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I'll Never Tell

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What happened to Amanda Holmes?

Twenty years ago, she was found bludgeoned in a rowboat at the MacAllister family’s Camp Macaw. No one was ever charged with the crime.

Now, after their parents’ sudden deaths, the MacAllister siblings return to camp to read the will and decide what to do with the prime real estate the camp occupies. Ryan needs to sell. Margaux hasn’t made up her mind. Mary believes in leaving well enough alone. Kate and Liddie—the twins—have opposing views. And Sean Booth, the groundskeeper, just hopes he still has a home when all is said and done.

But it’s more complicated than a simple vote. The will stipulates that until they unravel the mystery of what happened to Amanda, they can’t settle the estate. Any one of them could have done it, and each one is holding a piece of the puzzle. Will they work together to finally discover the truth, or will their secrets finally tear the family apart?

380 pages, Kindle Edition

First published June 1, 2019

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About the author

Catherine McKenzie was born and raised in Montreal, Canada. A graduate of McGill in History and Law, Catherine practiced law in Montreal for twenty years before retiring to write full time. An avid runner and skier, she's the author of numerous bestsellers including HIDDEN, FRACTURED, THE and the GOOD LIAR. I'LL NEVER TELL was a #1 Amazon Bestseller, a Globe & Mail and Toronto Star Bestseller, shortlisted for the Hugh McLennan Prize for Fiction and has been optioned for a television series by Paramount TV. Her 2022 release, PLEASE JOIN US, has been optioned by Fox Television.

Her next novel, HAVE YOU SEEN HER, will be released on June 27, 2023.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,865 reviews
Profile Image for Catherine McKenzie.
Author 27 books4,602 followers
January 28, 2020
My next book, coming out in June, 2019! I am so excited about it! More to come, but in the meantime please add it to your goodreads shelf!
Profile Image for Felicia.
254 reviews931 followers
February 28, 2019
Me: omg girl this book is so friggin good, I was up all night.
Friend: What's it about?
Me: hhhmmmmm well, it's about this group of siblings that come together at the reading of their father's will only to be told that they must decide if their brother is responsible for a tragic incident with a teenage girl twenty years earlier.
Friend: That sounds kinda ridiculous.
Me: Yeah I know.
Friend: So what happens?
Me: Nothing really.
Friend: What do they do to decide if he's guilty?
Me: Wellllll....they don't exactly DO anything.
Friend: We're back to my first question, what is the book about?!

Yes, there is a mystery involving a girl twenty years prior.
Yes, there is a will requiring a decision on the guilt or innocence of a brother.

For me, that plotline is nothing but a good premise to bring together five estranged siblings after the death of their parents.

The mystery of what happened twenty years prior and the reading of the will is but a catalyst for these siblings being forced to reveal themselves to each other for the first time. Maybe that's what their eccentric late father intended, who knows?

We learn that they each hold secrets, not only about what happened twenty years ago, but about themselves. It seems that none of them really knows the other. Their individual secrets and assumptions have driven a monumental chasm in this family.

Man, Catherine McKenzie can develop a character. I felt like I knew these people, like they were my own family. Hell, they ARE my family. I liken McKenzie's style to that of Celeste Ng, whereas the players ARE the story.

This story really got me thinking about my own secrets, we all have them so don't even try it. No matter how small or inane the closeted skeleton, it still causes tiny fissures in our relationships. If revealed, they wouldn't cause a complete break and could only serve in strengthening our bonds, so why do we keep them?

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Debra .
2,287 reviews35k followers
March 19, 2019
Twenty years ago, Amanda washed up on shore off Camp Macaw in a rowboat with a gash on her head. Many were interviewed by the police, but an arrest was never made. Now the children of the camp owners are called together for the reading of the will. But there is just one minor thing they need to do - vote! But it's not that simple. In fact, it's complicated.

Who hurt Amanda at camp all those years ago? Who had a motive? Who saw her last? Who saw something? Who has secrets? The siblings are tasked with looking back at that summer and the events of that night to determine the culpability of one of them. As they look back, we learn bits and pieces about each of them.

This was an interesting whodunit that also worked as an examination of family dynamics. About family secrets, about keeping secrets for others, about sibling relationships, and the walls we build around ourselves. You think you know your family? Think again!

This was a thoroughly enjoyable book. I enjoyed all the characters and liked how the Author had each have his/her own personality and quirks. The plot was very clever and carefully woven. This book had several twists and at one point I just KNEW that I guessed it, I KNEW I was so right, to only have another twist to blow that theory out of the water. The great thing was that each guess could have been plausible and when the reveal did occur it felt authentic/believable. I am not a huge fan of reveals that come out of nowhere just for the wow factor. The final reveal here was clever, well thought out and made sense. I also enjoyed the charts/forms throughout the book that let us know where each family member was at certain times during that fateful night. I'm happiest when I am wearing my super sleuth hat while reading and this book had me guessing and trying to figure out whodunit along with the characters. I found the story to be captivating look back in time while at the same time being grounded in the present. The characters were well developed, flawed, likable yet not always reliable. I look forward t reading more books by this Author.

Thank you to Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,198 reviews40.7k followers
April 21, 2021
3.5 rounded down to 3, I think I wore my tough grader suit today!

