Listen free for 30 days

If You Tell

A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood
Narrated by: Karen Peakes
Length: 10 hrs and 34 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (75 ratings)

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

An Amazon Charts and Washington Post best seller.

Number one New York Times best-selling author Gregg Olsen’s shocking and empowering true-crime story of three sisters determined to survive their mother’s house of horrors.

After more than a decade, when sisters Nikki, Sami, and Tori Knotek hear the word "mom", it claws like an eagle’s talons, triggering memories that have been their secret since childhood. Until now.

For years, behind the closed doors of their farmhouse in Raymond, Washington, their sadistic mother, Shelly, subjected her girls to unimaginable abuse, degradation, torture, and psychic terrors. Through it all, Nikki, Sami, and Tori developed a defiant bond that made them far less vulnerable than Shelly imagined. Even as others were drawn into their mother’s dark and perverse web, the sisters found the strength and courage to escape an escalating nightmare that culminated in multiple murders.

Harrowing and heartrending, If You Tell is a survivor’s story of absolute evil - and the freedom and justice that Nikki, Sami, and Tori risked their lives to fight for. Sisters forever, victims no more, they found a light in the darkness that made them the resilient women they are today - loving, loved, and moving on.

©2019 Gregg Olsen. (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic reviews

"A true-crime tour de force." (Steve Jackson, New York Times best-selling author of No Stone Unturned)

"Even the most devoted true-crime reader will be shocked by the maddening and mind-boggling acts of horror that Gregg Olsen chronicles in this book. Olsen has done it again, giving readers a glimpse into a murderous duo that’s so chilling, it will have your head spinning. I could not put this book down!" (Aphrodite Jones, New York Times best-selling author)

"A suspenseful, horrific, and yet fascinating character study of an incredibly dysfunctional and dangerous family by Gregg Olsen, one of today’s true-crime masters." (Caitlin Rother, New York Times best-selling author)

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    55
  • 4 Stars
    12
  • 3 Stars
    7
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    52
  • 4 Stars
    14
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    52
  • 4 Stars
    11
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Brutal to hear

Narrated beautifully karma and very difficult to hear nearly 40 chapters of horrible child abuse. Worth it, well written but very difficult to absorb the level of pain.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Tough subject

i enjoyed this book, i liked the narration and would seeknout other books narrated by her. My first Grehg Olsen book, would listen another.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Sjhocking

First class narration of a true horror story which tells us how evil life can be.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not very good investigative job

The author writes in a very much 80s like style. Shelly's different husbands abundoned their kids because they did not have much choice having such a violent wife. Its all a woman's responsibility to look after her kids after all. Also, he writes as if Shelly was born pure evil, not as a result of a little girl being horribly abused by her own mother. Mr. Olsen, this was a very poor investigative job.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Could barely finish it

Long-winded, repetitive and boring. What took 9 hours to listen to could have been reduced by half. It's a shame, I've listen to other Gregg Olsen audiobooks and have found them enthralling - this one, not so much.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Tale of Truth

This is a good book & a story that shocked me. I did have to take my time listening as it is a dark story of truth and heavy at times. You just never know what goes on behind closed doors

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Difficult to read but fantastic and inspiring.

This was a very hard book to read, I enjoyed it but the abuce that was afflicted on the three sisters and the others in the father and mothers web was horrible. While the mother was the main culprit in my opinion the father was just as bad for not standing up to her knowing it was wrong. I won't say any more on this book as a lot of it was very distressing to read.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

loved it

great book always like this writer and with this new story he does not disappoint

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for A. Clark
  • A. Clark
  • 20-12-19

Horribly Depressing, Detailed Description of Abuse

It reads like a police report thoroughly detailing EVERY single way those 3 girls were abused. I don't understand why it needed to be 10hrs. I managed to get through 3hrs worth until I skipped to the last 20 chapters and I didn't even miss any details. It felt like I hadn't skipped anything! While it is traumatic what they went through and I admire their strength, it seriously could've been cut down in half of the chapters to better tell their story. I also agree with others saying it was confusing - it progressed normal, then jumped back 20 yrs at the end, then back to present.

