“Never Tell”

“Never Tell” by Lisa Gardner sets the tone for readers through grammar and construction, opening with a first person narrative by a woman. She talks to herself “I tell myself I’ve done nothing wrong.” She talks to readers, “and I finally notice what I should have noticed from the very beginning” Short choppy construction, brief sentences, and single word exclamations illustrate her rising panic, disbelief, and disassociation.
“No one home. Now I remember…Blood. Dark. Viscous. A spray, A pool”
The point of view shifts, but the short construction continues, adding to the overall atmosphere. Sargent Detective D. D. Warren, three of them, one target, silent, prepared to enter as they have done before. But then, there is a sudden and unanticipated shift.
Later, A woman has been arrested for shooting her husband, and Warren will be investigating the murder. This case is personal because Warren had investigated this woman previously. ”Seriously, how many shootings can one woman be involved with?”
Again the scene changes, now to a first person narrative by Flora who might have answers. She also talks directly to readers, sharing her traumatic background, her current outlook, and her opinioned thoughts.
The investigation starts at a predictable pace, examining the crime scene, collecting statements, and analyzing evidence, but nothing about the murder of Conrad Carter by his wife Evelyn is usual or normal. There are lots of questions, and some immediate answers, but those answers may have been found too easily. “What would motivate a wife to kill her husband?” Warren suspects that something else is going on here.
Gardner continues with the narrative alternating points of view chapter by chapter. The construction maintains the tense mood while different versions of past and current events are revealed. Readers get to know the participants, their troubling backgrounds, their disturbing histories, and their unusual connections to each other. The past holds secrets that characters would rather the world did not know. The tale takes several dramatic turns along the way, and readers wonder who is truthful, who is deceptive, and who is guilty. Actually, no one is innocent, no one is truthful, and no one is left unscathed.
Gardner took what appeared on the surface to be the tragic but uncomplicated case of a wife killing her husband and developed it into a tumultuous tangle of lies, deception, fraud, and murder. The librarian at the Raymond Public Library recommended that I read this book. She was absolutely correct; I could not put it down until the end, and Evie summed it up well,
“My husband is gone. We loved each other. We created a home together. We made a life together. And we lied, and we lied, and we lied