I always keen on reading a story resembles old Agatha Christie mysteries, takes place at one location, limited people reside there, one of them is the murderer so whodunit ( we need an egg shaped head detective with amazing little grey cells or St. Mary Meade’s famous and wisest spinster!) kind of, fast pacing page-turners! Even I enjoyed the pacing, story’s progression, I hated the guts of the character and each chapter turned into painful parts as I resume reading their narrations.

But I have to admit there are still acceptable and moving story we have:

The blurb got my attention: 20 years ago Amanda Holmes found bludgeoned in a rowboat at the MacAlister family’s camp! They haven’t found who did this to her.

Now today, we see siblings’ reunion for will reading after their parent’s death. Their father left them a letter telling them Ryan was the prime suspect of the crime. He was not sure he was innocent. So his last wish from his kids is finding the person who did this to Amanda. If Ryan’s guilty, his share of property will automatically go to Sean. The interesting fact is their decision will also designate the future of the house. (Ryan needs money so he will probably force his siblings to sell the property. But Sean’s entire life connected with the place so he has no intention to sell it.)

Dysfunctional family secrets slowly start to reveal and you just start your brainstorming because any of those characters have potential to do something really dangerous. (Or maybe I didn’t like any of them and wished they did together kind of Murder on the Orient Express kind of resolution! But we still needed Belgian detective to help us solve the case. Unfortunately we’re on our own and my spider senses guided me to find the perpetrator at the end!)

The only character I truly loved and make me have guilty conscience to give low stars to this book is Amanda. I loved her parts, her sincerity and naturalness. She is easy to resonate and it really hurt me to read the parts she’s trapped in her own brain in vegetative state.

The ending is mostly satisfying and a little foreseeable but it’s again greatly written. I know I was a little unfair to think little of this book. But the characters are so important for me and in my opinion, this book could be a better one with less siblings (or more likeable and easy to empathize kind of broken, problematic, crazy but still intriguing characters not those boring, uninteresting ones!) and less POVS and more parts of Amanda’s story.

And of course I was expecting more from the writer after “Good Liar” and “Fractured”. This book left me in the middle. I didn’t love it but I also didn’t hate it. Call me Switzerland and visit me for skiing tournaments :)))
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,110 reviews2,798 followers
May 26, 2019
Seventeen year old Amanda was smashed on the head, twenty years ago, at the MacAllister family’s Camp Macaw. Now the five MacAllister siblings have been called together for the reading of their parents' will, after their parents died in a train accident. Everyone in this family has secrets and it seems they each know something about what happened that night, twenty years ago, that they haven't shared with the others. Now their dead father is instructing them to figure out who attacked Amanda because he thinks it's one of them, and the estate can't be settled until they have done as he has instructed.

This is an Agatha Christie type whodunit and it was an enjoyable and quick read for me. The short chapters are written from the point of view of the siblings and Sean, the camp caretaker, who has never wanted to anything other than to continue taking care of the camp. Whether the camp continues to be run by the MacAllisters or gets sold to build condos, also depends on what the siblings learn and decide, after a final vote, once the mystery has been solved.

After reading this book, I'll definitely be reading more of Catherine McKenzie's work and I see that she has a lot of books already other there for me to read. Thank you to Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley for this ARC.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,727 reviews6,663 followers
July 2, 2019
I'll Never Tell is a smart and engaging mystery that mirrors Agatha Christie's method for presenting each developing character as a potential suspect, and with seven characters that's quite the feat. Plentiful secrets, intriguing relationships, and a nostalgic but eerie atmosphere allow Catherine McKenzie to successfully reach for Christie's masterful talent as well. I am so excited to see McKenzie's writing evolve over the years. Check her out and put this title high on your list!

Thank you to the following for permitting me access to an advance reader's copy (ARC) of I'll Never Tell. This generosity did not impact my honesty when rating/reviewing.
Author: Catherine McKenzie
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genres: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction
Pub Date: June 1, 2019
Profile Image for Holly  B (Short break!).
812 reviews1,866 followers
May 31, 2019

I have really enjoyed some of this author's past books and was looking forward to this one.

The setting of Camp Macaw and a twenty year old unsolved murder case sounded intriguing.  The reading of a father's will takes five siblings back to camp. They learn that the murder of Amanda will have to be solved before anyone can collect on the will.

Secrets and drama, a past/present timeline, some insights from Amanda herself all start to add up.... which of the siblings was responsible for Amanda's death?

Although there is a mystery, I stopped caring who did it at some point. The siblings were unlikable and I grew bored reading about them. It was a struggle to finish this one and probably one that I should have given up on at the half way mark.

Thanks to NG and the publisher for my copy.

Profile Image for Liz.
2,021 reviews2,526 followers
April 29, 2019
McKenzie does a wonderful job of placing us front and center in the MacAllister family drama. They may be adults, but the siblings fight and bicker the same way they did as kids. Gathering at their parents’ summer camp after the unexpected deaths of their parents, they expect to hear the will and make a decision about what to do with the camp. But it’s not that simple. Twenty years before, Amanda, a young counselor was found after an overnight camp outing in a canoe, with a large gash in her forehead. No one was ever charged with the crime. But now, the father has left instructions for the siblings to determine what happened before a decision on the property can be made. I can’t imagine a father that would put such a quandary to his kids, but I loved it as a plot device.

