The brand-new thriller coming July 16, 2024

Becoming the star is easier when the rest of your band is dead…

All drummer Vienna Taylor ever wanted was to make music. If that came with fame, she’d take it—as long as her best friend, guitarist Madison Pierce, was sharing the spotlight and singing lead. And with their new all-female pop rock band gaining traction, soon everyone would hear their songs…

Except, on the way to an event, the Bittersweet’s van careened off an icy mountain road during a blizzard—leaving one member dead and another severely injured.

In order to survive the frigid night, the rest took shelter in a nearby abandoned cabin. But Vienna’s dreams devolved into a terrifying nightmare as, one by one, her fellow band members met a gruesome end…and Madison simply vanished in the night.

What really happened to the Bittersweet? Did Vienna’s closest friend finally decide to take center stage on her own terms?

She doesn’t want to believe it.

But guilty people run.


  • US & Canada: July 16, 2024 by MIRA (all formats)

Scroll down for teaser videos, an excerpt, and praise.

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42 days after the accident

Music Lovers,

I’ve guzzled three vats of coffee in record time. Could be why my mind’s racing faster than a cheetah on steroids but it’s more likely from the shock of what went down with the Bittersweet today. After failing to process the news, I came here to write a blog post. It was either this or a bottle of gin. To be honest, I’m not sure either will help make sense of it all.

If you’ve seen my recent posts, listened to my radio show What’s On NYC, or visited my social media, you’ll know I adore the Bittersweet, and you’ll have read about my devastation after what happened to the band last month. Their accident was such an incredible, tragic loss.

Since they rocked their way into my world last year, I’ve played “Sweet Spot” a million times on air, in my car, and while jogging through my neighborhood. Spotify’s profitability probably doubled because of me.

I’ve said this before and it merits repeating, it was time another all-female pop-rock group hit the scene. The Bittersweet, aka Vienna Taylor, Madison Pierce, Isabel Riotto, and sisters Gabi and Evelina Sevillano, were the perfect blend of powerful women who sang, played instruments, and wrote their own tracks. In short: they were kick-ass.

They once told me their sound was influenced by Blondie, The Bangles, Lenny Kravitz, Elastica, Lush, Oasis, P!nk, Prince, The Go-Go’s, and the more recent band The Beaches, but trust me when I say they were on their way to becoming legends in their own right.

I caught one of the Bittersweet’s shows last fall. Yeah, I’ve raved about it multiple times, so I won’t wax lyrical if you’ll pardon the pun, but it was easily in the Top-10 best concerts I’ve seen. The quality of their live performance, and their showwomanship were off the charts. More like a band that had played together for a decade, not a little over a year.

They came into the audience afterward and walked through the crowd, taking selfies, and signing every single autograph request until there were no more. Down-to-earth and friendly, totally approachable.

After watching them interact with each other, and having interviewed them on my show, the best way to describe their relationship is united. They gelled, you know? You could tell this band would go the distance. I’d have bet anything they’d be around for decades.

Thousands of us were heartbroken when the news broke about their car crash. Few details emerged at first, although we soon learned that after the single-vehicle accident on an isolated stretch of road in the Catskills, they’d been stranded overnight at an abandoned cabin during a major snowstorm.

Next came a report of fatalities. The fans (myself included) were freaking out, speculating about who had perished. Finally, the cops released pictures of Vienna, and confirmed another person who’d been traveling with the Bittersweet had also survived. With the heaviest of hearts, we concluded Isabel, Gabi, Evelina, and Madison had died…until the cops confirmed Madison was—and to this day still is—missing.

The police remained tight-lipped about the details, so naturally the whispers started. Words like crime scene, perpetrator, and investigations, as in plural, got thrown around. I figured it was nonsense. Clickbait for the gullible. No crime had been committed. I felt certain the accident would be ruled exactly that, an accident, after which we’d mourn the demise of one of the most exciting up-and-coming all-female bands in recent history.

Seems I was wrong. In case you missed it this morning, Vienna was approached by the police at a public memorial service for Gabi and Evelina in Queens. Taken in for questioning about their deaths.

You read it right and, in this instance, I’m not the only one who thinks deaths is synonymous with murders.

I was at the church along with hundreds of other gatherers, and we all had dazed and confused expressions on our faces. Couldn’t believe it. Thought it was some kind of mistake, yet, sure enough, Vienna got into the cruiser, and they drove off.

But wait, there’s more! Apparently, Vienna might be a suspect in Madison’s disappearance (I can’t believe I wrote those words, I mean, wtf?).

Now, it might all be nothing but rumors and speculation, but for the cops to show up outside the church in front of all of us and the press, and whisk a startled-looking Vienna away? We all know the saying about no smoke without fire. There’s got to be substance there for them to risk doing this. But what?

In any case, whoever hadn’t heard of the Bittersweet before certainly has now. This morning’s sound bite of Vienna insisting she’s innocent has been viewed thousands of times already.

Holy crap, I hope she’s telling the truth because not only do I love the Bittersweet, but candidly I’ve been #TeamVienna from the start. She’s cool, has this I-don’t-give-a-shit-what-you-think-about-me vibe and her drumming skills are off-the-charts. It’s like she’s Meg White, Karen Carpenter, Sheila E., and Cindy Blackman rolled into one (read my prior Best Drummers of All Time post if you don’t know who I’m talking about), plus she writes the Bittersweet’s songs.

