Please Don’t Tell


Beautiful, fifty-eight-year old Fenny Dexter lives a quiet life on the idyllic coast of California, near Big Sur. She adores her twenty-something granddaughters, JC and Vivi, having raised them since they were children. Vivi is an ER doctor and JC is finding her way as an artist. One night, a blood-covered man knocks on Fenny’s door, claiming to have had a car accident. He says he is headed to San Francisco to help the police solve the murder of his fiancé. Fenny knows he needs a doctor but the storm prevents him from leaving. Despite the strange circumstances there is an immediate attraction between them. After an intense night with Fenny, the stranger is gone the next morning. Fenny is further disturbed when Vivi phones to tell her that a woman was brought to her ER with her throat slashed. The woman’s life hangs in the balance, clearly the next victim of a serial killer who leaves notes saying “Please Don’t Tell” taped to womens’ mouths. Vivi also tells her that Fenny’s mysterious stranger came to have his wounds stitched, asking for Vivi specifically. Who is this man, really? What does he want with Fenny and her girls? And will they live long enough to uncover the truth? Told with Elizabeth Adler’s knack for terrific female characters and breathtaking twists, Please Don’t Tell will keep you guessing, right up to the end.

The synopsis and sample for this book sounded good and it started off really well. The prologue especially is very well written and chilling. The first couple of chapters set up the story but then it kind of went off the boil. There were quite a lot of unnecessary descriptive passages about clothes and their labels, ingredients and cooking and I think I got that Vivi had long brown hair the first of the many times it was mentioned. The rest of the book dragged somewhat although it picked up a little in the last quarter. I had already guessed who the serial killer was which, if a skillfully written story, is very unusual for me.

There are several glaring discrepancies in the storyline and I felt the characters weren’t developed to anywhere near their full potential. They came across as immature and stereotypical for the most part and the relationships were too trite. Everything seemed to be manipulated to expedite the plot. I couldn’t really feel anything for any of them. I’ve read Elizabeth Adler before and enjoyed her books but I thought this one was quite weak, in the writing and the plot.

In Big Sur, Fen was still keeping an eye on the stranger named Alex who she’s thought earlier might be an axe murderer. Maybe he still was and was just acting nice. She wondered, out loud, if she was being a fool. 

By now the two of them were standing in front of the fire with their glasses of wine. He was wearing the Stanford sweatshirt and the still wet jeans. She had put on an old pair of black high-heeled leather boots that were definitely pinching her toes but which made the baggy grey chenille sweatpants look better. She might be in her fifties but Fen would never lose the habit of trying to look her best for a man.

I just can’t imagine that being a plausible scenario for a woman living alone to invite an unknown man, who turns up as described in the story, to stay for drinks and dinner, much less dress to impress. 

However, Bernadette Dunne did a great job with the narration and I’ll look out for more her work.

The book may be purchased from Amazon US Amazon UK

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