Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey
Narrator: Caitlin Kelly
Published by Brilliance Audio on January 1, 2020
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Historical Fiction
Length: 8 hours, 34 minutes
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 One by one, they return changed—violent, moody, and withdrawn.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 have been on a kick with mystery/ thrillers lately. Unspeakable Things is set in Minnesota in the 1980s. I lived in Minnesota for many years and I know the rural country where the story is set. I lived nearby during the same time period actually, but some things felt much older, more like the 1960s.
I enjoyed the historical aspects, even the rural aspects since I grew up in a rural community and rode the bus to school. I loved hearing about the kinds of food they ate, the shows on tv, songs on the radio, and movies in the theater. It was very nostalgic for me.
The person telling us the story is a 12 year old girl, the younger of two sisters, Cassie. She is a smart girl, doing well in school but she lives in a precarious situation. The whole family has to walk on eggshells around the father’s moods. The mother is a teacher and provides most of the income. The father is an artist. They also live on a farm and have a garden and chickens to help with food. The parents pride themselves on both having masters’ degrees and the house is full of books.
Cassie, for all her book smarts and efforts to stay under the radar with her father, is a little daring. She does a few things which scare me as they put her at a great risk. I was on edge the entire book waiting for all the bad things to happen. And they do happen. At the end, I wasn’t exactly certain of everything which did happen. Luckily, I was checking on Goodreads and found out there is an epilogue on the author’s website. If you need more definitive closure, you will want to read the epilogue.
Nearly all of the story is a young girl’s voice and this narration felt appropriate. I don’t think I have heard this narrator before but she was clear and easy to hear. I did listen a bit more slowly than usual at 1.25x speed.
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