Scenes of the Crime by Jilly Gagnon

Published: September 5, 2023
Genre: Women’s Crime Fiction
Pages: 384
KKECReads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I received a copy of this book for free, and I leave my review voluntarily.

Jilly Gagnon lives in Salem, Massachusetts, but is originally from Minnesota, a fact she’ll likely inform you of within minutes of meeting you. In the past, Jilly has written humor, news, essays, and op-ed pieces for Newsweek, Elle, Vanity Fair, The Huffington Post, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Onion, and The Toast, among others. Jilly loves terrible TV and excellent Manhattans. She often carries on far-too-involved conversations with her cats.

It should have been the perfect spring break: Five girlfriends. A remote winery on the Oregon coast. An infinite supply of delicious wine at their manicured fingertips. But then their center—beautiful, magnetic Vanessa Morales—vanished without a trace.

Emily Fischer was perhaps the last person to see her alive. But now, years later, Emily spots Vanessa’s doppelganger at a local café. At the end of her rope working a lucrative yet mind-numbing gig on a network sitcom, Emily is inspired to finally tell the story that’s been percolating inside her for so long: Vanessa’s story. But first, she needs to know what really happened on that fateful night. So she puts a brilliant scheme into motion.

She gets the girls together for a reunion weekend at the scene of the crime under the guise of reconnecting. There’s Brittany, Vanessa’s cousin and the inheritor of the winery; Paige, a former athlete, bullish yet easily manipulated; and Lydia, the wallflower of the group.

One of them knows the truth. But what have they each been hiding? And how much can Emily trust anything she learns from them . . . or even her own memories of Vanessa’s last days?

Suspenseful, propulsive, and interspersed with scenes from Emily’s blockbuster screenplay, Scenes of the Crime is an unforgettable mystery that examines culpability, the shiny rearview mirror of Hollywood storytelling, and the pitfalls of female friendship.

“This time I was going to find out how the story ended.”

Holy toxic friendships. The build-up for this book is so twisted, devious, and calculated that I could not put this book down.

The way this story is told is clever; it’s a mix between past and present, with a twist of creative storytelling. I was shocked at the twists throughout this book. This was such a house of cards!

The characters were not likable, but that was the point. It drives the point that it’s difficult to truly know what someone is capable of. Secrets can divide, and secrets can bind.

This was an engaging story with an interesting plot. It’s a quick read and will suck you into a dangerous world of secrets, lies, and greed.

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