If You Tell: A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood by Gregg Olsen [REVIEW]


If You Tell is an astonishing story of survival of three sisters who were raised by a sadistic mother, Michelle “Shelly” Knotek. Much of what happened in the Knotek house will be nearly incomprehensible for those of us raised by nurturing mothers—those who made favorite meals on birthdays or sat beside us when we were sick. No, the opposite is true of Shelly. She was a monster.

Despite their childhood, the women survive, even flourish, after their mother is incarcerated. But the PTSD and triggers abound to this day. For one, a morning shower can be a trigger; for another, it’s the smell of bleach that brings on the bad memories.

New York Times bestselling author Gregg Olsen is a master of both true crime and domestic suspense, and with If You Tell he has brilliantly combined his talents. The riveting true story told by the three sisters who survived their brutal childhood in the tiny coastal logging town of Raymond, Washington, reads like a fast-paced thriller. But unfortunately, it is all true. Every single excruciating detail.


I don’t know where to start. So many people had the opportunity to stop the abuse but instead it was swept under the rug or ignored all together.

The story is horrifying simply horrifying when you consider the things that human beings can do to each other. Add in codependency and the depravity just gets darker.

When I purchased this ebook I also received the audio recording. I enjoyed having the option to read or listen depending on my mood.

NOTE: This book contains graphic language & descriptions of years of increasing violence.


  1. I couldn’t read a book like that but I do enjoy hearing reviews. I was blessed to have wonderful parent’s and my heart just aches for the innocent children that are horribly abused. Its awful and I know God weeps! Glad that the sisters survived but just can’t imagine a life like that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t read a book like that because I try my best to stay positive by listening and reading only positive stories because I tend to take every story to heart and it end up affecting me for days but I appreciate your review. Indeed these are the last days more wickedness is increasing in number

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really enjoyed reading your view of Olson’s book. Being unfamiliar with him, your review made me curious to learn more. I will have to head down to the library and check out some of his books. Thanks for sharing this. My wife and I like mystery and suspense and true crime as well. Keep up the blogging. These reviews are great!

    Liked by 1 person

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