It might sound absurd, but someone so brilliantly talented can’t be guilty of murder, can they? Multiple murders. Could Vienna have hurt her girls? Where the hell is Madison? It’s been weeks since the accident and there’s no sign of her. Is she hiding? If so, why, when she could exonerate Vienna by showing up? Unless Madison fled because she’s the guilty one. Or they’re in this together. After all, they’ve been best friends since high school.

As I said, my mind’s spinning.

Tell me your theory about what went on in the Catskills. Could Vienna be a killer? What about Madison? Got another theory? Leave a comment, and if you hear anything, message me. We need to get to the bottom of the Bittersweet tragedy.

Stay tuned,

Melodie @musicalmelodiej

Comments (1,246—showing most recent)

@harry_dude92 Tragedy? Whatever. The Bittersweet sucked.

@georgiaonmym_ Four of them are dead, asshat. Shut up.

@harry_dude92 Being dead doesn’t make them any better. Well, kind of, since they can’t make more music.

@georgiaonmym_ You’re so gdmn rude

@musicalmelodiej @harry_dude92 Stay respectful

@harry_dude92 STFU your blog and show suck

@musicalmelodiej @harry_dude92 has been blocked. I don’t accept aggression.

      @georgiaonmym_ Good! Btw I don’t think Vienna’s capable of murder

@bellybean56 I bet V killed them all #TeamMadison

@clefgalforever @bellybean56 How d’ya figure?

@bellybean56 It’s her eyes

@clefgalforever @bellybean56 huh?

@bellybean56 Cold. Brr.

@susie_jessica_hugs #TeamVienna? No chance! She’s 100% guilty.

@bellybean56 Agree. Whatever kicked off the Bittersweet shitstorm, I’ll bet it brewed for years. Way before the cabin, which was creepy af btw. What was that? The Shining Part II?

@cg_sunshine21 I want the entire story, right from the beginning when Madison & Vienna met. Warts’n’all. Everything.

@susie_jessica_hugs Hell yeah. Someone get on it already.


“For readers eagerly awaiting the return of Yellowjackets, this novel from McKinnon blends the musical highs of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones and the Six with the darkness of The Girls by Emma Cline in a twisty thriller that is hard to resist.” — Library Journal


Gutsy, original and hugely compelling, Only One Survives draws you in right from the very first page.” — B.A. Paris, internationally bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors


“Only One Survives is an absolute gem of a novel. Perfectly paced and so cleverly executed—prepare to be taken on a wild ride! McKinnon drip-feeds us clues, keeps us guessing, and shows herself to be a maestro of misdirection. This tale of ambition and female friendship (oh, and great music!) should be at the very top of your reading pile!”

— Caz Frear, internationally bestselling author of Five Bad Deeds


“Fans of Daisy Jones & the Six are in for a treat with this jaw-dropping and completely cinematic thriller! Hannah Mary McKinnon shows her rock’n’roll chops, bringing her trademark twists and brilliant structure to this riveting page-turning tale of fame, ambition, and friendship. How far would you go to get what you always wanted? Like a relentlessly sinister version of psychological musical chairs, when this thriller’s propulsive soundtrack stops—Only One Survives. Standing ovation!”

— Hank Phillippi Ryan, USA Today bestselling author of One Wrong Word


“Hannah Mary McKinnon’s Only One Survives about band members living their dream is a devilishly entertaining read that stabs at the heart of friendship, jealousy, and the relentless pursuit of fame. The thrills never waver in this gripping tale that sings with pulse-pounding suspense and spine-tingling twists and turns.”

— Heather Gudenkauf, NYT bestselling author of Everyone Is Watching


“It’s rock’n’roll with a dash or two of murder in this juicy thriller that delves into the ugly side of fame. Only One Survives is devilishly fun, utterly addictive, and shockingly twisty—further cementing McKinnon as a force to be reckoned with!”

— Jeneva Rose, New York Times bestselling author of Home Is Where The Bodies Are


“Perfect for Daisy Jones fans who want an element of mystery and twisted suspense with their music, Hannah Mary McKinnon’s latest, Only One Survives, is a tour de force. Parts coming of age, subversive culture, and all kinds of thrilling, you’ll be hooked to the very end.”

— J.T. Ellison NYT Bestselling author of It’s One of Us


Daisy Jones meets How to Get Away with Murder in this latest spine tingler from Hannah Mary McKinnon, in which a tragic car crash ends in death for a band on the verge of stardom. But all is not as it seems, and McKinnon is a master at flipping the script with twists that will keep readers on their toes. A devilishly fun and rocking wild ride into female friendships, secret jealousies, and the relentless hunger for fame.”

— Kimberly Belle, internationally bestselling author of The Paris Widow


“A raw, honest exploration of female friendships, envy, and the price of fame. Both thrilling and moving, Only One Survives will keep you on the edge of your seat. McKinnon is an auto-read for me.”

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“I am obsessed with Only One Survives! Hannah Mary McKinnon always comes up with a unique story and this one is an absorbing, thrilling page-turner. Every twist left my jaw on the ground.”

— Samantha Downing, internationally bestselling author of A Twisted Love Story


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