Despite there being five siblings, I had no trouble keeping them straight. We hear from each of the siblings, along with Sean and Amanda. Each voice brings not only a different perspective but also a different batch of secrets. And half the time, they’re keeping facts to themselves thinking they’re protecting someone else. I loved how much the past colored who they still were and how they saw themselves. “That was the problem with camp. Everywhere and everything was memories. Whether they were your own or other people’s. You couldn’t escape them. The person you were, the person you used to be, it didn’t matter. All that mattered was how others saw you.”

The writing is so clear and vivid I could picture everything. It was like watching a movie play out in my head. The chart of where everyone was at each hour worked well and helped keep the reader focused.

With this book, McKenzie returns to the thrills she gave me in Fractured. There’s a definite creepiness factor to this book. There’s also an ending I didn’t see coming. This one gave me chills.

My thanks to netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for an advance copy of this book.
Profile Image for Norma.
551 reviews12.2k followers
September 11, 2019
Atmospheric, suspenseful, & compelling!

I’LL NEVER TELL by CATHERINE McKENZIE is an excellent, engrossing, and interesting domestic whodunit mystery/thriller that had me totally consumed with curiosity right from the very start. I was immediately hooked with the camp setting and the mystery to solve here totally intrigued me. I definitely have a fondness for books with camp settings, love dysfunctional familial dynamics and the slow unraveling of all the secrets and lies totally fascinated me.

CATHERINE McKENZIE delivers a character-driven, twisty, suspenseful, and well-written read here with quite the atmospheric setting that definitely set the mood for a claustrophobic and intense read. The story is cleverly written and told in multiple perspectives from each of the MacAllister family siblings and Sean who works at the camp as well as flashback chapters from Amanda from 20 years ago. I was never confused or lost with keeping the huge cast of characters straight.

The mystery here has this appealing nostalgic and classic feel to it that I am most definitely drawn to. And there is definitely something about CATHERINE McKENZIE’S writing style that I totally relate and connect to. I love her choice of words and how she weaves her sentences together. Another aspect of this novel that I thoroughly enjoyed was the addition of the timeline chart which definitely made me feel like I was solving the mystery right along with these characters. Also, the cool chapter headings! Loved them so creative and catchy.

P.S. - My favorite book growing up was The Secret Garden and I loved that this book was mentioned in this story. I also learned that it was a childhood favorite of Catherine McKenzie’s too from reading the interview in the back of the book. Cool! :-)

* Traveling Sisters Read *

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Ominous, sinister, appealing, suspenseful and immediately had me intrigued. A fabulous representation to storyline.
Title: Intriguing, suspenseful, meaningful and absolutely loved how the title played so fittingly into storyline.
Writing/Prose: Well-written, engaging, captivating, descriptive, astute, and fluid. I have this connection with her writing style that I find totally relatable and irresistible.
Plot: Suspenseful, vivid, riveting, fast-paced, sinister, secretive, twisty, held my attention fully and extremely entertaining.
Ending: An unexpected ending that totally took me by surprise and left me feeling very satisfied.
Armchair Detective Skills: There were no real surprises for me along the way with all the multiple twists and turns until that final resolution. Loved piecing all those puzzle pieces together!
Overall: An irresistible, enjoyable, entertaining, suspenseful, and fabulous read! Would highly recommend!

Thank you so much to Simon & Schuster Canada & Catherine McKenzie for the complimentary copy! It was an absolute pleasure reading this fantastic novel!

Review can also be found on our Two Sisters Lost in a Coulee Reading book blog:
Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,067 reviews3,613 followers
July 12, 2019
The MacAllister children are all gathering together. A reunion of sorts at their family-run summer camp. But this particular reunion is far from a joyful one. In fact, all five kids would rather be anywhere else.

This is a reading of a will, followed by a memorial for both their parents. Their father left some very strange caveats in his will. Looming the largest of them? In order for all the children to inherit equally they need to all agree that one of them wasn’t responsible for the crime against Amanda Holmes.

A cleverly laid out, suspenseful read that I quickly flew through in just a few days. You’ll be kept guessing as the night Amanda was attacked plays out.

My one issue was with the five family members, a bit confusing keeping them straight. Two characters were highly descriptive and I immediately clicked with them. The other three daughters were somewhat interchangeable and I’d continually have to pause to recall which character was narrating that particular chapter.

This is the third book I have read by Catherine McKenzie with The Good Liar remaining my favorite of hers to date.

Thank you to NetGalley, Lake Union Publishing and Catherine McKenzie for an ARC to read and review.
Profile Image for Theresa Alan.
Author 10 books1,017 followers
April 5, 2019
This is by far the best mystery I’ve read in a long time.

Twenty years ago, Amanda washed up to shore at Camp Macaw, blood pouring from a gash in her head. She was just seventeen years old at the time, a camp counselor. Her best friend was Margaux, the second oldest of the MacAllister clan. And she had a huge crush on Ryan, the eldest sibling of the family who owns the camp.

There is middle sister, Mary, and the twins, Liddie and Kate. When they are all called to convene for the reading of the will after the deaths of their parents, secrets start to unravel as to what really happened to Amanda that night.

This is such a well done novel. Thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union for the opportunity to review this book, which RELEASES JUNE 1, 2019.

For more reviews, please visit: http://www.theresaalan.net/blog
Profile Image for Susanne.
1,159 reviews36.8k followers
June 19, 2019
3 Stars.

Family Dysfunction and Murder. Oh What a Tangled Web it Weaves!

