If You Tell: #bookreview

if you tell

If You Tell by Gregg Olsen is the story of Shelly Knotek, a convicted killer, told from the point of view of her daughters and other family members.

  • If you are triggered by stories about abuse, this post may not be helpful.

The book is set in Raymond, Washington. Raymond is a small town known for logging and not much else. It was the first place that Nirvana ever played a show. It is also known as the place where Shelly Knotek abused practically everyone she knew in one way or another. She is currently in prison for murdering two people that considered her to be their friend.

I thought that the author told the story well. He was true to the story of the daughters as well as murder victims, Kathy Loreno and Ronald Woodworth. Shelly’s husband also killed her nephew, Shane Watson, at her request.

Shelly is a horrible person. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around how she got away with all of the things she did for so long. Even when her two older daughters left they struggled with whether or not they should turn her into the police. They knew what she was capable of and they still didn’t want her to go to jail. Love is complex.

Shelly spent most of her life doing whatever it took to get what she wanted. When she was a teenager, she accused her father of sexually abusing her. He did not abuse her in any way. She lied about everything.

She had three daughters that received their share of her abuse. During the winter she would make her daughters wallow in the mud while spraying them with water. Can you imagine your parent making you roll around in mud during the winter?


If you like true crime stories, then you might like this book. It is heartbreaking and aggravating at times but that’s just because of the things that Shelly does. The book is definitely worth reading.

If you are a narcissist, gaslighting, abusive piece of work like Shelly Knotek, then you might not enjoy this book. The book didn’t end well for her so what are the chances for others like her?

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