“Unspeakable Things” by Jess Lourey BOOK REVIEW

Unspeakable Things

Publication Date: 1st January 2020

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

ISBN: 9781542008785

Genre: Mystery & Thriller

Strong Point: The main character is likeable.

Weak Point: The author creates a lot of tension and mystery but unfortunately the end is quite disappointing.

Books on Tour Rating: Books on Tour LogoBooks on Tour Logo(3/5)

Goodreads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3.83/5)

Read book blurb here

“Basements were where men kept their secrets”.


I hadn’t heard about this book before reading it. And then I saw it prompted in the challenge #50states50horrorbooks for the state of Minnesota. It sounded very interesting and I added it to the challenge.

However, although the story sounded promising, the ending was completely open and disappointing. And it is a pity, because I don’t think the author is bad. 

Let me explain myself…


“Unspeakable Things” starts with a Prologue where we read the thoughts of a woman who, it seems, had an awful experience when she was a child. This traumatic event reappears when she has to come back to her home town for the funeral of a man.

Immediately, we go back to the past, concretely to 1983, where we encounter our protagonist, Cassie McDowell in the city of Lilydale (Minnesota). 

Cassie lives there with her big sister, Persephone (Sephie), her mother (a full-time teacher), and her father Donny (an alcoholic and ex-soldier who works now as a sculptor).

From the beginning we know that something “unspeakable” is happening with the father. His relationship with the two sisters is just not normal. It is quite unsettling, to say the least. One can  sense how Cassie is very scared of her father. 

Apart from this situation, in the village there are disturbing news of children disappearing and coming back home somehow “changed”. And for me, this was the first big mistake. This is the story which was supposed to be the main one. It turned out it wasn’t.

So the police is trying to find the culprit and Sergeant Bauer imposes a curfew and investigates the “usual suspects”, like Cassie’s neighbour Goblin.

They also suspect one of her teachers, Mr. Connelly because, of course, he is gay and still lives with his parents. Like what?


I like red herrings, don’t get me wrong…but in this book there are so many that literally every single person could be the culprit.

Furthermore, the author plays with the reader the whole time. Too much. She hints at leads without being completely clear. For this reason the end is very disappointing. All what the author made us believe it was happening in the end it did not happen at all…

And I get it. The author is playing with the title, “Unspeakable Things”. But just not explaining the reader exactly what is happening in the different stories after reading almost 300 pages is just not fair. 

In addition, the story of the children disappearing is told quite superficially, in my opinion. It feels like the kidnappings are the excuse to tell Cassie’s story. For this reason, the resolution of the abductions’ plot feels hurried and too convient (and not a surprise at all).

It is just confusing. You read the blurb and think you are going to read about a certain story and in the end, the author presents you another plot and she almost forgets about the one in the blurb. 

Besides, as I said before, the end is so open and there were so many things unsaid, that it spoiled the whole book.

What I don’t understand at all is that the author has added an epilogue to the book in her website where she gives “Unspeakable Things” a kind of “ending”. I have just found out while writing this review, by the way…

Why has she done so? I don’t know, but I find it quite annoying. Why not include the epilogue in the book itself? Why making the reader go to her website to try to find a type of closure which, by the way, is not reached at all?

So, to sum up, “Unspeakable Things” has been quite frustrating. I don’t recommend it and I am sorry about it because the story was very promising.