book review, horror, indie April

Tell Me No Secret by Brandon Ellrich

Joe has just killed his best friend, but what could have driven a teenager to commit murder?

Told in three parts, the secrets, lies and manipulations that lead to the death of a high school student are laid bare.

If you’ve ever watched a true crime show, you’ll probably see a similarity in this novel. A promising young high schooler disappears. Could his quiet, hard working, church going friends be involved?

Yes. The answer is always yes.

I liked how the author took a path similar to Snapped or In Ice Cold Blood to tell his tale. It brought an air of authenticity to the story and made the events all the more tragic.

The first part of the book is Joe’s story, and it was my favorite part of the three. Told in reverse chronological order, we get to see the murder and then find out why Joe did it. I really felt like I was in Joe’s head, and his reasonings and justifications were spot on. Congratulations to the author for writing such a nuanced and compelling character study.

Part two concerns other people at the school, and while I liked how the story was revealed, I felt much more distanced from the characters. Part of this might have been deliberate on behalf of the author, as the main point of view character has shut off their emotions, but part of it was also because there wasn’t a consistent point of view character and often the events were relayed in an omniscient voice, more like a true crime show.

Part two was also where I began to wonder if this story was set in the past. While there are computers and mobile phones, it seemed much more like the early naughties to me rather than present day. The teenagers weren’t texting each other or constantly on social media, which I think would have been an important part of the story if it were set in the last few years.

The final third introduces the police, but unfortunately I found it to be the least effective part of the book. Because I’ve watched a lot of true crime shows, I have some knowledge of police procedure in a murder investigation, and none of it was followed in this story. I’m afraid the denouement stretched my willing suspension of disbelief to breaking point.

All in all, I enjoyed this novel. It’s a quick read that kept me eagerly turning the pages it find out all the secrets. While the rest of the book doesn’t live up to the stellar first part, it was still highly entertaining.

I award Tell Me No Secret

Tell Me No Secret is available for $5.52 ebook and $12.99 print book on Amazon.

5 thoughts on “Tell Me No Secret by Brandon Ellrich”

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