I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the DIG TWO GRAVES by Gretchen McNeil Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!
One of Us is Lying meets Hitchcock in this novel from celebrated author of the #MurderTrending series, Gretchen McNeil.
I did my part, BFF. Now it’s your turn.
Seventeen-year-old film noir fan Neve Lanier is a girl who just wants to be seen, but doesn’t really fit in anywhere. When Neve is betrayed by her best friend, Yasmin, at the end of the school year, she heads off to a girl’s empowerment camp feeling like no one will ever love her again. So when she grabs the attention of the beautiful, charismatic Diane, she falls right under her spell, and may accidentally promise to murder Diane’s predatory step-brother, Javier, in exchange for Diane murdering Yasmin. But that was just a joke…right?
Wrong. When Yasmin turns up dead, Diane comes calling, attempting to blackmail Neve into murdering Javier. Stalling for time, Neve pretends to go along with Diane’s plan until she can find a way out that doesn’t involve homicide. But as she gets to know Javier – and falls for him – she realizes that everything Diane told her is a lie. Even worse, she discovers that Yasmin probably wasn’t Diane’s first victim. And unless Neve can stop her, she won’t be the last.
In this twisted game of cat and mouse, the reader never quite knows who’s telling the truth, who’s playing games, and who is going to end up dead.
Title: Dig Two Graves
Author: Gretchen McNeil
Publication Date: April 26, 2022
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Mystery
There were lots of twists and turns in this book which made it pretty interesting. There were particularly lots of surprising bits towards the end. There were many things I never saw coming.
I loved seeing all the twists and small clues that were being collected along the way come together at the end. It made sense and certainly brought a smile to my face at how well-organized things were.r
Each character in this book also felt uniquely different. Neve, our main character, was unlike most murder mystery heroines you read about. She didn’t want to be involved in the murder case and tried so many times to bring it to the police (who didn’t believe her). On top of this, her interests and past experiences shaped her into a person that was completely special and unique from what I had been expecting. She brought a special flair to the murder case and plot that similar books don’t have.
Overall, this murder mystery came through on the promised twists and turns and left me guessing until the end.
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed a gifted and advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Gretchen McNeil is the author of #MurderTrending, #MurderFunding, #NoEscape, I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl, Possess, 3:59, Relic, and Ten which was adapted as the Lifetime original movie Ten: Murder Island in 2017, as well as Get Even and Get Dirty, adapted as the series “Get Even” which is currently streaming worldwide on BBC iPlayer and Netflix. You can find her online at www.GretchenMcNeil.com, on Instagram @Gretchen_McNeil, and on Twitter @GretchenMcNeil.
Neve stopped at the end of the driveway and stared up at the brightly lit Spanish style McMansion with a mix of loathing and trepidation. “I really don’t want to do this.”
Yasmin rolled her eyes, a signature move. “We’ve been over it, like, a bazillion times.”
“I know, but…” Neve let her voice trail off as the front door flew open, flooding the street with the rhythmic booming bass of house music. A group of La Costa Canyon High School students—most of whom Neve recognized, but whose names she couldn’t have come up with if there was a gun to her head—spilled out onto the front lawn, each holding a red plastic Solo cup.
“But what?” Yasmin threw up her hands. “Marisol’s spring break party is supposed to be, like, the event of the school year. We have to show.”
Neve was pretty sure she didn’t have to show up at a party she hadn’t actually been invited to, but she knew voicing that opinion would only lead to another overly dramatic Yasmin Attar eye roll, so instead, she stood with her hands wrapped around her waist, unwilling to move.
“You promised,” Yasmin whined, a hint of a threat in her voice. “You’re my best friend. This is what best friends do.”
“Go to lame parties full of lame people we don’t even know?”
“Go to awesome parties full of people we want to know.” Another eye roll. Neve wondered if the frequency gave Yasmin headaches. “Stop acting like the first half of an antidepressant commercial and let’s go.”
Neve sighed, feeling like a very bad friend. She didn’t understand why Yasmin was suddenly so hellbent on going to this stupid party. They never went to these things—Yasmin always declared that San Diego parties weren’t as cool as the ones she used to go to back in Chicago—which was just as well since she and Neve were never actually invited to any.
Then suddenly, Yasmin’s stance had changed. They’d been at Starbucks “studying”—which was more like people watching while sending snarky texts back and forth—when Marisol and her boyfriend Brian breezed through the entrance accompanied by Marisol’s BFF Luna and some tall, muscular guy with striking hazel eyes. Yasmin had gone silent, her attention fixed on the unknown hottie. The group sat at a nearby table, either ignoring LCC social outcasts Neve and Yasmin or else not even noticing their presence, and discussed the upcoming beach bash. When they left, Yasmin decided that she and Neve were going to crash it, and Neve had decided that they absolutely were not.
