Tell No One by Harlan Coben (Book Summary)

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The story starts with David and Elizabeth Beck driving to Lake Charmaine to celebrate their anniversary. Lake Charmaine is owned and named by David’s grandfather.

All the time they were together at that lake, David had been wanting to tell Elizabeth something but couldn’t seem to do it. He never had the chance to say to her because he heard Elizabeth scream as she was dragged away when he woke up. A few moments later, he was whacked in the head by a baseball bat.

Eight years later

David Beck continued working as a pediatrician. His work has become his escape. He lives with his grandfather, and even after eight years, he hasn’t been in a relationship again.

So far, he had been living a peaceful and sad life, but the problem started when the Sheriff talked to him, asking for a blood sample because they just found two bodies near Lake Charmaine, and it could be linked to what happened David & Elizabeth eight years ago. David cooperated, but he, later on, became a suspect because when the bodies were found – a key that led to a safe box was also found. The safe box contains photographs of Elizabeth with bruises.

Another thing arises – David received an anonymous email. The first one was a link, telling him to open it at kiss time. Only he and Elizabeth know about Kiss Time. When he clicked the link at 6:15 pm, he was shown a video with Elizabeth in it. She aged, and she mouthed the words ‘i’m sorry. The second email he received tells him to log in to another website 2 hours after Kiss Time. He was provided with a username and password. It took him hours to log in because he couldn’t immediately figure out that the username and password provided were just codes. He figured this out after midnight while walking his dog. He logged into a Kinko’s, and he tied his dog at a parking meter outside. When he logged in, the second email told him to meet Elizabeth at the park the next day at 5:00.

The next day, David carried on working in the clinic. A day before, he took some action in looking into Elizabeth’s death. He requested his autopsy report. He made an appointment to see PF – a lawyer that was on Elizabeth’s planner. He also went to see Rebecca, Elizabeth’s best friend, to ask about the photos that show his bruised wife. Eight years ago, when David asked Elizabeth about it, she said she got into a car accident with Rebecca. But at present, Rebecca just admitted that they never got into an accident. It was just Elizabeth’s alibi. Rebecca doesn’t know the truth.

David’s lawyer called him in the middle of the day, telling him that he was about to be arrested. He has 1 hour to surrender. He will be suspended for killing Rebecca. She was dead in her studio, and according to her assistant, David was the last man she saw. The gun and gloves were also found in his home. Since David was scheduled to meet the person behind the email he assumes is his dead wife, he knows that he could not go to jail. So he ran away from the police and asked for help from a patient’s father, a drug dealer. He is now wanted, and the public has been warned about him, but it doesn’t matter as he does not want to lose the chance to see Elizabeth again.

David waited in the park, and in her hotel room, Elizabeth peeked and saw him. She knew that he had been followed, and she could not risk showing up. He was surrounded. It was hard for her, but she decided that it was time to leave. She bought tickets for her and David, but it looks like she could not take him with her.

David waited for hours, and when she decided that Elizabeth was no longer showing up, he started walking away – but then strong arms gripped him and pushed him inside a van. It was Larry and Eric, Garry Scope’s people. Eric was beating up David, but Tyrese was able to rescue him. David hid in Tyrese’s apartment.

With the help of Tyrese, David went into PF’s office. The lawyer told him what Elizabeth saw him for: When Garry Scope’s son, Brandon Scope, died – a man named Helio was imprisoned. Elizabeth gave him an alibi. He told him that on the night of the murder, Elizabeth was with him. She was sleeping with him. Helio was freed. After talking to PF,  David looked for Helio and asked him about what happened. Helio later admitted that he doesn’t know why Elizabeth said what she said, but he just went along with it to be free.

Elizabeth was ready to leave, but she saw that her husband was in trouble with the law. She decided not to go just yet until she made sure he was safe.

While David was on the run with Tyrese – there were a few revelations between agent Carlson, David’s sister Linda, and Linda’s lover, Shauna. Carlson thinks that David is innocent. He collected the autopsy report that David requested, and he found it odd that: the results show that the body has been a drug user, that the wounds are after death (it is different from the style of the serial killer Kilroy. Kilroy is already in jail and admitted to killing 14 women. Although he didn’t realize it, Elizabeth’s death was pinned on him, closing her case). What was more intriguing is that the autopsy contains no pictures. The records say Elizabeth’s father, Hoyt, is the only one with permission to release it. When Shauna checked the autopsy report, she immediately knew that something wasn’t right – the height and weight did not match at all!

