Review: Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey

Print Length: 296 pages
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (January 01, 2020)

From 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 One by one, they return changed—violent, moody, and withdrawn.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.


My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

This book was just plain weird.

For one thing, the synopsis leads the reader to believe that the book has paranormal aspects (people disappearing and returning changed, her own sister under-going "the change"), when in fact there is nothing like that going on at all. Yes - boys are being abducted. But they are also being raped (or at the very least sexually molested). That is enough to change anyone. As for the sister? It's implied she just becomes a teenager. Curious about sex - she begins having it. It may be implied that an adult (perhaps her father) touched her, but there is just so much going on in this story that it is hard to say for sure.

Sadly, even with all of this Cassie never seems to enter into the "adult" world. She still believes that by writing weird stories (along the lines of Ripley's Believe it or Not) she is preventing her father from coming up the stairs and doing something to her. It is never explained why he doesn't come upstairs (or what in fact he wants to do although he is pictured as being an weirdo in his own right), but apparently by hiding in her closet and writing she prevents whatever it is from happening.

Even if we don't take those things into consideration, this book still fails to deliver. For one thing, the book begins with a now grown Cassie returning to her home town to attend someone's funeral. Whose funeral we don't know. In fact, we never see this grown up version of Cassie again as she begins to re-tell the stories of the summer when everything happened. Also, I feel like we didn't get a firm ending to this book either. Yes, the person behind the events was identified, but there were so many other loose ends that were just left... to be honest I left this one feeling wholly unsatisfied.

And I mean come on - Cassie has been fantasizing about a boy and his necklace throughout the entire book. The boy ends up dead, the incompetent police (both local and state) can't figure it out (or can't get enough "evidence" to search a house), Cassie finds the necklace and attempts to return it to the boys grieving mother (who tells her to keep it). And Cassie has the AUDACITY claim "In the end, I took the necklace, and if me ending up with that doesn’t tell you that there is a grand plan for this life, then you’re hopeless."

I doubt I'll be reading anything else from this author for awhile.

                                                                   Unspeakable Things is available from
                                                                        (for free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited)

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