cover image Unspeakable Things

Unspeakable Things

Jess Lourey. Thomas & Mercer, $15.95 trade paper (300p) ISBN 978-1-5420-0878-5

Set in Lilydale, Minn., in the 1980s, this heart-pounding crime novel from Lourey (Mercy’s Chase) is narrated by Cassie McDowell, who appears to be a normal 12-year-old with a crush on 13-year-old Gabriel Wellstone. Her family has a secret, though, which she knows but is only revealed in stages. Cassie’s father warns her that if that secret is discovered, the state will take her and Sephie, her older sister, from their home. Meanwhile, boys from Lilydale begin disappearing and returning with altered personalities; they become moody, angry, and unruly. When Gabriel is abducted and fails to return, Cassie takes it on herself to find Gabriel and uncover the boys’ abductor. The townspeople regard the school band teacher, Mr. Connelly, as the perpetrator because he’s believed to be gay. In Cassie’s mind, neighbor Gary Godlin and Sergeant Bauer of the local police are also prime suspects. Working the case, Cassie stumbles into grave danger and is likely the next victim. Lourey does a good job evoking a bygone place and time. The suspense never wavers in this page-turner. Agent: Jill Marsal, Marsal Lyon Literary. (Jan.)