Linda also made a confession – she was the one who took the photos of Elizabeth’s bruises. Elizabeth made sure to keep it a secret that it was Brandon Scope who beat her up.

David, later on, called his lawyer, and they managed to clean his name. They gather statements of 4 random witnesses that saw him in the Kinkos. There was also a photo of his dog being tied at the parking meter – and it was during the time Rebecca was murdered.


Elizabeth is still alive. On the night of her abduction, his father came and saved her. He convinced her to run away because Garry Scopes would just keep coming after her.  Elizabeth was sent out to third-world countries to hide. There have been no communications because David’s house and also Hoyt’s house have been bugged. Elizabeth came back when she saw that two bodies were found – she thought it was the right time to see David. Those two bodies were the guys who abducted her. They were killed by Hoyt.

Garry Scopes is after Elizabeth because he thought she killed his son, Brandon. When Elizabeth gave Helio an alibi, Garry’s guys found out that Elizabeth had been digging about Brandon’s illegal trades – and assumed that she had killed him. That night in Lake Charmaine, Hoyt received a tip as he knows the men that worked for Garry because he also used to work for Garry. Together with his brother, Hoyt helped Elizabeth escape and faked her death. He killed Garry’s two guys. He also left David to die. David was left in the lake, unconscious from the strong hit in the head.

David survived because Jeremiah, a guy who has been hiding from the law for about 30 years, saved him. He dragged him out of the lake and called the ambulance. David just knew about this when he came back to Lake Charmaine and saw Jeremiah for the first time. David came back to lake Charmaine to meet Elizabeth. She told him to meet her there through Shauna. And at last, they met.

Tyrese called him and told him that Garry Scope was a hostage for his son when he thought everything was well. David needed to do something – so he went to Hoyt. They had a heated conversation as Hoyt confessed to everything, and it ended up with Hoyt holding a gun towards David. Hoyt asked him to get inside the car – he just called Garry Scope, telling him that he’s going to surrender David to them for as long as he releases Tyrese’s son. Tyrese’s son was released.

When Hoyt and David were faces to face with Garry, Hoyt handed Garry the envelope that holds the research of Elizabeth and David’s father. (David’s father, Stephen, was killed because he found out that the Scopes did terrible things. Stephen and Hoyt were friends. Stephen told Hoyt what he found out, but Hoyt betrayed him and told the Scopes – and it led to Stephen’s death.)

When asked who killed Brandon Scope, Hoyt responded by saying David’s name. However, Hoyt ended up being beaten up. A recording played – it was a conversation David and Hoyt had in the car.

David: “Elizabeth didn’t kill Brandon Scope.”

Hoyt: “I know. Because I did.”

That time, Hoyt was lying on the floor, and the police helicopters were already hovering over. Hoyt grabbed his gun and shot Garry Scope twice. Then Hoyt shot himself.

David, later on, figured it out: Hoyt knew the car was bugged. It has always been annoyed by Garry Scope. All along, sacrificing himself was his plan. That was why he interrupted David in the car when he said that Elizabeth didn’t kill Brandon Scope. David was about to tell Hoyt that Elizabeth didn’t do it because it was him who killed Brandon. (This is what David had wanted to tell Elizabeth eight years ago). It was David who was at home when Brandon arrived. To defend himself, he shot him using his father’s gun. Because he panicked, he ran away. When he came back, the body and the gun were gone. It was cleaned up. It turns out Hoyt cleaned it up because Elizabeth called him while crying.

The End of Tell No One by Harlan Coben.

List of Characters:

            • David Beck – Husband
            • Elizabeth Beck – Wife
            • Hoyt – Elizabeth’s father
            • Rebecca – Elizabeth’s best friend
            • Garry Scope – the enemy
            • Larry & Eric – Garry Scope’s hired men
            • Brandon Scope – Garry Scope’s son
            • Tyrese – a patient/friend of David
            • Linda – David’s sister
            • Shauna – Linda’s lover
            • Jeremiah – a guy, hiding in Lake Charmaine



Published by

Forever Winter

Just reading and writing my way out of this messy adult life! I have transitioned from having piles of notebooks stacked underneath my bed from writing on the internet and allowing people worldwide to read.

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