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Lourey, Jess 1970- (Jessica Lourey)

Lourey, Jess 1970- (Jessica Lourey)

PERSONAL:

Born 1970, in Tacoma, WA; children: Zoe, Xander. Education: Earned two master's degrees. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, gardening, baking, politics.

ADDRESSES:

Home—St. Cloud, MN. Office—St. Cloud Technical College, 1540 Northway Dr., St. Cloud, MN 56303. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Novelist and educator. St. Cloud Technical College, St. Cloud, MN, teacher of English and sociology.

MEMBER:

Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Lake Superior Writers, The Loft.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Lake Region Arts Council grant.

WRITINGS:

"MURDER BY MONTH" SERIES

May Day, Midnight Ink (Woodbury, MN), 2006.

June Bug, Midnight Ink (Woodbury, MN), 2007.

Knee High by the Fourth of July, Midnight Ink (Woodbury, MN), 2007.

Contributor to How I Got Published: Famous Authors Tell You in Their Own Words, edited by Duane Lindsay, Writer's Digest Books, 2007. Contributor to the InkSpot Web log.

SIDELIGHTS:

Jess Lourey is the author of May Day and other works in the "Murder by Month" comic mystery series. Set in small-town Battle Lake, Minnesota, the series features amateur detective Mira James, a graduate student from Minneapolis who has left her cheating boyfriend and scholarly pursuits behind and now "deals with culture shock, a shallow dating pool, and dead bodies," Lourey told an interviewer on A Long Short Story Web site. Asked what drew her to the mystery genre, Lourey told Reader Views Web site contributor Juanita Watson, "Justice is very important to me, and we don't get enough of it in our daily lives. Plus, I love how you can develop characters, draw out settings, get people to relax or laugh, and at the end, you know it's going to be all right. We need more of that in life."

In May Day, Mira investigates the murder of her lover and discovers some surprising secrets about Battle Lake's most prominent citizens. While working at the local library and the weekly newspaper, Mira falls for archaeologist Jeff Wilson, a former high school football star who has returned to his hometown to research a historical site. When Mira finds Wilson's dead body on the library floor, she delves into his past and finds a host of suspects, including the mayor and the police chief. "Lourey's debut has a likable heroine and a surfeit of sass," noted a critic in Kirkus Reviews.

Based on a true story, June Bug, Lourey's second novel, follows Mira as she attempts to solve a century-old mystery involving missing diamonds, a corpse, and a kidnapping. The author "manages to combine comedic elements into a really well written story," observed Reader Views Web site critic Paige Lovitt.

Lourey, who also teaches creative writing and sociology, told Spinetingler interviewer Sandra Ruttan: "I would love to be a writer who can make a living off her words someday, but that's not why I got into writing. I got into writing because when I'm doing it, I feel like I'm in the right place at the right time. As simple as that."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2006, review of May Day, p. 64.

Mystery Scene, spring, 2006, Lynne Maxwell, review of May Day.

Spinetingler, winter, 2006, Julia Buckley, review of May Day, and Sandra Ruttan, "In Conversation with Jess Lourey."

ONLINE

In the Library Reviews,http://www.inthelibraryreviews.net/ (March 27, 2006), Joyce Handzo, review of May Day.

Jess Lourey Home Page,http://www.jesslourey.com (July 15, 2007).

A Long Short Story,http://www.alongstoryshort.homestead.com/ (July 15, 2007), "Interview with Jess Lourey."

Pop Goes the Library,http://www.popgoesthelibrary.com/ (April 10, 2006), "Interview with Jess Lourey."

Reader Views,http://www.readerviews.com/ (August 5, 2007), Paige Lovitt, review of June Bug, and Juanita Watson, "Interview with Jess Lourey."

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