Inspired by a terrifying true story from the author's hometown, a heart-pounding novel of suspense about a small Minnesota town 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 One by one, they return changed—violent, moody, and withdrawn.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.
The Unspeakable Things epilogue is available here. Read this Amazon Charts bestseller today!
Perfect town. Perfect homes. Perfect families. It’s enough to drive some women mad…
⭐ Winner of the International Thriller Writers 2022 Best Paperback Original Thriller Award! ⭐
In a tale inspired by real events, pregnant journalist Joan Harken is cautiously excited to follow her fiancé back to his Minnesota hometown. After spending a childhood on the move and chasing the screams and swirls of news-rich city life, she’s eager to settle down. Lilydale’s motto, “Come Home Forever,” couldn’t be more inviting.
And yet, something is off in the picture-perfect village.
The friendliness borders on intrusive. Joan can’t shake the feeling that every move she makes is being tracked. An archaic organization still seems to hold the town in thrall. So does the sinister secret of a little boy who vanished decades ago. And unless Joan is imagining things, a frighteningly familiar figure from her past is on watch in the shadows.
Her fiancé tells her she’s being paranoid. He might be right. Then again, she might have moved to the deadliest small town on earth.
⭐ Shortlisted for a 2021 GoodReads Choice Award ⭐
“Set in an idyllic small town rooted in family history and horrific secrets, Bloodline is Pleasantville meets Rosemary’s Baby. A deeply unsettling, darkly unnerving, and utterly compelling novel, this book chilled me to the core, and I loved every bit of it.” —Jennifer Hillier, author of Little Secrets and the award-winning Jar of Hearts
Releases October 19, 2021
The Amazon Charts bestselling author of Unspeakable Things and Bloodline explores the darkness at the heart of the rural Midwest in a novel inspired by a chilling true crime.**
In the summer of ’84, fourteen-year-old Frankie Jubilee is shuttled off to Litani, Minnesota, to live with her estranged mother, a county prosecutor she barely knows. From the start, Frankie senses something uneasy going on in the small town. The locals whisper about The Game, and her mother warns her to stay out of the woods and away from adults.
When a bullying gang of girls invites Frankie to The Game, she accepts, determined to find out what’s really going on in Litani. She’s not the only one becoming paranoid. Hysteria burns through the community. Dark secrets emerge. And Frankie fears that, even in the bright light of day, she might be living among monsters.
“Move over, Stephen King. Jess Lourey is a master at evoking the horror that lurks beneath the surface of a sleepy all-American small town. Vivid, consuming, and terrifying, Litani will haunt your dreams.” —Michele Campbell, internationally bestselling author of It’s Always the Husband
"Lourey serves up another terrifying reality-based thriller....a tale of horror, grit, and, ultimately, hope." —Kirkus Reviews
"With Litani, Lourey cements her position as the queen of melding small-town suspense and coming-of-age stories that creep into your bones and refuse to leave. An absolute must-read." —Brianna Labuskes, Washington Post bestselling author of Girls of Glass
"Imagine Mystic River meets Stranger Things; a perfect October read if you’re a fan of dark, true-crime-esque stories, and a fresh take on a bone-chilling mystery that you’re sure to devour in one sitting." —SheReads
Killers hiding in plain sight. Small-town secrets. A girl who knows too much. From the Amazon Charts bestselling author of Unspeakable Things and Bloodline comes a nerve-twisting novel inspired by a shocking true crime.
Minnesota, 1977. For the teens of one close-knit community, summer means late-night swimming parties at the quarry, the county fair, and venturing into the tunnels beneath the city. But for two best friends, it’s not all fun and games.
Heather and Brenda have a secret. Something they saw in the dark. Something they can’t forget. They’ve decided to never tell a soul. But their vow is tested when their friend disappears—the second girl to vanish in a week. And yet the authorities are reluctant to investigate.
Heather is terrified that the missing girls are connected to what she and Brenda stumbled upon that night. Desperately searching for answers on her own, she learns that no one in her community is who they seem to be. Not the police, not the boys she met at the quarry, not even her parents. But she can’t stop digging because she knows those girls are in danger.
She also knows she’s next.
(The Quarry Girls initially included pages from Heather's diary, including her sketches of gag gift ads. While they never made it into the book, you can see them here. If you haven't yet read the book, they make a good companion piece while reading.)
"Lourey conveys the edgy, hungry, restlessness of teen girls with a touch of Megan Abbot, while steadily intensifying the claustrophobic atmosphere of a small 1977 Minnesota town where darkness snakes below the surface." —Loreth Anne White, Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestselling author of The Patient's Secret
"Few authors can blend the genuine fear generated by a sordid tale of true crime with evocative, three-dimensional characters, and mesmerizing prose like Jess Lourey. Calling it: The Quarry Girls will be one of the best books of the year." —Alex Segura, acclaimed author of Secret Identity, Star Wars Poe Dameron: Free Fall, and Miami Midnight
"Jess Lourey is a master of the coming-of-age thriller, and THE QUARRY GIRLS may be her best yet—as dark, twisty, and full of secrets as the tunnels that lurk beneath Pantown’s deceptively idyllic streets." —Chris Holm, Anthony Award winning author of The Killing Kind