Five Adult Siblings are called to the site of a Children’s Camp owned by their now deceased parents. All are waiting for the reading of their parent’s will and expect to inherit a piece of the property and/or the right to sell it. Not so fast!

The camp was the scene of an unsolved crime many years ago involving a young teenage girl named Amanda and now the five siblings are brought together to figure out who dun it. What?! You heard that right!

Secrets, guilt, jealousy and dark festering resentment lie at the heart of “I’ll Never Tell” by Catherine McKenzie. It’s a mystery that delves into the relationship between family members and how easily the truth and lies can get muddled when protecting those you love. “I’ll Never Tell” is a page turner that’ll be sure to keep you entertained for hours.

Thank you to NetGalley, Lake Union Publishing and Catherine Mackenzie for an arc of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Published on NetGalley and Goodreads on 6.19.19.
Profile Image for Matt.
3,724 reviews12.8k followers
May 3, 2019
First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Catherine McKenzie, and Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

One can usually expect something stellar when Catherine McKenzie is at the helm and this book was no exception. Layering family dynamics with an over-arching mystery from years ago, McKenzie offers readers a wonderful treat as the story progresses. The MacAllister family have long been associated with Camp Macaw, the staple summer retreat they own and run for children in the Quebec Townships. However, with the death of the MacAllister parents, the adult children gather together on the property to discuss what is to come of the land they knew all too well as teenagers. Will it be sold or portioned off and who will have the final say as to what happens? At the reading of the will, the group is surprised to learn of the parameters around which all this must be decided, something that Mr. MacAllister devised to unite and divide the group one final time. This rag-tag group must decide if their one brother, Ryan, should be permitted to inherit something, but the choice must be unanimous and they have forty-eight hours before the vote. This brings to mind a tragedy from two decades before, when a young camper, Amanda Holmes, was found, assaulted on a distant part of the camp’s property. The scandal caused ripples that almost shut the facility down and Ryan was deemed responsible. Though he denies being involved, it was largely a foregone conclusion. Now, with the family back together and grown, they must face the gruesome facts again and get to the truth, or bury it once and for all, while also letting their formative time at Camp Macaw drift away on the summer breeze. With flashback chapters that help build the Amanda storyline as well as present-day struggles, this story will keep the reader at the centre of the action and leave them wanting to cast their own decisions before all is said and done. A great mystery that entertains in short order. Recommended for those who love Catherine McKenzie’s work and the reader who enjoys stories where family secrets turn truths upside down.

I have always come to find Catherine McKenzie’s work quite detailed and her stories hit home in ways I could not have predicted. Both the characters and the plot pulled me in from the get-go and I found myself fully committed before too long. In this piece, McKenzie offers up a quaint camp community, where a family has come to remember their parents and try to put all else aside. However, there is little chance of that, with the tragedy of years before facing them during the reading of the will. The reader meets the entire group, as well as a few adopted members of the MacAllister clan, all of whom have their own lives now, but also played key roles during the summer of 1998. What did happen to Amanda Holmes and how did things go so wrong? McKenzie offers interesting flashbacks throughout this piece to develop that narrative, as well as plotting the whereabouts of each character at key points during the night of the event. The reader can make their own presumptions, though it is the truth that seems to elude everyone. With strong characters who help shape the story and a narrative that pushes the plot forward, McKenzie offers a gritty mystery that is sure to keep the reader guessing and wondering until the very end. Camp Macaw’s future may be in doubt, but it is the strength of the MacAllister family that remains the real x-factor throughout. Brilliantly devised and executed, it is no wonder Catherine McKenzie has so many fans and seems to add more with each novel she publishes.

Kudos, Madam McKenzie, for another wonderful piece. I can only hope that others will see some of the nuances I found while reading this book.

Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...
Profile Image for Linda.
1,227 reviews1,276 followers
February 13, 2019
Agatha Christie goes to Summer Camp......

I'll Never Tell takes us to lazy summers spent in the confines of cabin life run by budding counselors in open-air cabins by the lake. Rules stipulated on signs, schedules and endless activities filling the days, and secret hideouts in the woods. Binoculars optional.

It's July of 1998 near Montreal and Camp Macaw is filled with young adults and kids who seem to come back for the same experience every year. It's owned and operated by Pete and Ingrid MacAllister with their teenage kids serving as counselors. The camp grounds contain a Secret Beach with no easy access and The Island in the distance beckoning for a canoe to its shores. A map of the grounds is provided in the first pages.

As the readers settles in, we come to find that a serious tragedy occured that summer at Camp Macaw involving a young counselor by the name of Amanda. Catherine McKenzie introduces us to the large MacAllister brood: Margaux, Ryan, Mary, Liddie, and Kate. There's also Sean who serves as a groundskeeper after being taken in by the family. Whatever happened that summer spins an arrow pointing at one of these individuals......or maybe not.

Fast forward twenty years and we find the MacAllister bunch arriving at Camp Macaw for a memorial ceremony for their parents who passed away. Suspicion is heavy as the crime was never solved from 1998. The family lawyer arrives who reads a strange letter dictated by Pete MacAllister before his death. The clan must vote to keep or sell the property and one of them will be excluded from inheriting by the vote which must be unanimous.

