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Jess Lourey - book author

Jess Lourey writes about secrets. She is the bestselling Agatha, Anthony, and Lefty-nominated author of the critically-acclaimed Mira James mysteries, which have earned multiple starred reviews from Library Journal and Booklist, the latter calling her writing "a splendid mix of humor and suspense."

Jess also writes nonfiction, edge-of-your-seat YA adventure, magical realism, suspense novels, and thrillers. She is a tenured professor of creative writing and sociology, a recipient of The Loft's Excellence in Teaching fellowship, a Psychology Today blogger, and a TEDx presenter (check out her TEDx Talk for the surprising inspiration behind her first published novel). When not teaching, reading, or dorking out with her family in Minneapolis, you can find her dreaming of her next story.

You can find out more at www.jessicalourey.com

Jess Lourey is the author of books: Unspeakable Things, May Day (Murder-by-Month Mystery, #1), September Fair (Murder-by-Month Mystery #5), June Bug (Murder-by-Month Mystery #2), August Moon (Murder-by-Month Mystery #4), Knee High by the Fourth of July (Murder-by-Month Mystery #3), December Dread (Murder-by-Month Mystery #8), October Fest (Murder-by-Month Mystery #6), November Hunt (Murder-by-Month Mystery #7), January Thaw (Murder-by-Month Mystery #9)

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Author Books

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01
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 One by one, they return changed—violent, moody, and withdrawn.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.
02
Minneapolitan Mira James has been taking it easy since college graduation--too easy. Due to a dead-end job and a cheating boyfriend, the Twin Cities have lost their charm, and Mira decides to begin a new life in rural Battle Lake. Right away she is offered jobs as an assistant librarian and part-time reporter, and falls into an unexpected romance with a guy who seems to be the perfect man until he turns up dead between the reference stacks her tenth day on the job.

Anxious to learn more about the man who had briefly stolen her heart, Mira delves into the hidden mysteries of Battle Lake, including a old land deed with ancient Ojibwe secrets, an obscure octogenarian crowd with freaky social lives, and a handful of thirtysomething high school buddies who hold bitter, decades-old grudges. Mira soon discovers that unknown dangers are concealed under the polite exterior of this quirky small town, and revenge is a tator-tot hotdish best served cold.

A hip, humorous, and gripping account of small-town murder, this novel is the first in a series of cozies featuring Mira James, an urban woman with rural Minnesota roots.
03
The Minnesota State Fair - the beloved home of 4H exhibits, Midway rides, and everything on a stick. The festival fun is riding high until the recently crowned Milkfed Mary, Queen of the Dairy, a Battle Lake native, is brutally murdered while her regal likeness is carved in butter.

Can Mira James, covering the fair for the Battle Lake Recall, expose a deadly State Fair secret and win a blue ribbon for caging a killer? You bet your last deep-fried Nut Goodie!
05
Maybe it's time for me to leave this crazy town, hightail it back to Minneapolis, and become a cat-collecting, fist-shaking, asexual English professor...

Furious after being stood up by local hottie Johnny Leeson, Mira decides to abandon Battle Lake, Minnesota, where the women are churchgoers, the men like to hunt, and the body count is above average. But when a cheerleader bites the dust, Mira loiters long enough to snoop.

Mira is highly suspicious of the New Millennium Bible Camp, a disturbing place with a Stepford Wives meets Hee Haw vibe. Before ditching Battle Lake, Mira is hell-bent on confronting her own demons and catching a killer.
06
What's so wrong with admiring from a distance? Mira's quirky puppy love for Chief Wenonga, a well-muscled fiberglass statue in her Minnesota small town, might be a safer love pursuit than online dating. But when the 23-foot Chief goes missing from his cement base, Mira's not the only citizen to be crushed. The town of Battle Lake is celebrating their statue's 25th anniversary and no amount of blue, sugar-soaked popcorn balls at Wenonga Days can uplift their gloomy mood.

But when Mira runs into a dead body, the town has more pressing issues. Mira's second biggest crush, organic gardening god and dead ringer for Brad Pitt-Johnny Leeson-has disappeared. Her luck with men is running out, and a killer might be moving in. With something of her own to hide, Mira hopes she can avoid the police long enough to track down the object of her mega-crush-but is Mira trailing a statue-thief, a kidnapper, or a murderer?
08
Beer and polka music reign supreme at Octoberfest, Battle Lake's premier fall festival. To kick off the celebrations, the town hosts a public debate between the two congressional candidates: straight-laced Arnold Swydecker, and slippery incumbent, Sarah Glokkmann. As a reporter for the Battle Lake Recall, Mira James is roped into writing up the word war. But the festive mood sours when a well-known Glokkmann-bashing blogger is found dead . . . and the congresswoman herself meets a gruesome fate.

To keep the heat off her best friend's fiance--an ex-con reporter--Mira wades through the candidates' dirty laundry, their unsavory secrets, and some murderous mudslinging to expose the killer.
09
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 a P.I. license. Braving subzero temps and shrieking blizzards, Mira uncovers a decades-old scandal that has never quite died, unlike the cold stiffs who are 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.
10
The Ice Man Succumbeth

Private-eye-in-training Mira James loves Minnesota's crisp January days, as long as she can spend them in the arms of hunky Johnny Leeson. But when Mrs. Berns's erratic Zamboni driving uncovers an icebound dead man, Mira's cold-weather tranquility threatens to melt away. With a frozen body in the lake and a freak January thaw descending on town, neither Johnny nor generous portions of high-octane comfort food are enough to ease Mira's frazzled nerves. There's big trouble brewing in Battle Lake. And if Mira can't figure out who's behind it, the next time she feels sub-zero temperatures, she may be sporting a toe tag in the town morgue.