off in the ditch. You can’t help but watch the train wreck though. The main twistee, Shelly, is a real piece of work. She loves to inflict maximum punishment and humiliation on her victims, who are her own three children, along with a young male nephew she’s taken in, along with her former hairdresser Kathy, who moved in to help out at a This is a crazy good book by Gregg Olsen about a really dysfunctional family that becomes painful at times to read. The more you read, the more you see it going off in the ditch. You can’t help but watch the train wreck though. The main twistee, Shelly, is a real piece of work. She loves to inflict maximum punishment and humiliation on her victims, who are her own three children, along with a young male nephew she’s taken in, along with her former hairdresser Kathy, who moved in to help out at a time she needed a place to stay. This is the best of true crime, and it’s hard to put down, wanting to see what’s going to happen next. I really enjoy this author's non-fiction work, following him for many years. First published on my WordPress blog, viewable here: https://wordpress.com/post/bookblog20...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Debbie "Buried in Her TBR Pile"

    3 stars (view spoiler)[I had a hard time understanding why the older girl did not go to the police sooner after the deaths of 3 people. She was 20 and still living with the mother and tolerating the abuse after 2 people were killed. Her "brother" disappears and she suspects her parents killed him and did not report? The other part that bothered me is that the 2 elder girls were trying to decide if the younger child could take the environment for a couple of years until graduation knowing what wa 3 stars (view spoiler)[I had a hard time understanding why the older girl did not go to the police sooner after the deaths of 3 people. She was 20 and still living with the mother and tolerating the abuse after 2 people were killed. Her "brother" disappears and she suspects her parents killed him and did not report? The other part that bothered me is that the 2 elder girls were trying to decide if the younger child could take the environment for a couple of years until graduation knowing what was happening. It is hard to understand the abuse if they also talk about love and all the good times.... (hide spoiler)]

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Morse

    Wow this was....terrible. I mean, the story is obviously terrible, and would be no matter what, but couple that with the awful writing, lack of editing, repetitive phrasing, and cutesy metaphors and puns - and you get this dumpster fire.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl James

    This is a 5 star book of craziness and sadness. I could not believe that this mother, wife, aunt, and friend was able to manipulate, torture, harass and kill people in this day and time. I pray that this story goes viral. Children and Adults need to know that there is help to get them out of a horrible situation. People like this mother and father should rot in jail with no chance of getting out. How do they sleep at night? Kudos to the 3 sisters for standing up and disclosing the truth about th This is a 5 star book of craziness and sadness. I could not believe that this mother, wife, aunt, and friend was able to manipulate, torture, harass and kill people in this day and time. I pray that this story goes viral. Children and Adults need to know that there is help to get them out of a horrible situation. People like this mother and father should rot in jail with no chance of getting out. How do they sleep at night? Kudos to the 3 sisters for standing up and disclosing the truth about their parents. May they continue to flourish in life❣

  17. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Jones

    Talk about dysfunctional families! Unbelievably sadistic, psychopathic mother. Weak, submissive husband. Three abused daughters. Three tortured, murdered "boarders". Another true crime horror story by Gregg Olsen. He's not the best writer. Repetitive and illogical reiteration of a cult-like group of inadequate, two dimensional characters who never come alive on the page. Disappointing. Talk about dysfunctional families! Unbelievably sadistic, psychopathic mother. Weak, submissive husband. Three abused daughters. Three tortured, murdered "boarders". Another true crime horror story by Gregg Olsen. He's not the best writer. Repetitive and illogical reiteration of a cult-like group of inadequate, two dimensional characters who never come alive on the page. Disappointing.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Hudson