Agatha Christie dons her counselor's whistle from around her neck and the piercing shriek will be definitely heard. McKenzie starts to peel away cumbersome tree branches and we come to know the backstories on this family tribe. Smoke from the familiar campfires will drift away. McKenzie uses a grid that will be filled in after the chapters to locate who was where and when back on that fateful night in 1998. Very clever.....very clever indeed. I'll Never Tell is filled with multi-faceted characters and a trail of twisty events that readers will follow to the very Agatha Christie style ending.

I received a copy of I'll Never Tell through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Catherine McKenzie and to Lake Union Publishers for the opportunity.
Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
2,019 reviews15.7k followers
June 9, 2019
𝗙𝗮𝗺𝗶𝗹𝘆. 𝗦𝗲𝗰𝗿𝗲𝘁𝘀. 𝗟𝗶𝗲𝘀.

Catherine McKenzie has crafted a stellar who done it with dynamic characters and a creepy setting. Siblings Ryan, Margot, Mary, Kate, and Lydia have gathered for the reading of their fathers will. The family owns a camp and the will will determine its future, but it is far more complicated than that. 20 years ago Amanda Margo’s best friend was found bloody and bludgeoned in a boat washed up on the shore of the camp. It is the siblings job to vote and determine whether or not Ryan the oldest sibling is guilty of this tragedy. So what happens when your siblings are your judge and jury?

What a book! Catherine Mckenzie seamlessly weaves together this tale told from seven different perspectives. Not only do we get the perspective of the five siblings, but we also get that of Sean the camp caretaker and Amanda the victim of the tragedy years ago. Each character was skillfully crafted with their own unique voice, characteristics, and quirks. The character development in the story was exceptional I felt as though I had a personal relationship with each of these characters. This was a complicated story about family drama, family secrets, and family history. Each of the siblings had something to hide. Really makes you wonder how well do you actually know your own siblings?

There were definitely some twists and turns in the story and an ending I did not see coming. But what truly drove this book was the characters and their relationships to one another. This really is my favorite kind of book. The kind of book that completely draws me in, the kind of book that I can fully escape into, the kind of book that gets me completely invested in the characters lives. Another well told story from Catherine McKenzie! An author who is A definite autoread for me!

*** huge thanks to Lake Union for my copy of this book ***
Profile Image for Mackenzie - PhDiva Books.
418 reviews14.4k followers
June 30, 2019
Secrets, secrets…

Wow this family had a LOT of secrets! Secrets they kept to protect themselves, secrets they kept to protect others, and secrets that can threaten to destroy everything. Suspenseful, salacious, and thrilling—I loved Catherine McKenzie’s I’ll Never Tell!

When the MacAllister children—now adults—return to camp after their parents’ sudden deaths, they hope to mourn their parents, sell the camp land, and move on finally from the place that they feel unable to escape. But their parents won’t make that easy...

The death of a teenage camper, best friends with eldest daughter Margaux, many years earlier has left a shadow over the family. Now, in their father’s will, he says that he thinks eldest son Ryan committed the murder, and the other kids must discover the truth in order to unlock the land and money.

But as they begin to sort out the details, it seems all of them have been keeping secrets. About that night and beyond...

This mystery is phenomenal. Narrated by each of the five McAllister children, the murdered girl Amanda, and the camp caretaker Sean, this one had me gripped as I tried to figure out what exactly happened to Amanda. And all of these siblings hold secrets and information about that night that they aren’t willing to share.

But of course, that is why the clause written by their father is so compelling—they’ll need to share in order to unlock their rights to the property and finally move on. And the secrets do start to come out… And lies are exposed… Someone is responsible for what happened to Amanda, and the journey to discovering the truth was SO much fun.

I won’t say more other than that the ending of this one is delicious and delightful!

Thank you to Lake Union Publishing and Amazon for my copy. Opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Mackey.
1,056 reviews364 followers
July 11, 2019
I've never read a book by Catherine McKenzie but have heard so many great things about her books that I wanted to try one to see what I was missing. Well, apparently I've been missing a lot. I'll Never Tell was the perfect summer read for me: not too serious, super quick, a nice mystery and interestingly quirky characters. What more could a reader ask for in a summer book?

The MacAllister siblings grew up at Camp Macaw, the typical summer camp with cabins that surround a lake, stories re-told over and over, sports, games and art workshops. What wasn't typical was the summer that Amanda, a popular counselor and friend of the siblings, washed ashore dead in a rowboat. The police never found the killer. When the siblings' parents die and the will is read, they discover that the only way they will inherit the camp is to solve the mystery of Amanda's death. However, what once was an unsolvable murder mystery is now shrouded in closely guarded family secrets as well. None of these siblings is who they appear to be.

I've come to love domestic noir especially when it is done well and I'll Never Tell does, in fact, handle this genre very well. There are six points of view - yes six - which could get muddled and confusing but McKenzie deftly moves back and forth between the chapters and personalities so that never once does the reader lose focus on who is who. The book also jumps back in time through Amanda's point of view but this also adds to the dimension of the story rather than detracts. We are able to put into perspective the tales that the siblings are weaving from the actual facts as they happened. This does not, however, give the reader a clear cut view of the actual killer. There are so many twists and possibilities that I was clueless until the very end. Literally, it could have been any of them, or all.