DO NOT BUY. Totally not worth it!

78 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jeffrey Young
  • Jeffrey Young
  • 17-12-19

I skipped through most of this book.

I've read a lot of true crime books but none have made me feel as bad. I don't know if it was the subject matter or the writing but I just could not take the intermindable details of the abuse after awhile. Since Ron's treatment seemed very similar to Kathy's I just skipped it. I wish there had been a little insight into the psychology of the Shelly and maybe her husband children's reaction to her. I don't want to give away the story so to speak but I couldn't find much sympathy for them even though I know they were like prisoners of war. So I don't recommend this book or story. I'm really sorry I read it.

38 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Muggle Mom
  • Muggle Mom
  • 02-01-20

Why didn't you tell?

I have lots of questions. This story is so cracked that I have a really hard time believing so many aspects of it. I guess I have problems with what IS NOT DISCUSSED and therefore find the story lacking. However, it’s a true crime book so I know I can never get all the answers, but I can definitely see the slant in this book as far away as Florida.

My main problem is the adults, especially Kathy & Ron?? I guess I can understand the 3 sisters (and before he was killed, Shane), they were kids. But when they became teens/adults?? How are they functional to this day? I can guess why it was left out…this is a crime story, not a memoir.

This is a bit at the end of the book from a forensic psychologist and it’s telling when she states
…skilled predators know how to stay in control
…the offender has stained the victim’s souls
…the victims might even still love the sadistic predatory caretaker
…this is difficult for outsiders to understand
…and no matter what form it has taken, home is still home
…victims of the abuse can still love the monster and
…this ambulant loyalty just might be the predator's ultimate form of damage”

Tho the crimes were committed in the late 1990-early 2000s, the book makes the justice system look like idiots, and the entire family to include the grandparents are super dysfunctional. The sister’s “supposed” dialogue is very out of sync with the book…hindsight and a prison sentence gives the ability to write such a tale.

I believe the manipulation, victim trauma and missed opportunities

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for notvafter11
  • notvafter11
  • 30-12-19

Not really in depth

I have only listened to about 4 hours of this and I was trying to single out the reason I didn't like it. Something about it felt very juvenile. Is it the language, I thought? No. Was it the unbelievable acts that seemed almost fake? Also no. The book is just a list of acts this woman did. Terrible punishments and emotional abuse. Just lists and lists and lists about the terrible things this woman did. I suppose what I'm interested in is the WHY people commit the things they do, not the actual things they do.

41 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-12-19

An absolutely chilling true story

Gregg Olsen and Karen Peaks did an amazing job giving the sisters a voice. I cried a lot listening to this, and I am not a crier. I couldn't put this book down.

Shelly and Dave should have gotten life with no chance of parole.

23 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Michele
  • Michele
  • 08-12-19

Wow!

Wow! I didn’t realize this was a true story when I bought it. Shocking how wicked some people are.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Donna
  • Donna
  • 05-12-19

Kept me intrigued.

Loved it.. kept me intrigued... true story.. just wow.. Cant believe what some people will do in this world

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for K. Cox
  • K. Cox
  • 05-12-19

Tragic

The abuse is sickening this was one of the hardest books to listen to because your heart breaks for the children and their horrific life.

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Rodell
  • Rodell
  • 08-12-19

FANTASTIC reader! Riveting true story!

This reader was simply amazing! This story should come with a hefty trigger warning for survivors of childhood trauma.

27 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Karen Sam
  • Karen Sam
  • 03-12-19

Monster

As an inhabitant of the Northwest-the fact that this monster will be released in 2 yrs disturbs me greatly. Congratulations to the courageous sisters for surviving intact.

34 people found this helpful