    2.5 stars. Horrific story that went under the radar due to the nature of the crimes and the way Shelley Knotek and her husband were convicted and sentenced . The story is unbelievable at times but I think this is largely due to the way Olsen writes. He doesn’t have a solid timeline, gets bogged down in repetitive details that don’t add to the story and doesn’t really add the depth needed for a good TC book. I read one of his years ago and it was the same. He hasn’t written TC in some time so I t 2.5 stars. Horrific story that went under the radar due to the nature of the crimes and the way Shelley Knotek and her husband were convicted and sentenced . The story is unbelievable at times but I think this is largely due to the way Olsen writes. He doesn’t have a solid timeline, gets bogged down in repetitive details that don’t add to the story and doesn’t really add the depth needed for a good TC book. I read one of his years ago and it was the same. He hasn’t written TC in some time so I thought I would give him a try. The crimes were definitely worth writing about but would have preferred a better author. Glad the Knotek sisters are all ok though I still have trouble understanding how people can get away with such severe abuse for so long.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    This is truly a shocking and disturbing crime. I thought Olsen did a good job of covering the abuse and murders but at the end there was still so much I would have liked to have known. At one point in the book, the police were accused of not doing anything with information that was given to them. I was kind of interested in finding out their point of view. Was there procedures that they had to follow that didn't allow them to do something at that moment? Was there not enough evidence to allow th This is truly a shocking and disturbing crime. I thought Olsen did a good job of covering the abuse and murders but at the end there was still so much I would have liked to have known. At one point in the book, the police were accused of not doing anything with information that was given to them. I was kind of interested in finding out their point of view. Was there procedures that they had to follow that didn't allow them to do something at that moment? Was there not enough evidence to allow them to act? Was it just human error? I never really got to find out. I also would have liked to see the point of view of some of the neighbors and people from the community. It was mentioned that people called the mother "Psycho Shelly" so it seems to me they had noticed something. Why did no one from the community report anything? I wish I could have read more details about the police procedure and the trial. I think that would have helped make the book feel like it had come full circle.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Rogers

    If You Tell is quite a story...It's not that often that you get an inside view into the world of a female psychopath and, god, what a disturbing journey that is. I can't wrap my head around the fact that Shelly, the central perpetrator and aforementioned psychopath, was a mother of three children. She was a truly wicked woman...If You Tell is a detailed account of what went on behind closed doors and a must read for all true crime fans. If You Tell is quite a story...It's not that often that you get an inside view into the world of a female psychopath and, god, what a disturbing journey that is. I can't wrap my head around the fact that Shelly, the central perpetrator and aforementioned psychopath, was a mother of three children. She was a truly wicked woman...If You Tell is a detailed account of what went on behind closed doors and a must read for all true crime fans.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Johann (jobis89)

    Horrifying case, but poorly written and lacking... something!! Full review to come.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lynda Kelly

    The best book Gregg Olsen has ever written. It's the fifth I've read by him and I've usually been pretty disappointed as his proofreaders or editors have done an atrocious job, but this one is WAY better presented altogether. I see it's been a few years since he wrote a true crime book so the break's done him the world of good as this one is fascinating. I did dither a little over selecting it as my Kindle First choice for the month, but I'm pleased I gave him this "last chance" !! It's not a ca The best book Gregg Olsen has ever written. It's the fifth I've read by him and I've usually been pretty disappointed as his proofreaders or editors have done an atrocious job, but this one is WAY better presented altogether. I see it's been a few years since he wrote a true crime book so the break's done him the world of good as this one is fascinating. I did dither a little over selecting it as my Kindle First choice for the month, but I'm pleased I gave him this "last chance" !! It's not a case that ever reached us over here, and it is a pretty harrowing read. Shelly properly is a mother from hell. How on earth some people think up the things they do to other people leave me flabbergasted ! Especially as she's a mother. There is a happy ending, however.....her girls are all grown up and well away from her and I was happy to see it. I had a lot of time for Lara. She is probably the nicest person the girls have in their lives by a country mile. She took a lot on with her kids and Shelly seemed to be pretty damaged already by the time Lara encountered her. Her maternal family were a bunch of nutcases, so I guess she didn't stand a chance, really, though it'll never excuse her later behaviour. I also liked Shane a great deal. He was dealt a bloody awful hand himself....I liked Ron, too and his relationship with Tori was a sweet one. A couple of abuses Shelly committed actually made me wince.....none were pleasant, of course but she went beyond the pale. I had little time for her husband, either. Sadly, he lacked any backbone and always backed his wife up. He attempted to redeem himself later in life and was sort of accepted as a fellow victim by the author but I'm having none of it, I'm afraid. I suppose if you've never been in the position the sisters were in, you'll never "get" why they kept quiet or hung around once they were of age. Something Nikki said I highlighted, "I loved my mother because I didn't know I had a choice. I had to love her." I guess that speaks volumes in itself. Though one thing Nikki did I found unfathomable, I just couldn't figure out her reasoning for it. You'll know what I mean when you read it.... An Alford plea was discussed in this book and I've read about this before, yet it still makes no sense to me in the least. It's a proper cop-out decision for any justice system and I'm always shocked when it's utilised to even think such a thing is in existence. I just Googled out of interest and thankfully we have nothing similar here in the UK. Good. I hope we never do. I did spot the odd apostrophe mistake and one massive spelling howler, using waived and not waved (!!) but this is really a huge, huge improvement in this author's presentation and now I can take him off my sh**list for future books.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jess☺️