I'll Never Tell is a well written "whodunnit" and a great mystery, perfect for any season but even better for summer because of its setting. I highly recommend it and will be pursuing other McKenzie books for myself.
Profile Image for Carrie.
3,157 reviews1,516 followers
June 10, 2019
I’ll Never Tell by Catherine McKenzie is a mystery/thriller that focuses on a death that occurred twenty years before. The story is told from multiple points of view switching with each chapter and occasionally between chapters you get the POV of the victim jumping back the twenty years.

Amanda Holmes had been attending Camp Macaw which was owned and operated by the MacAllister family. One morning it was found that Amanda never returned to her cabin at the camp the night before and a search was called on to find her. Amanda was soon found bludgeoned to death and left in a rowboat but the killer was never found.

Now, twenty years later the MacAllister siblings are all grown up and have gone their separate ways. When both of their parents pass though the question of who inherits the family camp brings them all back to Camp Macaw for the reading of the will which finds the siblings with the dilemma of figuring out who the murderer was.

I’ve always had a thing for a creepy summer camp story. The idea of heading off to camp for the summer was always appealing but something I never got to experience so instead I’ve been drawn to the setting for a lot of campy horror. Even with this one being a twenty year old crime it still had that creepy camp vibe with a bunch of questionable characters. I wasn’t overly surprised with some of the twists and outcome but it was still a fun read.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/
Profile Image for DJ Sakata.
3,036 reviews1,747 followers
June 1, 2019
Favorite Quotes:

She leaned toward Liddie. She smelled like her father used to, a mix of coffee and marijuana. “Waking and baking these days?”

“Have you ever thought about what they must’ve been like before all of us? … I think about it. They met. They fell in love. They were regular people once.” “And what? We made them into irregular people?”

They always got the leftovers. The things left in the lost and found. If Liddie wrote a biography of her childhood, it would be called Nothing Was Ever Mine.

That was the bargain of being a twin. You didn’t need to talk about it; you simply knew that sometime in the not too distant future, you’d be living together in some old-age home, dressed alike the way you’d been as children.

He always smelled the same— slightly refrigerated. It was a smell Mary liked because it meant coolness to her. Not in a fashion sense but in the temperature way. He was calm, steady.

Of everyone in their family, the person she’d understood the least had been her mother. When Kate thought of her, she always seemed diaphanous. Like one of those Instagram filters had been applied to her, washing her out, smoothing away the lines. Nothing ever seemed to stick to her, not criticism or her children, not even her husband. She simply floated around, photographing it all, removed.

My Review:

Quite a clever gal, that Catherine McKenzie! This well-crafted mystery was full of simply explained yet brilliantly placed twists and turns that kept me on edge and off-center. The storylines were highly eventful and ingeniously paced with tension and intrigue steadily ratcheting up the scale, and I was sucking it all in like the latest and greatest vacuum on the market. I enjoyed the shrewdly discerning tale as much as the skill and cunning in the telling of it.

This family was well beyond quirky, they were each oddly peculiar and self-absorbed. I didn’t care for any of them by the time I finished the book, yet I was driven to know all about them. I had great empathy for the stalwart employee and held my breath for him and cringed each time evidence pointed his direction. Each character was fascinatingly flawed and I enjoyed unearthing their many secrets. This was only my second time reading her work but I am eager to see what Ms. McKenzie comes up with next, she now has a rather rabid fangirl on her hands.
Profile Image for Jayme.
1,140 reviews1,882 followers
June 1, 2019

This is my seventh Catherine McKenzie book, so, you it would be accurate to say that I AM a fan...

But, I did not really connect to this book the way I have with her others...

The book opens with a lantern ceremony...a flashback from 1998, told from the perspective of Amanda Holmes, a camp counselor at the McAllister family's Camp Macaw, who was found bludgeoned in a rowboat that summer.

Each year, the camp would close with campers writing their wishes on paper lanterns, and the counselors lighting them on fire, and sending them into the sky.

We then join the McAllister siblings at the camp, on Friday, where they have been gathered along with the Camp's life long groundskeeper, Sean, and the family lawyer, Swift, for the reading of their parent's Will.

Ryan. Margaux. Mary. The twins, Kate and Liddie . What is it about grown siblings getting together and resorting to their childhood behaviors?

The Will contains an unusual exception. It stipulates that the mystery of what happened to Amanda, be unraveled, and that the siblings have 48 hours to do so, before voting on whether or not Camp Macaw will remain in the family, and operational, or be SOLD, and on WHO will inherit?

Their father has left some clues...he thinks he knows what happened.....and all of the amateur detectives out there, can also follow a "timeline" of WHO was WHERE and at WHAT TIME...as each sibling reveals what they know, and tries to figure out how each piece of the puzzle fits together.

You are also privy to revelations from Amanda, from the night in question, every few chapters as well.

The unorthodox characters, and their relationships, just didn't feel authentic to me, and I did not like or connect with any of them. The strength of the author's writing for me in the past has been that her other books all contain realistic characters who feel like they could be your friends and neighbors, but that was not the case for me, with this book.

But, the story is clever, with one sibling finally connecting all the dots at what could be the camp's FINAL lantern ceremony, following their parent's Memorial Service.

Although, I preferred the author's other novels... "The Good Liar", "Fractured" "Hidden" and "Smoke" to this one, I will continue to watch for, and look forward to reading, whatever she writes next!

I would like to thank NetGalley, Lake Union Publishing and Catherine McKenzie for the digital ARC I received in exchange for a candid review!

