HIDDEN BODIES Review

Hidden Bodies  - Caroline Kepnes

Synopsis: 
In the compulsively readable follow-up to her widely acclaimed debut novel, You, Caroline Kepnes weaves a tale that Booklist calls “the love child of Holden Caulfield and Patrick Bateman.”

Hidden Bodies marks the return of a voice that Stephen King described as original and hypnotic, and through the divisive and charmingly sociopathic character of Joe Goldberg, Kepnes satirizes and dissects our culture, blending suspense with scathing wit.

Joe Goldberg is no stranger to hiding bodies. In the past ten years, this thirty-something has buried four of them, collateral damage in his quest for love. Now he’s heading west to Los Angeles, the city of second chances, determined to put his past behind him.

In Hollywood, Joe blends in effortlessly with the other young upstarts. He eats guac, works in a bookstore, and flirts with a journalist neighbor. But while others seem fixated on their own reflections, Joe can’t stop looking over his shoulder. The problem with hidden bodies is that they don’t always stay that way. They re-emerge, like dark thoughts, multiplying and threatening to destroy what Joe wants most: truelove. And when he finds it in a darkened room in Soho House, he’s more desperate than ever to keep his secrets buried. He doesn’t want to hurt his new girlfriend—he wants to be with her forever. But if she ever finds out what he’s done, he may not have a choice...

 

*****

 

Caroline Kepnes is back with the sequel to her widely acclaimed debut novel You, and it is everything a good sequel should be. Hidden Bodies picks up right where You left off, with first person narrator Joe in love with Amy, his latest squeeze. Things go awry and soon Joe is off to Hollywood from New York City on a journey that will result in lots of sex, money, and murder. I do not want to risk giving much away because so much of the reader's enjoyment of this novel relies solely on not knowing the details.

 

This was an exciting read -- the perfect book to get me out of my reading slump. Kepnes has her finger on the pulse of what makes her readers tick in 2016, and uses that to her advantage. Pop culture references are sprinkled throughout, though it never feels intrusive like it occasionally did in You. This is very much a book about now, which is not bad -- it adds a certain level of authenticity to the whole affair, me thinks. These characters use Instagram and Facebook and email each other because that's what people in this age do. Some authors are afraid to incorporate technology into their works, but not Caroline Kepnes. Kudos to her for it.

 

Joe Goldberg is one of my favorite characters in modern fiction, with all of his messed up, twisted (insert a million other synonyms for 'crazy' here) ideas and mood swings. I can't help but love and feel sorry for the guy. However, my sole complaint about this book is Joe felt a bit . . . predictable. Like, we saw what he's all about in You, and there is nothing new added to his character in Hidden Bodies. I suppose that sounds like I'm nitpicking, but I could not escape the feeling that Joe had a bit of a been-there-done-that feel. Part of the fun of reading about him in You was seeing his personality and actions unfurl, and in Hidden Bodies we get the exact same Joe . . . up to maybe last ten pages or so. 

 

This is a great read. It's quick, it's fun, and it's just as chilling and twisted as its predecessor. Caroline Kepnes is a new author writing with the skill of a veteran -- she has love for every character she has created, and she truly sympathizes with them. And it shows. If you're looking for a quickly paced plunge into the depths of a psychotic killer's mind, you could do much worse than Hidden Bodies.