Never Tell by Alafair Burke is the fourth book in the “Ellie Hatcher” thriller series. Publisher: HarperCollins, June 2012

Sixteen-year-old Julia Whitmire appeared to have everything: a famous father, a luxurious Manhattan town house, a coveted spot at the elite Casden prep school. When she is found dead in her bathtub, a handwritten suicide note left on her bed, her parents insist that their daughter would never take her own life.

But Julia’s enviable world was more complicated than it seemed. The pressure to excel at Casden was enormous. Abuse of prescription antidepressants and ADHD medication ran rampant among students; an unlabeled bottle of pills in Julia’s purse suggests she had succumbed to the trend. And a search of Julia’s computer reveals that in the days leading up to her death she was engaged in a dangerous game of cyberbullying against an unlikely victim.

NYPD detective Ellie Hatcher is convinced the case is a suicide, but she knows from personal experience that a loving family can be the last to accept the truth. When the Whitmires use their power to force a criminal investigation, Ellie’s resistance causes trouble for her both at work and in her personal life. As she is pressured to pursue a case she doesn’t believe in, she is pulled into Julia’s inner circle—an eclectic mix of overly precocious teenagers from Manhattan’s most privileged families as well as street kids from Greenwich Village. But when the target of Julia’s harassment continues to receive death threats, Ellie is forced to acknowledge that Julia may have learned the hard way that some secrets should never be told.

Ellie thought the death was a suicide but with prodding from the victim’s mother; the case opened up into something more sinister and in the end, a mother’s child was still dead. Never Tell is one of those books that you start to read and then can’t let it go until you turned the last page. This was a fast-pace and intriguing ride that I did not want to get off. The author has a way with words that made you feel like you were a part of the team as they look for answers to the questions posed in front of them. The suspects were plenty and that kept me guessing as to which way this drama would lead, and boy was I surprised when the facts played out. This is an excellent read and I can’t wait for the next book in this in this fabulous series.

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