They were an odd BFF couple: Neve Lanier, the weird Bay Area transplant with a penchant for black and white film noir and its accompanying fashion, and Yasmin Attar, the suburban Chicago princess who’d done beauty pageants as a kid and who loved to have all eyes on her. But when Yasmin transferred to LCC at the beginning of junior year, she’d had difficulty making friends, and had eventually sought out the mutually friendless Neve who ate her lunch alone in the hallway of the science building.
Neve had been skeptical at first: she’d been at that school for two years already and the only reason anyone at LCC ever talked to her was to make fun of her retro clothes and hairdos, taunting her with the nickname “I Love Lucy,” and challenging her “I don’t give a fuck what you think” attitude by trying to get under her skin. But Yasmin didn’t give up, and Neve appreciated that. After all, she’d been the new girl once, and she knew first-hand how hard it was to make friends at LCC. That initial lunch had been chilly, but Yasmin had showed up again and again in Neve’s lonely hallway, and much to Neve’s surprise, they’d bonded over a mutual dislike of the uber wealthy, painfully snobby San Diego suburb of Carlsbad to which they’d both been forced to move by their families. And they’d never had a single argument until that day at Starbucks when Neve refused to go to the party.
Except Yasmin had begged and pleaded and threatened and cajoled, and eventually Neve had given in, a decision she was currently regretting with every antisocial fiber of her being.
Yasmin watched her closely, her lips pressed together in an ugly sneer as if she was about to unleash one of the nasty one-liners she usually reserved for Marisol, Luna, or their exclusive clique, but then she appeared to change her mind. The sneer vanished, replaced by a tiny pout of her full lips. Yasmin clasped her hands in front of her chest and batted her impossibly long eyelashes. “Please?”
It was a lethal combination, the pout and flutter. Every time Yasmin used it, Neve’s heart thumped heavily in her chest, reminding her of the growing attraction she felt toward her best friend. And every time, Neve caved.
“Twenty minutes,” Neve said. A peace offering, not a capitulation.
“Thirty?” Yasmin begged, tugging on the puff sleeve of Neve’s forties-inspired black and gray house dress. “Then we can go if you still hate it.”
I will. “Fine.”
Yasmin squealed with glee as she dragged Neve up the driveway. The outdoor partiers cast cursory glances in their direction, and Neve was grateful that most of their faces were lost in shadow because she was pretty sure every single one of them would have registered the same thought: Why are they here?
Once inside, Neve understood why the group outside had relocated. The interior of Marisol’s house was packed with barely dressed bodies dancing, leaning against each other, lingering on the stairs, making out in the hall. There were faces she recognized, but also plenty she didn’t, and she wondered if this “social event of the year” was actually famous enough to attract students from all over San Diego county.
She huddled close to Yasmin, who led her through the crowd, snaking around the soccer team and apologetically cutting through a half dozen conversations. Yasmin kept her eyes moving, almost as if she was searching for something, while Neve tried to make a mental note of all the exits in case a fire broke out or something equally as catastrophic occurred. “Death by House Party” was not what she wanted in her obituary.
After a circuitous route that seemed to drag them through every room on the ground floor, Yasmin made a sharp turn then stopped so abruptly that Neve ran into her, knocking her forward.
Recessed lighting illuminated a kitchen so huge that Neve was pretty sure both her bedroom and her sister’s could have fit inside with square footage to spare. The countertops and cabinets were blindingly white, especially after the darkened rooms in the rest of the house, and the far wall was one giant glass accordion door, wide open onto an expansive deck. Neve could hear the waves crashing on the beach below.
She knew Marisol was rich, but she didn’t realize she was this rich.
The kitchen, like everywhere else, was swarming with high school students, most wearing swim trunks or bikinis and little else, and Neve realized how conspicuous she must be in her dark vintage dress, reddish brown hair pinned up in a pompadour. It was kind of hard to blend into the background, especially in these painfully white surroundings, and Neve zeroed in on the microwave’s clock, hoping by some time warping miracle that their thirty minutes was up.
No such luck.
She turned to Yasmin to tell her that she was going to wait outside on the deck—in the dark—but her best friend stood frozen, her stare fixed on something across the room.
No, not something. Someone.
He was tall and handsome like every other cookie cutter suburban douchebag in that house, pouring himself a rum and Coke from the bar with the ease of someone who did that sort of thing all the time. He wore a blue, slim-fit tank top and swim trunks, a strand of puka beads around his neck, and he would have blended into the beachy upper middle-class miasma of the party if it hadn’t been for his eyes. Large and hazel, staring right at Neve.
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