    Ok I'm giving If You Tell by Gregg Olsen 5🌟 not for the story but for the 3 very strong and brave sisters who survived their horrendous piece of SHIT mother I'm sorry for saying that but that women is just terrible (so no I'm not really 😏) How can anyone from such a young age do the things she did still get married 3 times have 3 children have most people think she is some kind of normal human being, not everyone but most and have so much power and control over people for them to feel the need it Ok I'm giving If You Tell by Gregg Olsen 5🌟 not for the story but for the 3 very strong and brave sisters who survived their horrendous piece of SHIT mother I'm sorry for saying that but that women is just terrible (so no I'm not really 😏) How can anyone from such a young age do the things she did still get married 3 times have 3 children have most people think she is some kind of normal human being, not everyone but most and have so much power and control over people for them to feel the need it do as she says??(things that are just so inhumane) This book is a true life story but it does read a little like a thriller and does keep you engrossed I know that sounds wrong but you need to reach the end to see who wins in a sense. There is some very dark moments which can upset you and moments when you just blow a fuse 😤 screaming WHAT!!!! I'm still recommending this 📖

  24. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth George

    I suppose it's because I'm a crime writer, but I've always been drawn to true crime books. The psychopathology of the criminal both intrigues and interests me. Gregg Olsen's book is no exception. This book chronicles the abuse and horrors inflicted upon both her family and friends by Shelly Knotek over a period of years in Washington state. It's a compelling portrait of psychosis, borderline personality disorder, and the power of denial. For anyone who is interested in observing how one individu I suppose it's because I'm a crime writer, but I've always been drawn to true crime books. The psychopathology of the criminal both intrigues and interests me. Gregg Olsen's book is no exception. This book chronicles the abuse and horrors inflicted upon both her family and friends by Shelly Knotek over a period of years in Washington state. It's a compelling portrait of psychosis, borderline personality disorder, and the power of denial. For anyone who is interested in observing how one individual can wreak havoc on the lives of her children, her husband, and her associates while all the time convincing herself that she's done nothing at all, If You Tell supplies the goods.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lyn❤Loves❤Listening #AUDIOBOOKADDICT

    Audio 5 Stars Story dnf @ 38% Maybe if this wasn't a true story, I'd be able to push through. But knowing that the level of depravity depicted in this book actually happened...I just can't hang. I'm not that brave soul. It's too disturbing. Audio 5 Stars Story dnf @ 38% Maybe if this wasn't a true story, I'd be able to push through. But knowing that the level of depravity depicted in this book actually happened...I just can't hang. I'm not that brave soul. It's too disturbing.

