Never tell A novel of suspense

Alafair Burke

Book - 2012

While investigating the suicide of sixteen-year-old Julia Whitmire, whose famous parents believe that she was murdered, NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher discovers that Julia was engaged in a dangerous game of cyberbullying against an unlikely victim.

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MYSTERY/Burke, Alafair
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Mystery fiction
Suspense fiction
New York : Harper c2012.
Main Author
Alafair Burke (-)
1st ed
Physical Description
355 p. ; 24 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

What's the connection between the apparent suicide of a 16-year-old girl and a rape-victim blogger being threatened online? When Julia Whitmire, daughter of a prominent music producer, is found with her wrist slit and a handwritten suicide note nearby in the Manhattan townhouse in which she basically lived alone, her mother calls it murder. Detective Ellie Hatcher has her doubts, but then Hatcher's head isn't really in the game early on, as her partner, J. J. Rogan, notes more than once. As Hatcher and Rogan go from posh city digs and Hamptons estates to a young-adult homeless shelter pursuing this high-profile case, a link to the blog is found on Julia's computer, starting them on a circuitous trail. One of Burke's trademarks is connecting disparate plotlines, which she does here in spades. Another is Hatcher's empathy, which allows her to get inside victims' heads, but here the detective facing a crisis with her lover, ADA Max Donovan falls short. And when Hatcher is flat, so is the novel. Skillfully structured, but short on verve.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Near the start of Burke's excellent fourth novel of suspense featuring NYPD Det. Ellie Hatcher (after 2010's 212), 16-year-old Julia Whitmire, the daughter of legendary music producer Bill Whitmire, is found dead in the bathtub on the top floor of her family's West Village townhouse with her wrists slashed. Ellie assumes that the Whitmire parents' social clout is the reason why she and her partner, J.J. Rogan, must investigate an apparent suicide as a potential murder. At Casden, Julia's elite prep school, they discover a rampant subculture of prescription drug abuse and intense academic pressure. Julia's friend, Ramona Langston, also points them in the direction of several homeless youths she and Julia befriended over the past year, particularly Casey Heinz, who has a crush on Ramona and keys to the Whitmires' residence. Ellie becomes less convinced that Julia killed herself as details emerge of a rape survivor blog linked to the case and threats against its anonymous author. The meticulous plotting, coupled with Ellie's complicated evolution as a heroine, make this Burke's strongest work to date. 6-city author tour. Agent: Philip Spitzer, the Philip Spitzer Literary Agency. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

Sixteen-year-old Julia Whitmire commits suicide, but her wealthy, politically connected parents force an investigation. NYPD Det. Ellie Hatcher (212; Angel's Tip; Dead Connection) lands the case and isn't too sympathetic. The private school Julia attended is full of privileged children under enormous pressure, many of whom are abusing prescription drugs. Julia's computer reveals she was cyberbullying someone, and her best friend doesn't even know whom she was dating, just that Julia was on the wild side. Meanwhile, Hatcher's relationship with her district attorney boyfriend reaches a critical juncture when the subject of children comes up, adding more personal suspense to this story. As the investigation continues, Hatcher realizes that Julia's death may indeed be a murder, and the list of suspects is narrowing. Verdict What initially appears to be a simple story quickly becomes more intricate and compelling, making the pages fly. Highly recommended, especially for Lisa Gardner or Laura Lippman fans.-Stacy Alesi, Palm Beach Cty. Lib. Syst., Boca Raton, FL (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Burke (Long Gone, 2011, etc.) resurrects Ellie Hatcher, an NYPD homicide detective who followed in her father's footsteps. Ellie's father's death, which police claimed was at his own hand, makes the callout to a young girl's suicide even more difficult for Ellie. The girl's grieving mom is a socialite and the wife of a mover and shaker in the music industry, and she's pulled strings to get the homicide division on her daughter's case. Teenager Julia Whitmire, privileged and spoiled but left on her own by her self-involved parents, was found dead of a combination of drugs, alcohol and wrist-slashing in the tub of her bathroom. Everyone, from the EMTs on the scene to the medical examiner who responds to Ellie, writes it off as a clear-cut suicide. Julia even left a note that is undisputedly in her own hand. However, pressure from the bigwigs sends the increasingly impatient Ellie and her partner, Rogan, back to the crime scene to work the case as a murder. In the course of their investigation, Ellie and Rogan meet a motley group of street kids, the family of Julia's best friend, Ramona, and stumble onto a blog written by Ramona's mom, Adrienne, that centers around her own sexual abuse while she was a child. Burke keeps it real by having Ellie unconvinced that Julia's death was anything but a suicide, but her stubborn refusal to envision that the girl was murdered hinders, rather than helps, the probe. Ellie also suffers personal issues in that her boyfriend, an assistant district attorney, wants a little more out of the relationship, and Ellie remains afraid to take that step. In Ellie, Burke has built a likable, flawed heroine trying to leave the things that have haunted her behind and not succeeding very well. Burke's prose falls into an easy, natural rhythm when she enters Ellie Hatcher's world, and her plotting rarely disappoints. A smooth, compelling read that is proof positive that Burke continues to mature as a writer; this entry in the Ellie Hatcher series sings. ]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.