Member Reviews

This story was amazing and everything about it was intriguing. I am so excited to read what is next by Gagnon and see what comes next.

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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? This was not the most original story I've ever read but it did keep my interest until the end which sadly was a bit predictable. There is not a like\able character in this entire book. They are all awful people and most folks do not behave this way in real life. Be prepared to hate the characters but enjoy the mystery aspect.

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Five friends plan the perfect trip. Everything is great until one of the five goes missing. Years later Emily thinks she sees her missing friend. She gets the girls together for a reunion weekend at the scene of the crime under the guise of reconnecting.

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 fun to read!

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Jilly Gagnon won me over with her unique but fun Clue-style novel All Dressed Up, so I was really excited to get started on Scenes of the Crime. This also had a unique setup, with past and present viewpoints as well as sections of the screenplay that Emily is writing. The theme of friendship is strong as the story involves 5 female friends, but keep in mind that these are toxic ones, and no one is all that likable. I sometimes thrive on unlikable characters, and I definitely did in this case. I did end up getting a little confused at times about what actually happened versus what Emily was making up, so I highly recommend making sure you pay attention.

I did enjoy the audiobook as well, and I thought the narrator Eileen Stevens did a great job. Her pacing was a bit on the slower side, so I sped it up to around 3x speed and that was just about perfect. The pace of the book is steady but also a bit slow, and I think listening to the audio was helpful in keeping me engaged. The remote winery was the perfect setting for Scenes of the Crime and I thought Gagnon did a fantastic job of bringing the location to life without getting too overzealous with the descriptions. The wine is flowing and the secrets are spilling, and I was there for all of the drama.

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Thanks to Netgalley, the publisher, and author for the copy of this eARC for my honest review. All ratings and any reviews are opinions of my own.

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It's been 15 years since a wine-soaked getaway between 5 friends ended with the disappearance of one of them and Emily Fischer has always had questions about it. She's now working as a scriptwriter in a show she hates, but she has the bones of one based on that weekend that she just knows will be her chance at the big leagues. She's working on it in an LA cafe when a stranger makes her think of her missing (dead?) friend and it gets her to get the remaining friends together at the winery where it happened to try to get the final inspiration to finish the screenplay. What happens next is a series of revelations and events that will lead everyone to question what happened that day long ago and how close their relationships really were.

It's the ultimate unreliable narrator story as you're never sure if what you're getting is what happens or Emily writing the screenplay she's so desperate to create. An original twist that made this story really stand out in a genre that at times feels saturated. I particularly liked how creatively Gagnon goes into how different perspectives can make the same situation seem so different. Not ideal if you're a fan of getting all the nitty-gritty details of what happens, but a very enjoyable read either way.

Very happy thanks to NetGalley and by Bantam Dell for the wonderfully twisty read!

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Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book had such promise and I was vey intrigued by the premise. A group of friends reunite at a winery 15 years after the tragic night that ended Vanessa's life.

The group clearly hasn't moved on and spend the book uncovering secrets they have hidden. The story is told in a script format from Emily's POV. It became choppy at times to read and for that overall reason, it was a decent 3 stars from me.

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I appreciate what the author was trying to do with this story but overall it just did not work for me. I found the format to be a bit confusing.

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1.5 stars!

Unfortunately, this book was just bad. Unfortunately, this felt like someone took a bunch of common thriller tropes and then created this. The "friends" were awful to read about and awful to each other. This was once again a situation where things were just being hidden from the reader and all was revealed to end the novel. Also, the whole novel was written as a script - which was fun and unique but also kinda jarring? Unfortunately a miss for me.

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

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Four friends reunite at the remote winery where their friend disappeared years prior. Vanessa Morales went missing on a spring break girls trip gone wrong and was never heard from again. Emily is desperate to figure out what happened so she plans a trip back to the scene of the crime in an attempt to potentially recreate what happened by putting her screenwriting skills to use.

I don’t want to say too much about this book because I think the most fun part of reading it was the experience. Scenes of the Crime was an ambitious project by Jilly…which I believe I also said about her book All Dressed Up. The problem with the ambition is that it never really comes to fruition, much like All Dressed Up.

My biggest issue with this book is that none of the girls really had any desire to be around each other after the first trip so why would they have agreed to this reunion, even with a guilt trip? They were all such different people, it made sense that they were friends in college, but after a graduation and a tragedy to pull them apart it just felt like a huge plot hole to have them deciding to all get back together.

I will say that I really enjoyed the premise. It’s cliche, but I always enjoy the reuniting after a tragedy and secrets coming to light. I loved the setting. Jilly writes very creative settings and vividly describes them to the point that I can absolutely picture myself there. A remote winery on cliffs in Oregon sounds amazing.

I can’t say that I loved this book or that it would be a top recommendation from me, but I will say that I’m writing this review 8 months after reading it and I can still remember key moments and parts that I did enjoy. As someone with major book amnesia who has also read probably 60 books since this one, that is definitely worth mentioning. I think I’d suggest it on audio, however it would also be a pretty easy stormy night kindle read as well!

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Scenes of the Crime focuses on Emily, a screenwriter waiting for a big break, reconnecting with her friends years after one of the group disappeared and is presumed dead. Written both as a novel and screenplay, I was equal parts intrigued and distracted. While I loved the creative storytelling, I did get a bit lost in the timeline and plot at several points. The writing style definitely took more chapters than usual for me to feel comfortable and engaged with the story. I thought the ending was a little strange and disjointed, but was overall entertained with this book.

