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About Jess Lourey
Jess Lourey teaches, travels, and writes about secrets.
She's the Amazon Charts bestselling Edgar, Agatha, ITW Thriller, and Lefty-nominated, Anthony-winning author of nonfiction, children's books, YA adventure, magical realism, and crime fiction. She's a retired professor of writing and sociology, a recipient of The Loft's Excellence in Teaching fellowship, a TEDx presenter (check out her TEDx Talk to discover the surprising inspiration behind MAY DAY, her first published novel), and a leader of writing retreats for women and online creative writing classes for all.
She lives in Minneapolis with her foster cats (and occasional foster puppies, but man are those goobers a lot of work). Drop by jessicalourey.com to find out more.
(The UNSPEAKABLE THINGS epilogue lives here: http://jessicalourey.com/survey-two.)
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Titles By Jess Lourey
★ "A fast-paced, sometimes brutal thriller reminiscent of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code." ―Booklist (starred review)
Salem Wiley is a genius cryptanalyst, courted by the world's top security agencies ever since making a quantum computing breakthrough. She's also an agoraphobe who's afraid to leave her house. When her mother's disappearance is linked to a plot to assassinate the country's first viable female presidential candidate, she's forced out of her safe zone.
Drawn into a labyrinth of messages encrypted by Emily Dickinson and century-old codes tucked inside the Beale Cipher, Salem begins to uncover the truth: an ancient and ruthless group is hell-bent on ruling the world, and only a select group of women stands in its way.
Salem's Cipher is the first in an ongoing series of heart-pounding thrillers that international bestselling author Lee Child calls "highly recommended!"
★ "...[A] hair-raising thrill ride." ―Library Journal (starred review) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
"The fascinating historical information combined with a storyline ripped from the headlines will hook conspiracy theorists and action addicts alike." ―Kirkus Reviews
What if everything you thought you knew about Stonehenge was wrong?
When agoraphobic genius Salem Wiley lands her dream job as an FBI cryptanalyst, she vows never to return to the witch hunt underworld, where ancient secrets encrypted by hunted women have the power to rewrite history. Her resolve disappears when sweet Mercy Mayfair, the child she is pledged to protect, is kidnapped.
As the clock ticks, Salem must face the terrible truth that there is only one way to free Mercy: crack the unbreakable code of Stonehenge.
Mercy's Chase is the second in an ongoing series of heart-pounding thrillers.
"Both a sweeping adventure and race-against-time thriller, Mercy's Chase is fascinating, fierce, and brimming with heart―just like its heroine, Salem Wiley."―Meg Gardiner, author of Into the Black Nowhere ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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.
Inspired by a terrifying true story from the author’s hometown, a heart-pounding novel of suspense about a small Minnesota community 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.
Perfect town. Perfect homes. Perfect families. It’s enough to drive some women mad…
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.
“A step-by-step guide for writers struggling to create fiction from their life . . . delivers on its promise with such honesty, simplicity, and beauty.”—William Kent Krueger, New York Times bestselling author
According to common wisdom, we all have a book inside of us. But how do we select and then write our most significant story—the one that helps us to evolve and invites pure creativity into our lives? In Rewrite Your Life, creative writing professor, sociologist, and popular fiction author Jess Lourey guides you through the redemptive process of writing a healing novel that recycles and transforms your most precious resources—your own emotions and experiences.
This fact-to-fiction process provides not only the essential building blocks of bestselling novels but is also personally transformative. Based on the process the author developed and field-tested in the wake of her husband’s suicide, Rewrite Your Life is devoted to the practice of discovering, healing, and evolving through fiction writing. It combines research, practical and engaging guidance, and personal experience to meet readers where they are and take their creativity and personal growth to the next level.
Tender, raw, and laugh-out-loud funny, Rewrite Your Life offers both a map and a compass for those seeking to harvest their life experiences to heal, lead a more authentic life, and craft a rich, powerful work of fiction.
“My favorite kind of self-help book: irreverent, personal, and superbly useful.”—Jen Mann, New York Times bestselling author of People I Want to Punch in the Throat
“A lively exploration of writing’s therapeutic value and an encouraging invitation to apply it to your life.”—Kendra Levin, author of The Hero Is You
Librarian and aspiring PI Mira James has stumbled across one dead body a month since moving to the small town of Battle Lake, Minnesota, and she'd give her left foot to break that streak this April. Things aren't looking good when a local girl vanishes and Mira discovers a disturbing note that suggests her father—dead for ten years—is connected to the disappearance.
To make matters worse, chiseled police chief Gary Wohnt is scrutinizing her every move, aching to finally put her behind bars or in bed. And the cherry on this crap sundae? Mira discovers that her sexy Adonis boyfriend, Johnny, is planning a surprise for her. Problem is, she doesn't know if it's a marriage proposal or an intervention.
April Fools is a funny and fast-paced romcom mystery guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat when you aren't laughing in the aisles. Grab your copy and join the Battle Lake crew today!