This title is available on June, 1, 2019!
Profile Image for Kendall.
638 reviews640 followers
January 21, 2020
I fell in love with Catherine McKenzie's writing after I read "The Good Liar". My goodness was that one of my top reads last year!!

So, naturally I was ectastic... first person in line to request her new book via Netgalley!

I'll Never Tell is a suspenseful thriller that takes you on a journey to find out what happened to Amanda at Camp Macaw.

This is a multi-layered story that explores family dynamics to it's core. Family secrets, family lies, sibling relationships, and the stories we tell our own selves to cover up lies.

This was a carefully woven plot intertwined to the story of Amanda. The story was enjoyable but it felt a bit too drawn out for my tastes. I was getting confused of the siblings and found myself having to go back to remember who was what etc.

I'll give McKenzie this her characters are all unreliable which leaves you guessing what the heck is going on! Fantastic!

Overall, this was a decent read and am always coming back for more from McKenzie!!

3.5 stars for I'll Never Tell

Thank you to Lake Union Publishing and Netgalley for the arc in exchange for an honest review.

Publication date: 6/1/19
Published to Goodreads: 5/22/19
Profile Image for Tammy.
936 reviews173 followers
June 26, 2019
4.5 ☆ This is so good let me tell you! 👏🏻🏕🛶 I’ve finally read my first Catherine McKenzie book and it was unputdownable! Part mystery-part thriller, I’ll Never Tell is about a 20yr old unsolved tragedy involving a teen camp counselor and multiple characters surrounding a father’s will and his off-the-charts cray-cray terms he set for his son to be able to inherit. The five adult children plus the caretaker gather for the reading of the will. All takes place at their family owned Camp Macaw. The adult siblings have to make a decision, a unanimous vote bringing both the past and the present together settling their brothers future in only a few days. This family is into withholding secrets and little by little all get revealed as the story progresses causing surprising twists and turns left and right. I sped through it pretty quickly as I needed to know who did it. Loved that the story was able to keep my attention like that. The suspense was crazy-good and toward the end the biggest secrets of all - their father’s and the person responsible for Amanda twenty years ago. It’ll keep you hanging on the edge of your seat!!
Profile Image for Susan's Reviews.
1,077 reviews489 followers
April 30, 2019
My thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The first few chapters started off interestingly enough, but there was too much repetition of both internal thoughts and plots for my taste. Five siblings and one faithful family employee gather at the family home (which doubles as a summer camp) in north eastern Quebec to attend the reading of their parents' last will.
The five siblings are dismayed to discover that there is a complex trust created in the father's will, giving his four daughters the right to disinherit their brother Ryan if they believe he was responsible for their friend Amanda's terrible accident twenty years ago.
Note: After all the twisted subplots and backtracking by the author, Ryan is now officially a sainted martyr in my mind - he went from a totally selfish cad to a selfless doormat by the end of the book. This was such an unbelievable about-face that I had to put the book down and groan- and this is a problem throughout this narrative. Too many odd things pop up out of nowhere in this novel: at one point, I was unsure whether Ryan had actually suffered a heart attack, because he was up and about, punching poor Sean in the face almost the very next day. Now that was a fast recovery!
The author may have gotten lost in her own attempts to throw dust in her readers' eyes: at two different points in the novel, she has Margaeux experience a sudden flashback memory of her own hands and a paddle stained with blood, leading the reader to believe that she may been the one who attacked poor Amanda.
And what gives with the alternate narrator, Amanda? At first, I wondered if Amanda was dead, and that her ghost was speaking to us from Beyond - but no, I was wrong. - and don't worry, I won't even hint at any spoilers here..
In the end, the final few chapters were such a mishmash of misdirection that I almost didn't care "whodunnit". I also found the incestuous longings of a couple of the characters, even after the big reveal of the underwhelming twist, to be a bit of a turn off. There wasn't much new or exciting, plot-wise, going on here - nothing we haven't all seen or read before. Very few of the characters in this story felt true to life and I had to force myself to finish this one..
I did enjoy the descriptions of eastern Quebec - that part of Canada is truly spectacular. I have often said that even God must go on vacation in that neck of the woods - it is such a lush, green paradise. This was just about the only redeeming aspect of this novel for me.
Sorry, not my cup of tea, but fans of this author's books will likely enjoy it much more than I did.
Profile Image for MissBecka Gee.
1,492 reviews596 followers
November 25, 2020
Well that was certainly a great ride!
This book was highly addictive. I had trouble stopping for sleep and nourishment.
Being human is sometimes a hindrance.
I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a fantastic summer read!

Thank you NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for my ARC.
Profile Image for Erin.
2,956 reviews485 followers
June 2, 2019
Thanks to Netgalley and Simon&Shuster Canada for a digital galley in exchange for an honest review.

My seventh Catherine McKenzie read was eagerly anticipated and did not disappoint. When the five McAllister children gather at their family camp for their father's memorial service and will reading, they are startled by his reference to the 1998 cold case of a murdered teenage girl. Pointing the finger at his only son, Ryan, the four sisters are left to decide whether or not they have been living beside a murderer all these years. But is it a far reach that Kate, Liddie, Margaux, or Mary may also be guilty? Or is it possible that long time employee and McAllister wannabe, Sean, is the culprit?