  26. 4 out of 5

    D.L. Howe

    This is a heartbreaking, noxious, horrifying telling about a woman so sadistic she made the Devil himself feel like a kitten. And the worst part? Its a true story. Every time this one got to be too much and I wanted to put it down I reminded myself what these children, what that poor woman and man endured. If Shelly was ever diagnosed I’m sure there would be a grocery list. The top of which no doubt narcissistic disorder, sociopath or even psychopath. Many serial killers share that kind of diagn This is a heartbreaking, noxious, horrifying telling about a woman so sadistic she made the Devil himself feel like a kitten. And the worst part? Its a true story. Every time this one got to be too much and I wanted to put it down I reminded myself what these children, what that poor woman and man endured. If Shelly was ever diagnosed I’m sure there would be a grocery list. The top of which no doubt narcissistic disorder, sociopath or even psychopath. Many serial killers share that kind of diagnosis. Throughout this whole horrid affair, the same words keep running through my mind. Get out! Get the fuck out! Fight or flight. One of the biggest failures in this country is the department of family services. Not enough social workers, law enforcement that half assed investigations and just an overall lack of empathy. How many children and adults have to die before things change? Would I recommend this? If you want to be smacked in the face with some terrifying truth, than absolutely. Otherwise pass this one up.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nica's Musings

    I think this is my very first true crime novel. I don't think I've ever read a true crime book before. I usually just watch Forensic Files and/or documentaries and podcasts. The story is about a mother who horribly abused her three daughters. The abuse was shocking and something I've never heard before. This all happened in their house in Raymond, Washington. Shelly Knotek was beautiful but behind that pretty face is someone who is manipulative and is just evil. Shelly took in her bestfriend, Kat I think this is my very first true crime novel. I don't think I've ever read a true crime book before. I usually just watch Forensic Files and/or documentaries and podcasts. The story is about a mother who horribly abused her three daughters. The abuse was shocking and something I've never heard before. This all happened in their house in Raymond, Washington. Shelly Knotek was beautiful but behind that pretty face is someone who is manipulative and is just evil. Shelly took in her bestfriend, Kathy Loreno, and treated her like an animal. Shelly Knotek abused her three daughers, nephew, her bestfriend, and a 57-year old gay man. The story is told from the recounting of the stories from the sisters, from the husband, and friends and neighbors. There were no boring moments. Every moment is like I'm on the edge of my seat. It was intense. Shelly Knotek will be released in 2022. And since she was never tried in court nobody knew about the horrific things she'd done. The sisters asked the author to write the book so that the world will know all the shocking and disgusting things she had done. Highly recommended for those who love true crime stories. Gregg Olsen did a great job of telling the story. I felt I was actually there.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Karen R

    A shocking and heart-wrenching story of physical and emotional abuse which absolutely broke my heart. I cannot fathom what these sisters went through as children. Such a desperate situation in which they learned that the only way to keep safe from a monstrous mother who showed no mercy was to look the other way. How can a mother have such evil in her heart, coming up with so many different acts of horrendous cruelty, to not only her children but to other victims she brought into her home and tor A shocking and heart-wrenching story of physical and emotional abuse which absolutely broke my heart. I cannot fathom what these sisters went through as children. Such a desperate situation in which they learned that the only way to keep safe from a monstrous mother who showed no mercy was to look the other way. How can a mother have such evil in her heart, coming up with so many different acts of horrendous cruelty, to not only her children but to other victims she brought into her home and tortured as well. How could a father and grandmother, teachers, neighbors and fellow students turn a blind eye to such a tragic situation or be so out of touch for so long. An incredible true story written by Gregg Olsen which will hold a lasting impression.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Miriam

    5 stars audio 5 very tough read story.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Daviau

    This is without a single doubt, the most disturbing and traumatizing true crime book I have ever read. Word of warning, this book is not for the faint of heart, it is brutal and graphic and there are A LOT of potential triggers throughout. It feels weird giving such a book 5 stars because I wouldn’t really say I enjoyed it in the typical sense you normally enjoy a book. My skin was crawling the whole way through and I often had to pause to collect myself while reading it because I was just so di This is without a single doubt, the most disturbing and traumatizing true crime book I have ever read. Word of warning, this book is not for the faint of heart, it is brutal and graphic and there are A LOT of potential triggers throughout. It feels weird giving such a book 5 stars because I wouldn’t really say I enjoyed it in the typical sense you normally enjoy a book. My skin was crawling the whole way through and I often had to pause to collect myself while reading it because I was just so disturbed and horrified by what I was reading. The depravity that humans can inflict on each other is truly terrifying, to think that that can happen just chills me to the bone. This book managed to evoke more emotion than me than any book has in a long time and to actually make me feel physically ill, I have never been more horrified by anything I’ve read.

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