If You Ever Tell
St. Martin's, Apr 2008, $6.99
Eight years ago someone broke into the Farr home in Point Pleasant, West Virginia killing the parents and stabbing preadolescent Celeste. Since teenager Teresa Farr was untouched, the police and the media assume she killed her father, stepmother and failed at murdering her stepsister. However, serial killer Roscoe Lee Byrnes confesses to the murders after he is caught. He is convicted and placed on death row awaiting state execution while Celeste has remained silent since the assault.
However, just before Byrnes is to be executed, he renounces his confession in the Farr homicides. Meanwhile Teresa begins receiving notes insisting she will soon face "justice" while mute Celeste recognizes a unique smell and begins to talk for the first time in eight years; insisting her stepsister is not only innocent, she saved her life. However others do not believe the traumatized child including the note writer as someone wants to divert attention to Teresa for the killings; if necessary even set up a murder suicide scenario that will eliminate the survivors while casting culpability on the older soon dead stepsibling
This is a tense suspense thriller that grips readers the moment that Teresa enters her home to find a nightmare that awaits her. Everyone except for Celeste believes she is the cold blooded killer even after Byrnes confessed. The story line is fast-paced as the killer raises the ante to insure no one alive knows the truth. However, fans will be irritated with the heroine’s denial that danger is mounting although her reaction seems psychologically realistic since Teri cannot emotionally deal with a second deadly encounter until she has no choice. Still Carlene Thompson provides an engaging romantic suspense thriller.