Unspeakable Things

Unspeakable Things

Unspeakable Things 

Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey is my latest read, and I must admit that I wasn’t disappointed! This was a novel that kept my attention, and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to read it. 

This post contains affiliate links

About Unspeakable Things 

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 One by one, they return changed—violent, moody, and withdrawn.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

Thoughts on Unspeakable Things 

This book is based on a true story, the murder of Jacob Wetterling, as I understand it. The author didn’t reference Jacob Wetterling anywhere, but many others have said that was the case that inspired it. 

If you’ve read any of my previous reviews, like Black Water, you know I’m a fan of fiction that is inspired by true events. True crime is always interesting to me, and when it inspires fiction, I’m usually interested in reading it. 

Unspeakable Things is 296 pages long, and I read it in two days. I honestly thought I would read just a couple chapters a day, but I couldn’t put it down. It surprised me how far into it I was when I stopped to take a break. Unspeakable Things pulled me into it, and I just kept reading! 

Unspeakable Things follows Cassie and the lives of her family and friends in a small Minnesota town where young boys are being kidnapped and sexually assaulted, and some even lead to murder. 


This was happening in a time where going out and playing all day without parents worrying was completely normal. Small towns were especially considered safe. Things like this started shaking that sense of safety. Kids were just being taught to stay away from strangers. This is the true beginning of the term stranger danger, and don’t take candy from strangers. 

I grew up in this era, and I always heard stories from family about how things were different and that sense of safety was always there. This story was very relatable in that sense. I think anything born in the 80’s can understand this happening and relate. 

Unspeakable Things Ending

My only real complaint is that the ending was very anti-climatic. Maybe I’m picky and demanding,  but I felt the need for something bigger and more dramatic than how Unspeakable Things ended. 

It really felt like you were just taking a stroll, minding your own business, and fell off a cliff. Boom, done. Nobody ever hears from you again, and that’s it. Just over and done without any fuss or anything big. 

For as well as the book kept me on the edge of my seat for the entirety of it, I really expected something bigger for the end. That was the only disappointment for me. 

Final Thoughts 

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourney. It is one that held my attention well enough to read in just two days, and was definitely worth my time! 

I am very glad that I decided to make this my latest read. 

About the Author 

Jessica (Jess) Lourey teaches, travels, and writes about secrets. 

Jess is the Amazon Charts bestselling Edgar, Agatha, Lefty, and Anthony-nominated author of nonfiction, YA adventure, magical realism, and crime fiction. She’s a tenured professor of writing and sociology, a recipient of The Loft’s Excellence in Teaching fellowship, a Psychology Today blogger, a TEDx presenter (check out her TEDx Talk to discover the surprising inspiration behind MAY DAY, her first published novel), and a leader of writing retreats for women and online creative writing classes for all. 

She lives in Minneapolis with her foster cats (and occasional foster puppies, but man are those goobers a lot of work).


Have you read Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey? Let me know what you thought of it in the comments! 

Purchasing Unspeakable Things 

If you are interested in buying the paperback version of Unspeakable Things, click here.

Click here for the Kindle version.

Click here for my favorite Kindle I currently own.

Amazon Notice

The Reading Wife is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, at no added cost to you.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!