TELL ME – Lisa Jackson
Savannah, Georgia – Present Day
Nikki Gillette is a part-time journalist for the Savannah Sentinel and has written two true crime books, one in which she was a victim, and she still has nightmares and issues with small spaces. Her agent is bugging her about her next book, but so far no ideas have come up. Nikki writes better when the crime is local and she has some connection to the story. Even though her fiancé Pierce Reed is a detective, he hasn't dug up any good crimes yet either. But she needs another book to fulfill her contract and is doing her darndest to find something she can relate to…until she hears that Blondell O'Henry might be getting out of prison.
It has been twenty years since Blondell O'Henry went to prison for shooting her sixteen-year-old daughter Amity, and seriously injuring her other two children, Niall and Blythe. Now Niall has come forward and said his testimony as a small child saying his mother held the gun was not true; he was confused and scared, and never really saw anything. Naturally, this has the whole city and state up in arms that they will be letting a child murderer go free. The current assistant district attorney has chosen detectives Sylvie Morrisette and Pierce Reed to pull the files and evidence and go over every detail to keep Blondell in jail before she is let out.
Despite her careful questioning, even Reed doesn't seem to have come up with any evidence to keep Blondell in prison, so it looks as if Nikki has to do some investigating of her own, and there are certainly many people who knew Blondell and Amity, who everyone found out was pregnant, and certainly Nikki can persuade someone to talk. Further involved in the mystery is the fact that Nikki's late father was the Judge, and her uncle was Blondell's lawyer.
Lisa Jackson has come up with a nail-biting, inventive story that had me totally not knowing which direction she was going. Told mainly from Nikki's and Reed's points of view, and a little from Blondell's, everyone wants to know all about Blondell and whether she shot her own children. Blondell has secrets she has kept for twenty years and certainly isn't giving them up now. Reed is the personification of the dedicated by-the-book detective trying to go over every step of the crime. Nikki isn't so concerned about how she gets her information, and what Pierce doesn't know can't get her in trouble.
Secondary characters abound, each with a little bit of information to add to the puzzle of what happened that night. There's Roland Camp, Blondell's sometime lover, her ex-husband Calvin, and Blondell's other son and daughter who barely survived. Nikki's uncle is fighting Alzheimer's, and all he can tell her is Blondell is trouble. There are still a lot of suspects and characters to add to the mystery of who could have killed Amity all those years ago.
TELL ME is a mystery that will hold your attention all the way through. I am just skirting much of the story, but it also involves poisonous snakes, many old lovers of Blondell's, and even Nikki's parent's cabin where the murder was committed. If you love old-fashioned thrillers that are impossible to figure out, this is the one for you.