Jess Lourey Books

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Jess Lourey is American author of mystery, young adult and humor novels. She is famously known for her critically acclaimed work Murder by Month mysteries which have earned her multiple starred reviews from Booklist and Library Journal. Jess is also the author magical realism, sword and sorcery fantasy, feminist thrillers, and the edge of your seat young adult adventures. Besides from writing, Jess is also a professor of creative writing and sociology, the most sought-after workshop lead and speaker and a recipient of 2014 Excellence in Teaching Fellowship. The author is a member of Lake Superior Writers, Sisters in Crime, The Loft and served on the official board of the Mystery Writers of America.

Order of Murder-By-Month Mystery Series

1May Day 2006Description / Buy
2June Bug 2007Description / Buy
3Knee High by the Fourth of July 2007Description / Buy
4August Moon 2008Description / Buy
5September Fair / September Mourn 2009Description / Buy
6October Fest 2011Description / Buy
7November Hunt 2012Description / Buy
8December Dread 2012Description / Buy
9January Thaw 2014Description / Buy
10Death by Potato Salad (Short Story) 2014Description / Buy
11February Fever 2015Description / Buy
12March of Crime 2017Description / Buy
13April Fools 2019Description / Buy

Order of Salem's Cipher Mystery Series

1Salem's Cipher 2016Description / Buy
2The Adventure of the First Problem (Short Story) 2016Description / Buy
3Mercy's Chase 2018Description / Buy

Order of The Catalain Book of Secrets Series

1Seven Daughters (Short Story) 2014Description / Buy
2The Catalain Book of Secrets 2014Description / Buy

Order of Jess Lourey Standalone Novels

1The Toadhouse Trilogy 2012Description / Buy
2Unspeakable Things 2020Description / Buy
3Bloodline 2021Description / Buy
4Litani 2021Description / Buy

Order of Jess Lourey Short Stories/Novellas

1Beauty Is in the Eye of the Newt (Short Story) 2014Description / Buy
2The Paper Frog (Short Story) 2014Description / Buy
3Give Her a Hand (Short Story) 2014Description / Buy

Order of Jess Lourey Non-Fiction Books

1Better Than Gin: A Coloring Book for Writers (Short Story) (As: Jessica Lourey) 2016Description / Buy
2Rewrite Your Life: Discover Your Truth Through the Healing Power of Fiction (As: Jessica Lourey) 2017Description / Buy

Jess Lourey Anthologies

1 Shattering Glass2020Description / Buy
Print: Print PDF

Lourey became a published author in 2006 when May Day, the first book in Murder by Month Mystery series was published. In 2016, the author wrote, Salem’ Cipher which became the debut novel in a series by the same name. When not reading, teaching, writing, traveling or having a good time with her family, you will find Jess dreaming of her next story.


Jess Lourey has been nominated for several awards. She is a recipient of The Loft’s 2014 Excellence in Teaching Fellowship and has been nominated for Anthony Awards for the Best Paperback Original.


These are two best books by Jess Lourey, May Day and June Bug.

May Day: The Minneapolitan resident, Mira James has been taking it easy since her college graduation. Due to her boring job and unfaithful boyfriend, the Twin Cities have lost the true charm, and in response, she decides to start a new chapter in life in the rural area of Battle Lake.

Once in Battle Lake, she is offered a job as a librarian and also a reporter, and soon gets entangled in some romance with a local guy who appears to be the ideal man until the day he winds up dead between the references stacks on her second week on the job. Eager to learn more about the man who had soon stolen her heart, Mira dives into the mysteries of Battle Lake, including a group of high school friends who hold grudges, an ancient Ojibwe secret and a crowd with some weird social lives.
Mira soon discovers that unknown dangers, are hidden deep beneath the soft, and smooth surface of this small town and revenge is a very sweet dish served cold.

May Day, the first book in Murder by Month Mystery is a brilliant read. The main character is the witty Bachelor of Arts (English) graduate May. After having had it all, she settles in Battle Lake in order to have a new grip in her life. Once in Battle Lake, she meets Jeff Wilson, and from that instance- the two get an instant connection. He frequently visits the library with some questions about Jorgensen’s property, and since Mira writes for the local newspaper, she also intends to interview Jeff who is an archeologist.

From the first meetup, both Mira and Jeff seem to hit it off very well and become intimate. However, Jeff stands Mira for the second date, which angers her. The next day, as Mira goes through the stacks, she stumbles upon Jeff’s body, and from there onwards, the story follows Mira as she investigates and tracks down Jeff’s killer.

June Bug: In the second book in Murder by Month Mystery, we again meet the witty Mira James. Mira never thought that life after college would be a double-wide trailer in the small town of Battle Lake, Minnesota. However, maybe the small town has more to offer than breasted chicken and mosquitoes.

According to the rumors in this small town, a diamond necklace was lost nearly hundred years ago, in Whiskey Lake, a place not far from the Shangri-La resort. Mira, working as a part-time reporter for the local newspaper goes fishing for the stories behind this local legend. However, her dives turn out to be more than just missing jewelry. Accompanied by a local circus performer, the adventurous search leads them into a new mystery, one that puts her face to face with an adversary from the past.

The second book in Murder by Month Mystery is well crafted, with a smooth plotline and well-woven characters. Mira is a young, beautiful, and enthusiastic and just like any other amateur sleuth; she is forever doomed to stumble upon dead bodies, and even secrets darker than death. If you love mystery books, then you will like books by the talented, clever and witty writer Jess Lourey.

When Does The Next Jess Lourey book come out?

Jess Lourey doesn't seem to have an upcoming book. Their newest book is Litani and was released on October, 19th 2021.

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