Told through the eyes of all six characters in the present and flashing back to the victim's final hours, Catherine McKenzie weaves a suspenseful tale. Although I read it in one sitting, I do find myself taking one star off for a few elements of the storyline that slowed down the storytelling. I won't delve into specifics since that would be spoilerish.

Add this to your beach reading list !

Publication Date: 04/06/19
Goodreads Review 01/06/19
Profile Image for Virginie Roy.
Author 1 book599 followers
June 27, 2021
My favorite from McKenzie!

I loved the setting (the old camp where so many memories are waiting to be revived) and the characters in all their complexity. The analysis of the bonds between the members of this big family was really touching. I felt like I knew them all and could have continue to read about their everyday lives for a whole other book. The mistery of their friend's death just added the extra detail that made this book perfect (almost).

The only thing that bugged me was one of the characters, that I felt less close to. I just couldn't size this one up... It's funny, since in the Questions to the author at the end, McKenzie said this one was the most difficult to write.

Anyway, I like McKenzie's writing so much that I'm gonna try to read her previous chick-lit books!

July 2019
Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,136 followers
May 31, 2019
Camp Macaw. Twenty years later.

1998 - An unsolved murder. 2018 - Reading of daddy's will. Five grown siblings + one camp caretaker....each....with their own agenda....each....with big time family secrets....even the recently dead.

I'LL NEVER TELL alternates between past and present revealing secrets....and lies to solve the murder of a young counselor. I really liked the premise of the storyline, and Amanda's voice (from the beyond) but didn't much care for any of the other characters....or their seemingly banal lives, but stuck with it to find out what actually did happen to Amanda.

Am sorry to say, I'LL NEVER TELL turned out to be a long and tedious read for me unlike many other reviewers....unlike THE GOOD LIAR and FRACTURED that I really enjoyed.

***Arc provided by Lake Union Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for review***

Profile Image for Zoe.
1,819 reviews171 followers
May 27, 2019
Secretive, pacey, and compulsive!

I’ll Never Tell is a riveting, intricately woven, character-driven whodunit that takes us to the rugged wilderness of Camp Macaw and into the lives of the MacAllister family where tensions are high, fingers are being pointed, and a twenty-year-old tragedy will finally be solved.

The writing is seamless and precise. The characterization is spot on with a cast of characters that are secretive, driven, selfish and flawed. And the plot, told from differing points-of-view, keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish as it whips you through well-timed twists, unforeseen surprises, deception, abuse, guilt, jealousy, violence, and murder.

Once again, I’ll Never Tell has proven that when it comes to writing exceptionally clever, deftly plotted, fast-paced, domestic thrillers with exquisite character development and deliciously sinister storylines McKenzie is definitely one of the best.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Mary.
1,474 reviews495 followers
May 29, 2019
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5

I don't know how she did it, but Catherine McKenzie managed to take 7 different viewpoints and make them all clear and unique in the engrossing novel I'll Never Tell.

What it's about: The MacAllister children are all grown up and back at Camp Macaw after the sudden death of their parents in a train accident. Now the 5 of them - Ryan the oldest, the twins Kate and Liddie, Mary, and Margaux - all need to hear their parent's will being read and decide what to do with the camp. Out of all of them, Ryan is the one that most wants to sell, while the other 4 would rather hold on to their parent's legacy. The groundskeeper Sean who has been at the camp since he was little, just doesn't want to have to leave. But when the will is read, they find out they are going to have to do more than make a quick decision. In order to decide what to do with the camp, they must first figure out who committed a long-ago crime when they were younger. Margaux's friend Amanda washed up in a rowboat at the camp with a blow to the head, but no one was ever charged with a crime. The siblings are all hiding secrets from that time, and any of them could have done it. . .

I have to say that I have really enjoyed every McKenzie book that I have read so far. She really knows how to craft a story, and she is adept at giving characters unique voices, even a bunch of them, while not confusing the reader. There is a grand total of 7 viewpoints in this book so you would think it would be confusing, but they all felt very clear to me and I was able to picture each character individually.

I love the route that McKenzie takes with exploring family dynamics in I'll Never Tell. I found it really interesting to read about a family of 5 siblings, especially when they all have things to hide from each other. She really brought their stories to life in this book as well as the setting at the camp. I think this would make an excellent beach read with the camp setting, plus the mystery and family dynamics make for very beach-appropriate reading.

Song/s the book brought to mind: Let You Down by NF

Final Thought: If you are looking for a fast read, I'll Never Tell is going to be a good one. Even though it has over 350 pages I was able to read it in about 4 hours and 15 minutes. It has taken me much longer to read shorter books so I think that is a testament to how great the flow is in this book. The 7 perspectives made everything go quicker as well, and there was a fun table that I hope makes it into the finished copy. Overall, I really enjoyed this one and as always, I am looking forward to reading many more books from McKenzie!

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an advance review copy of this book via NetGalley, all opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Holly.
1,003 reviews413 followers
February 25, 2019
I flew through this! I’m beginning to realize that I love camp books. This was no exception. I agree with another reviewer that stated this was like an Agatha Christie book if she had wrote about camp. A family owns a camp but when the father dies, who inherits? And what exactly happened to a girl years ago? When the siblings return to camp, secrets come to the surface . Is one of them the killer? I was on the edge of my seat to find out. Fast paced with alternating chapters with each sibling and Amanda, the girl that was killed. Loved this!!

*Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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