Pre-COVID – that’s pretty much how we talk about things now, isn’t it? The before and the now – I’d walk to the library once or twice a week to get a new haul of books. At the time, it was conveniently located across the parking lot from my job, which made for a nice lunchtime stroll. Of course, back in March, it felt like the world shut down – or at least my world in NYS, where only essential places like grocery stores were open.
I was completely devastated when they shut down the libraries. What? But isn’t reading essential? No, not anything that can be read on a tablet or phone, but the creak of a well-worn spine, the scent of pages hot off the press. There’s just something about holding the physical book that makes it feel right.
To my surprise, my friend and coworker sent me some reading material to help ease my plight. Bless her!
Title: If You Tell
Author: Gregg Olsen
Rating: Great Writing, Sad Tale
Genre: True Crime
Page Count: 428
This was my very first introduction to Gregg Olsen, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t go out and read three more of his books the very same month. There’s just something about his storytelling that’s so honest, raw, and unbelievably captivating. Many times I didn’t want to read more, but I felt like I had to – I got sucked in from the first few pages.
It’s the true tale of three sisters who suffered insurmountable abuse at the hands of their mother – the very person who was supposed to be their protector. If your stomach can withstand all types of child abuse imaginable, murder in cold blood, and just plain (and true) terror, you should give this book a chance. I needed to read more because I needed to know everyone’s fate. I wanted to read more because I wanted to understand how children could suffer so much abuse for so many years without anyone batting an eyelash. What is this world we live in?
If anything, this story of survival showed me that true crime will never be my genre of choice. But please throw me all the crime fiction, suspense, and horror novels there are – there’s comfort in knowing that fiction = fake.
The story is disheartening, and the writing will hook you and drag you into a dark, dark place. Gregg Olsen writes both true crime (which may be a little rough on the stomach) and crime fiction/suspense, which is more palatable. Either way, pick up one of his books, and you won’t be disappointed.