A #1 Wall Street Journal, Amazon Charts, USA Today, and Washington Post bestseller.
#1 New York Times bestselling author Gregg Olsen’s shocking and empowering true-crime story of three sisters determined to survive their mother’s house of horrors.
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.
Harrowing and heartrending, If You Tell is a survivor’s story of absolute evil—and the freedom and justice that Nikki, Sami, and Tori risked their lives to fight for. Sisters forever, victims no more, they found a light in the darkness that made them the resilient women they are today—loving, loved, and moving on.
I’ve always had a fascination for true crime so my interest was piqued when I read the blurb for this book.
We get to first meet Shelly as a kid who comes to live with her dad when he remarries. To be honest it didn’t take long for me to understand why her own mother didn’t want her. As a mother I didn’t think it was possible to give up on a child but Shelly would test the patience of a saint. You do wonder what her life was like before hand and if this resulted into the person she became or if she was just born evil.
Over time she gets married a couple of times as well as having kids. You would hope that this might have softened her but sadly she is as manipulative and mean with her children as she is with everyone else in her life. The more I read of her actions, the more angry and infuriated I got. At times I couldn’t understand why some of the adults allowed her to treat them as she did but she is a master of getting people exactly where she wants them and making them fear her.
Events and what went on behind closed doors is told by the people who knew her best. To start with her step mother and then later her own daughters. Even her husband who whilst I understood how he was manipulated, I couldn’t forgive his actions and not for standing up to his wife and his part in the murders especially. The levels of abuse her poor daughters had to endure as well as the victims was horrific. The fact it was a woman that was behind it, somehow intensified the horrors of what I was reading.
There is no happy ending as such with a true crime novel. What was endearing though was the sisters bond and relationship. These are women of which you couldn’t blame due to their background, if they had turned out differently. They have gone on to show though that with love, hope and strength, that what happens in the past, does not have to define you. Living in the UK I hadn’t heard of this family before but I am so glad I have read it and am grateful to the sisters for sharing their story and for the author for doing a great job in bringing it to a wider audience.