If You Tell

By Gregg Olsen

ISBN# 9781542005234

Author’s Website:  http://www.greggolsen.com/

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi

*Beware of spoilers*

This is the True story of torture killer Michelle “Shelly” Knotek.  Shelly was a handful, even as a child.  Her father often gave in to whatever Shelly wanted to avoid her acting out.  She was used to always getting her way and her need to control everything only grew as she got older.

It wasn’t until her third marriage when Shelly’s true nature fully emerged.  She started out punishing her daughters, especially her oldest, Nikki.  She got creative with her abuse and it only snowballed from there.  She often forced her husband, Dave, to take part in the punishments.  Shelly was always on the sidelines directing his moves.

She started bringing other members into her household as well.  Her nephew, Shane, came to live with them and became like another child.  A child that often was on the receiving end of her wrath.  Then, her best friend, Kathy, and later Ron Woodworth.  When Kathy and then later Ron was in her household, they took the brunt of her punishments.  The children were thankful that Shelly had someone else to focus on.  However, they never expected how far their mother would go.

I don’t normally read non-fiction books, and I actually picked this one up not realizing it was one.  But I do have a sick fascination with the True Crime shows and decided to go ahead and give this book a read.  I had never heard of Michelle Knotek before picking this book up, which is crazy considering her crimes.  And, that is why the author decided to write this book. 

I initially didn’t like how the whole story was more told to us from a narration standpoint, instead of from a 1st person point-of-view.   However, once you get past that, the story is sickeningly riveting.   If you didn’t know better, you’d think this author is quite depraved to come up with this story.  But to realize this wasn’t created from a wicked-minded writer, but this was, in fact, real life is quite shocking.

It’s hard to imagine all the abuse those in Shelly’s path endured.  And, even harder to believe how gullible her husband was. 

Kathy and Ron were tortured to death over several years in painful and slow ways.  However, of all of her victims, it was Shane my heart completely broke for.  He knew how messed up Shelly was from a young age.  He was the most vocal about it and tried to run away many times.  But she always found him and forced him back home.  He was so close to getting out and exposing her for what she truly was.  I’m sure Nikki will always carry the guilt of the part she played in what happened to him with her.  And, I honestly wanted to slap her when I read it.  Although she was an abused kid that didn’t know better and she still wanted to believe in a mother’s love.  However, Shane paid the ultimate price for it.

This story gets hold of you and doesn’t let go.  You think about it when you aren’t reading it and after the book is finished.  There have been a few episodes of True Crime shows that have featured Shelly and I know I will have to watch them.  It’s a sick fascination now.  This novel is a heartbreakingly good book that will, without doubt, stay with you for some time to come.  If it ever completely leaves you that is.