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If You Tell: A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood Paperback – Dec 1 2019

4.2 4.2 out of 5 stars 119,373 ratings

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“This riveting account will leave readers questioning every odd relative they’ve known.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Olsen presents the story chronologically and in a simple, straightforward style, which works well: it is chilling enough as is.”

“An unsettling stunner about sibling love, courage, and resilience.”
People Magazine (book of the week)

If You Tell accomplishes what it sets out to do. The result is a compelling portrait of terror and a powerfully honest, yet still sensitive, look at survival.” ―Bookreporter

“This disturbing book recounts the unimaginable abuse and torture three sisters Nikki, Sami, and Tori Knotek endured from their own mother, Shelly…the strong bond they form to survive and defy their mother’s sadistic tendencies is inspiring.”

“A true-crime tour de force.”
―Steve Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of No Stone Unturned

“Even the most devoted true-crime reader will be shocked by the maddening and mind-boggling acts of horror that Gregg Olsen chronicles in this book. Olsen has done it again, giving readers a glimpse into a murderous duo that’s so chilling, it will have your head spinning. I could not put this book down!”
―Aphrodite Jones, New York Times bestselling author

“A suspenseful, horrific, and yet fascinating character study of an incredibly dysfunctional and dangerous family by Gregg Olsen, one of today’s true-crime masters.”
―Caitlin Rother, New York Times bestselling author

“There’s only one writer who can tell such an intensely horrifying, psychotic tale of unspeakable abuse, grotesque torture, and horrendous serial murder with grace, sensitivity and class…A riveting, taut, real-life psychological suspense thrill ride…All at once compelling and original, Gregg Olsen’s
If You Tell is an instant true-crime classic.” ―M. William Phelps, New York Times bestselling author

“We all start life with immense promise, but in our first minute, we cannot know who’ll ultimately have the greatest impact on our lives, for better or worse. Here, Gregg Olsen―the heir apparent to legendary crime writers Jack Olsen and Ann Rule―explores the dark side of that question in his usual chilling, heartbreaking prose. Superb and creepy storytelling from a true-crime master.”
―Ron Franscell, author of Alice & Gerald: A Homicidal Love Story

“A master of true crime returns with a vengeance. After a decade detour into novels, Gregg Olsen is back with a dark tale of nonfiction from the Pacific Northwest that will keep you awake long after the lights have gone out. The monster at the heart of
If You Tell is not your typical boogeyman, not some wandering drifter or man in a van. No. In fact, they called her…mother. And yet this story is about hope and renewal in the face of evil and how three sisters can find the goodness in the world after surviving the worst it has to offer. Classic true crime in the tradition of In Cold Blood and The Stranger Beside Me.” ―James Renner, author of True Crime Addict

“This nightmare walked on two legs and some of her victims called her mom. In
If You Tell, Gregg Olsen documents the horrific mental and physical torture Shelly Knotek inflicted on everyone in her household. A powerful story of cruelty that will haunt you for a long time.” ―Diane Fanning, author of Treason in the Secret City

“Bristling with tension, gripping from the first pages, Gregg Olsen’s masterful portrait of children caught in the web of a coldly calculating killer fascinates. A read so compelling it kept me up late into the night,
If You Tell exposes incredible evil that lived quietly in small-town America. That the book is fact, not fiction, terrifies.” ―Kathryn Casey, bestselling author of In Plain Sight

About the Author

#1 New York Times and Amazon Charts bestselling author Gregg Olsen has written more than thirty books, including Lying Next to Me, The Last Thing She Ever Did, and two novels in the Nicole Foster series, The Sound of Rain and The Weight of Silence. Known for his ability to create vivid and fascinating narratives, he’s appeared on multiple television and radio shows and news networks, such as Good Morning America, Dateline, Entertainment Tonight, CNN, and MSNBC. In addition, Olsen has been featured in Redbook, People, and Salon magazine, as well as in the Seattle Times, Los Angeles Times, and New York Post. Both his fiction and nonfiction works have received critical acclaim and numerous awards, including prominence on the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. Washington State officially selected his young adult novel Envy for the National Book Festival, and The Deep Dark was named Idaho Book of the Year.

A Seattle native who lives with his wife in rural Washington State, Olsen’s already at work on his next thriller. Visit him at

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Thomas & Mercer (Dec 1 2019)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 429 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 154200523X
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1542005234
  • Item weight ‏ : ‎ 431 g
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 13.97 x 2.54 x 20.96 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.2 4.2 out of 5 stars 119,373 ratings

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I live in rural Washington State (about a mile as the crow flies from Dr. Linda Burfield Hazzard's infamous Starvation Heights sanatarium). My thriller, THE LAST THING SHE EVER DID was an Amazon Charts bestseller. LYING NEXT TO ME was a reader favorite, charting at No. 1 in the Kindle store and the bestseller's list at the Washington Post. My true crime book, IF YOU TELL, found a home on Amazon Charts for more than 140 weeks. In fact, it was the bestselling Kindle ebook of 2020 (and the second-bestselling of 2021). I've been a guest on Dateline NBC, NPR, Good Morning America, The Early Show, FOX News, CNN, Anderson Cooper, Entertainment Tonight, Inside Edition, Extra, Access Hollywood, 20/20, Snapped, Deadly Women, William Shatner's Aftermath, and A&E's Biography. You can find out more about me at

Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5
119,373 global ratings

Top reviews from Canada

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3.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking story
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on April 21, 2022
I really don't know how to actually rate this book. The writing it self was good, however it was very repetitive. However the FACT that this was a TRUE STORY and REAL people went through this is very sickening and sad. The subject is VERY DISTURBING with VIOLENCE, and TORTURE.

Like I had said this book is based of a true story, all of this violence, torture, and child abuse does still happen. The abuse can happen to anyone, even the ones you would less suspect it.

It was very hard to read this book, and not be upset or angry with what your reading. Shelly showed signs early on in life that she was very "messed up/not right in the head/ something wrong with her." Shelly was very MANIPULATIVE person who had to CONTROL and TERROIZE alot of people.

Shelly got away with the abuse, Murder, torture for way to long. Shelly is definitely a psychopath!
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One person found this helpful

Top reviews from other countries

Renee' Clare
3.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing
Reviewed in Australia 🇦🇺 on April 18, 2020
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6 people found this helpful
Ana Luisa A Abreu
1.0 out of 5 stars Deveria ser proibido
Reviewed in Brazil 🇧🇷 on August 17, 2022
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3 people found this helpful
Dylan W Hepworth
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh Shelly, you evil moll
Reviewed in Australia 🇦🇺 on July 31, 2022
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Barbara L Bell
4.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable yet true
Reviewed in Australia 🇦🇺 on April 5, 2020
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4.0 out of 5 stars A riveting and shocking story
Reviewed in Australia 🇦🇺 on October 3, 2020
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