⭐ Jess Lourey named to Book Riot's "10 Funny Mystery Authors Like Janet Evanovich" list
⭐ "I read this out of order. It made no difference and I absolutely loved it...this is a fast-paced page turner." ―Jane B. (NetGalley)
⭐ "What a fun, cheeky, cleverly-plotted book! I'm not the typical 'mystery reader' but...I was very glad I gave it a chance. Recommend!" ―Jenna H. (NetGalley)
❤️ ✨ Let these romcom mysteries take you away...to a cozy world of romance, humor, and happy endings! ✨❤️
The day Mira's father chose alcohol over his family, the pain about crushed her. She fled the tiny town where everyone knew her business and built a new life in the big city, one short on friends but long on emotional safety. When she caught her bass-playing boyfriend tuning another woman’s instrument, though, the life she'd carefully crafted came crashing down.
She became that abandoned girl all over again, fleeing to a small town very much like the one she'd escaped.
There, she’s shocked to land a wonderful librarian job, great friends, and Johnny, the kind, uber-sexy gardener who seems fated to be her one true love. It’s too bad about the clock ticking on her stay.
That, and the alarming number of murders. ✨❤️
WARNING: Belly laughs, suspense, clumsy romance, and a good-hearted crew dying to become your new best friends lie within these pages. Do not open until you're ready to escape into a laugh-out-loud, page-turning adventure!
This convenient bundle includes these four, bingeworthy, full-length novels, which are the first four books in the series:
Knee High by the Fourth of July
⭐ "Get started on this Lefty-nominated series if you've previously missed it!" ―Library Journal (starred review)
⭐ Jess Lourey named to Book Riot's "10 Funny Mystery Authors Like Janet Evanovich" list!
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.
Big city gal Mira James is finally settling into itty bitty Battle Lake. Sure, there’s that pesky dead-body-a-month hitch, and her hunky musician boyfriend has begun receiving mysterious late-night texts. The fact that her problematic ex seems to be tailing her doesn’t help, either.
But Mira is determined to ignore all that for one day so she can focus on the December wedding of two dear friends. She's succeeding, too, until Kennie Rogers, Battle Lake mayor and frenemy extraordinaire, is kidnapped right in front of her eyes by a murderous Santa Claus.
Ho-ho-ho-oh-no! Can Mira save Kennie (and her relationship) before the slay bells ring…for good? Find out in this 124-page Murder by Month romcom novella featuring all your Battle Lake favorites.
PRAISE FOR THE MIRA JAMES ROMCOM MYSTERIES:
⭐ "Lourey skillfully mixes humor and suspense . . . the characters are wonderful and wacky, and the mile-a-minute pace never falters." ―Booklist (starred review)
⭐ "Get started on this Lefty-nominated series if you've previously missed it!" ―Library Journal (starred review)
✨ Jess Lourey named to Book Riot's "10 Funny Mystery Authors Like Janet Evanovich" list! ✨
✨ "It's not easy to make people laugh while they're on the edge of their seats, but Lourey pulls it off...in her very clever series." ―Booklist (starred review) ✨
November in Battle Lake, Minnesota, is cold enough to freeze the balls off a pool table. lt's also deer hunting season. When Tom Kicker is killed in a hunting accident, Mira James is hired to investigate―a job that brings her closer to her P.I. license.
Braving subzero temps and shrieking blizzards, Mira uncovers a decades-old scandal that has never quite died, unlike the cold stiffs piling up in the town morgue. As she pieces together the clues, Mira discovers that Battle Lake's good-old boys have been up to some bad business. But with threats and enemies around every icy corner, she may not live long enough to expose the truth, even with the help of hunky Johnny Leeson.
⭐ "Lourey’s seventh cozy featuring PI wannabe Mira James successfully combines humor, an intriguing mystery, and quirky small-town characters."—Publishers Weekly
⭐ Jess Lourey named to BookRiot's "10 Funny Mystery Authors Like Janet Evanovich" list!
Katrine Catalain returns from London, broken and bereft, her life there destroyed. She finds Faith Falls just as she left it, a snug little Minnesota town constructed over a mystery, a place where the most impressive building is the gorgeous Victorian mansion she calls home.
The Catalain women have always had an uneasy truce with the people of Faith Falls, but Katrine's return brings all the bad blood to the surface, dredging up secrets, bitter curses, and more than one unexplained murder. The Catalain women must find a way to make peace with their past or lose everything that's ever mattered to them.
This lush, intoxicating tale weaves together fear, love, mystery, and magic. Read this thrilling Amazon bestseller today! If you'd like to spend more time with the Catalain women, check out Seven Daughters, a Catalain novella.
"[T]ightly plotted, and Lourey shines when depicting relationships―romantic ones as well as tangled links between Catalains...." ―Kirkus Reviews
"Lourey expertly concocts a Gothic fusion of long-held secrets, melancholy, and resolve..." ―Publishers Weekly
"Think Alice Hoffman...spell-binding!" ―Midwest Book Review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