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September 1, 2023

Scenes of the Crime by Jilly Gagnon ~ a Review

by MK French

Five friends go to a remote Oregon winery for spring break, which seemed perfect until Vanessa disappeared. Years later, Emily spots Vanessa’s doppelganger at a local cafĂ©. This inspires her to figure out what happened that fateful day, so she invites everyone back to the scene of the crime. Each woman has a story, but how will Emily learn the truth?

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of mystery novel Scenes of the Crime by Jilly Gagnon
September 2023; Bantam; 978-0593598023
audio, ebook, print (400 pages); mystery

We open with Emily, who works in Hollywood and off and on for years has toyed with a screenplay based on Vanessa's disappearance. All of the women get together when she suggests it to queen bee Brittany, who cares more about appearances and her pampered life. Brittany is still close to Paige, who follows her cues. Lydia had some contact with Emily, but otherwise, the four women have gone their separate ways. When they do get together, it's a biting and awful scene that's awkward and uncomfortable to read. They don't like each other, and Vanessa had been the glue in their college friendships. All have secrets, and none of them want those secrets to be exposed.

I enjoyed seeing portions of the screenplay that Emily was putting together, and the occasional commentary or notes in a different script. It highlights the new information we get as the weekend progresses, the secrets revealed and the oddities in the vineyard because of the cavern system beneath it. These aren't really pleasant people, but Emily is by far the least terrible of them all. She's at least the one I can see myself spending any time with, and the others not at all. The end was a surprise, and it was a gripping tale until the end.

Buy Scenes of the Crime at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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