Never Tell by Alafair Burke
Much like a good episode of L&O, my favorite crime/legal thrillers will pull me in and leave me thinking about the intricacies and twisty plotlines long after I finish the book. I am pretty picky about my crime fiction... I want the plot to have some good twists, but not just for the sake of surprise; I want the twists to make sense and to be believable for the characters. I want the details to be pretty realistic, especially regarding legal issues.
I was excited to see that the author of Never Tell, Alafair Burke, is a former prosecutor and a current law professor. I went into this book expecting a pretty realistic crime thriller, and that's pretty much exactly what it is.
Never Tell follows NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher as she (somewhat reluctantly) investigates the death of 16-year old Julia, a girl who seemed to have it all. Ellie is convinced Julia's death is nothing more than the suicide it seems to be, but Julia's guilt-ridden parents insist on an investigation. As more and more secrets come to light, Ellie is forced to acknowledge Julia's death may be more than the suicide of a depressed teenager.
I was impressed with the amount of issues Burke managed to touch on in this single novel. There are themes of privilege vs. societal outcasts, teen drug abuse, gender identity, repressed sexual abuse, cyberbullying, and even corruption in the pharmaceutical industry. Still, it all fits together in a way that seems to make sense.
Ellie Hatcher is a genuine, likable character who I think I would like to visit more often. Apparently, she is the main character in a series of books by this author. (No need to read them in order, which I appreciate immensely.) This is my first Alafair Burke book, but I will definitely be on the lookout for others! Burke also hosted the 2nd Annual Duffer Awards last month, which gave me a lot of ideas on other books to check out.
(Oooh, and actually, I just noticed that one of Burke's previous books, 212, is available for only 0.99. I just downloaded to my Kindle!)
TLC Book Tours. All opinions expressed are my own.