“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 One by one, they return changed—violent, moody, and withdrawn.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.” – Amazon
I finished Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey over a week ago and I kept putting off writing the review. I kept putting it off because I want to be able to give Lourey five stars on everything she writes because I’ve enjoyed her Mira James Mysteries and Salem’s Cipher has been on my TBR forever, plus she fosters cats and kittens. How could you not want to support someone who is obviously a wonderful person?!?
But this book… I just couldn’t. It started off well. Lourey played up the nostalgia of the 80’s and my childhood, so I was enjoying that trip back in time. Then we start getting into how dysfunctional Cassie’s family life is. Okay. While I don’t seek out books about children being abused, unfortunately it happens way too often in life, so if this is to enhance the non-fiction aspects of an actual crime that happened in her hometown, I’ll roll with it.
That’s where the interesting ended for me and it just kept getting more disturbing. And I enjoy reading and watching disturbing, but it just felt like Lourey kept trying to up the last crazy or abusive situation that happened. This felt more like an abuse survivor’s story, and if it would have been marketed that way, I would be writing a different and probably, rave review. Even though Lourey talks in the prologue about writing this book because of an actual crime, I am not writing this review based on thinking it is supposed to be a fictionalized true crime. But if Lourey had written Unspeakable Things with more of a true crime slant I think there was a lot of potential for it to be excellent.
It did give me a horrified feeling, although I enjoy this feeling more when I read horror, in regards to Cassie’s father slowly creeping up the stairs. Two stairs up this time and three the next time. Would the next time be when he finally comes into her room. And you know what would have been happening then, which would not have been something I would have wanted to read. And although this part of the book did stir up emotions, the fact that he was clipping his nails every time just made it weird and would pull me out of the story. I kept thinking, How often does this man clip his nails? I have never paid attention but I think I clip mine about once a month, and the way the story flowed it felt like he was doing it at least once a week, if not more often. I know it seems strange, but it really stuck with me.
And all the craziness was not just contained to her family, it seemed to be the whole town. Sex parties that lots of adults participated in, people producing and selling drugs, and cops not investigating the crime (although this is one thing that truly happened during the actual case). To me, it felt like Lourey crammed in every bad stereotype of person and event that you see in cops shows into one book and figured it would sell.
But it’s gotten some great reviews so Unspeakable Things may be one that I enjoyed, but you might. Although I will not be recommending this one, I will continue to read her past and future books.
Disclosure: Some of the links we use are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.