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Thanks Netgalley , author & Bantam Dell Publications for the ARC.

Emily a screenwriter is working on the current series she’s writing in a coffee shop when she suddenly sees a woman who’s resembles her good friend Vanessa who disappeared during a girls trips several years ago and presumed dead. The circumstances of her disappearance was off and Emily has bits and pieces of memory on it and felt guilty. So she decides to invite the other girlfriends to a trip together to commemorate their friend Vanessa but secretly hoping the truth and secrets spill out around Vanessa’s death as all of them were with her during this incident and have possible motives.
Argh this was so painful to read and finish . I even thought of DNFing several time and if not for the ARC I would have ! It’s taken me 2 months to finish it !!!!
While the premise sounded interesting, nothing else was enjoyable once I started reading it . The story alternates between the interactions between the women and screenplay that Emily writes (which is I think supposed to the unreliable narrative part ?)
Anyways the all the characters are extremely unlikeable , and their katty interactions barely entertaining.

There is nothing remotely salvageable for me to say as reader sadly.

It’s a 1/5 🌟 read.

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I had such high hopes for this one. It fell flat with me. It had so much potential, but at the end of the day was a DFN for me.

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Such twisty, gossipy fun! This will be a great summer beach read if you haven't gotten around to it yet! Loved the characters and the complexity of the plot!

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2.5 Stars

Toxic college friends turn into petty adult acquaintances when they reunite 15 years later after the disappearance of their friend, Vanessa. Emily, a screenwriter, orchestrates this whole reunion in order to try and figure out what happened to Vanessa all those years ago. She’s hopeful that by putting the pieces together, she’ll be able to produce a script from it. (Sounds a little a selfish? The others are just as bad.)

A weekend trip to the winery ends when Vanessa disappears. During the friends’ reunion it’s clear old wounds and rivalries still exist. Soon mysterious things start happening and the past gets dug back up as the truth about what happened all those years ago unravels.

I wasn’t a fan of the chapters that were told in script form. I get it was to differentiate the past from present (and that it was from Emily’s script), but it makes for choppy reading. I also wasn’t sure of the decision to make part of the present plot started being told in script form. I guess to make for more of an unreliable narrator?

While the plot itself was enough to make me keep reading (I was curious to see what happened), the constant bickering and pettiness really grated on me and the overall selfishness of Emily (her obsession of doing anything for the script) annoyed me. I also felt let down by the ending.

I received an advanced copy through Netgalley in return for an honest review.

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I’m not sure how I feel about this one still. I liked it while I was reading it but I found it very forgettable. I did really like the characters and the story line.

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This one has such a clever premise: a crime and a screen writer writing her script based upon the crime as it unfolds for the reader. the premise is fresh, but sadly this one felt like it had potential to be great but was just OK. A twisty read.

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#ScenesOfTheCrime #NetGalley
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?
Thank you to NetGalley and Ballantine for giving me an advance copy.

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Five Friends take a trip to a remote winery in Oregon. It should have been the perfect chance to relax and wind down after a long semester of studies and exams. But when Vanessa Morales vanishes without a trace the remaining girls’ lives are turned upside down. Now, fifteen years later Paige Fischer is a writer in a long running sitcom. Tired of penning the same old formulaic, clichéd content she feels that if she can only complete that breakthrough script that she can finally break out of obscurity and into success. When she spies a dead ringer for her missing friend Vanessa, her writer’s brain kicks in. What exactly happened to Vanessa? She was the last person to possibly have seen her alive, but only a few cryptic text messages left behind. Could she tell Vanessa’s story (albeit with a little literary license) and bring closure to herself and her friends? With the once close-knit group of friends not even speaking after the events of that day would it even be possible to bring the group together to share their experiences? After pulling some strings with Vanessa’s cousin Brittany, the remaining women agree to meet for a weekend at the winery; if for no other reason than to reminisce and obtain closure. However, as the weekend wears on and increasingly more strange events occur it does not appear that closure is anywhere in sight. Everyone in the group has a different story of that night and everyone has their secrets. When the truth is revealed, it will affect all parties involved irrevocably.

Scenes Of The Crime is the upcoming novel by author Jilly Gagnon. Taking the premise of “escape room” to a new level Gagnon has crafted a tale that will keep the reader guessing. As the surviving friends return to the winery the atmosphere is tense but seems to loosen up once the wine begins to flow. As each person reveals their secrets about Vanessa it becomes clear that if foul play was involved, each of the friends had a reason to want her out of the picture if not dead. With the bulk of the story taking place over a weekend, the action was fairly fast paced and mostly centered around the winery. Gagnon’s description of remote cliff top locale with all it’s secret passages and prohibition era caves was very east to imagine. This was a story that sucked me in and had me binging into the wee hours, and while the was my first time reading this author it will not be my last.

If you like mysteries with grandiose setting and characters that are relatable in their unlikableness, Scenes of The Crime will be the perfect binge read for you.

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The book was a slower burn. Overall the writing was good, but I had problems getting into the actual plot. It took me months to actually read the book as I kept picking it up and putting it back down.

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