This is a story of three sisters, now grown women, living entirely different lives but connected by a haunting past. Nikki, Sami, and Tori Knotek occasionally confront horrifying and youthful memories about their mother by busying themselves with individual endeavors. However, like flowing waters, the memories repeatedly seek out cracks through which they slip back into the sisters’ lives.
This summary puts the true-life story of a psychotic and sadistic woman into perspective. Another revelation about her persona is that she’s an unscrupulous serial killer who happens to be a parent. For Nikki, Sami, and Tori Knotek, their childhood becomes an experience to remember for a lifetime.
Gregg Olsen, the author of “If You Tell,” has gained popularity for his works in the true crime and thriller niche. Olsen was named Wall Street Journal bestselling author and New York Times bestselling author on four occasions. These honors are credits for his nonfiction books and novels, most of which are crime-related.
“Their parents had killed multiple people. They’d done the most cruel and vile things anyone could do to another person. And so much of it had happened right before their eyes.” ~ Gregg Olsen
Life with a filial monster
Nikki, Sami, and Tori could not do anything about their mother, Shelly Knotek (Michelle Lynn Watson Rivardo Long Knotek), because she was an unagreeable person. Though fathered by three different men, the three sisters found solace in enduring the despicable personality of their mother. This sisterhood can be said to be the only recourse of the Knotek girls, and truly, it was the only aspect of their lives that Shelly could not take away. It gave them the mojo to live through a traumatic childhood.
The malformation of a child’s foundational years may turn out to be the undoing of a family, community, or nation.
There are several side effects to growing up in a dysfunctional home, that’s if there’s a home in the first place. However, the Knotek sisters were able to forge a meaningful life from the ashes of their traumatic childhood. Indeed, Shelly Knotek did not have a smooth upbringing herself; she had abusive tendencies right from a young age. Her parents, her father particularly, tried providing her with whatever she requested, which yielded counter-productive results. At a point, abusing her immediate family ceased to give her satiety for the ever-growing appetite for mischief and evil, and it graduated into murder.
This summary could be the key to unraveling narcissistic tendencies in people around you. It may help you identify the red flags to be mindful of regarding childhood sadism before it makes a full-blown criminal out of your ward, like Shelly Knotek.
The not-so-innocent beginnings of Shelly Knotek
Les Watson, Shelly’s dad, grew up in Oregon and had a second marriage with a beautiful high school graduate — Lara Stallings. He had initially lied to Stallings about being four years her senior when in reality, he was older by 10 years.
"If You Tell" is a gripping true crime book that delves into the horrifying story of a family plagued by abuse, murder, and the power of secrets. Gregg Olsen masterfully unravels the tale of three sisters who endured unimaginable torment at the hands of their own mother and stepfather. This chilling account explores the unbreakable bond between siblings as they finally find the courage to confront their past and seek justice for the crimes committed against them.
Who should read If You Tell
True crime enthusiasts seeking a gripping tale of murder and family secrets.
Fans of suspenseful non-fiction books exploring the complexities of sisterhood.
Those interested in the psychological dynamics of dysfunctional families.