Saturday, January 11, 2020

Book Review: Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey

Inside the Book:

Title: Unspeakable Things
Author: Jess Lourey
Release Date: January 1, 2020
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 296
Format: Ebook/Paperback/Audio
Source: NetGalley


Inspired by a terrifying true story from the author’s hometown, a heart-pounding novel of suspense about a small Minnesota community where nothing is as quiet—or as safe—as it seems. 

Cassie McDowell’s life in 1980s Minnesota seems perfectly wholesome. She lives on a farm, loves school, and has a crush on the nicest boy in class. Yes, there are her parents’ strange parties and their parade of deviant guests, but she’s grown accustomed to them.

All that changes when someone comes hunting in Lilydale.

One by one, local boys go missing. One by one, they return changed—violent, moody, and withdrawn. What happened to them becomes the stuff of shocking rumors. The accusations of who’s responsible grow just as wild, and dangerous town secrets start to surface. Then Cassie’s own sister undergoes the dark change. If she is to survive, Cassie must find her way in an adult world where every sin is justified, and only the truth is unforgivable.

I was initially drawn to this book by the premise. The first thing that grabbed my attention was the fact that it was based on true events. A sucker for true-crime, I was all in.

Unfortunately, this book was really just ok for me. Cassie and Sephie live a pretty rough life. Poor doesn't even touch what they are, and it's not because their parents are uneducated. Both have Master's degrees but their dad is a self-proclaimed artist, who always seems to be working on something. Their mom works hard to keep a roof over their head and food on the table, but with their dad drinking all the time, they go without a lot of things. 

Their parents are known for the 'parties' they hold, parties that the girls know involve lewd behavior by the adults that attend, all taking place in their barn. So, when boys in town start being assaulted, it's anyone's guess who could be the culprit...but the girls dad is a suspect, at least in their minds.

I wanted to really like this book more than I did. It did keep me reading until the end but I felt the author left a lot of things unanswered. Part of that I think was deliberate, in the way it was written it leaves you to infer what has happened without really going into details. And while that is ok sometimes, I felt there were areas that needed to be fleshed out a little more. 

If you have read this one, I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

Meet the Author:

She's the bestselling Lefty, Agatha, and Anthony-nominated author of nonfiction, YA adventure, magical realism, suspense, and thrillers. Jess is a tenured professor of writing and sociology, a recipient of The Loft's Excellence in Teaching fellowship, a Psychology Today blogger, and a TEDx presenter. Check out her TEDx Talk to discover the surprising inspiration behind MAY DAY, her first published novel.

She lives in Minneapolis with her family and her foster cats (and occasional foster puppies, but man those goobers are a lot of work). You can find out more at

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