Note, the format of my Short and Sweet reviews differs in that they simply comprise the book blurb and a short response (hence, the short and sweet).

Hidden Bodies

You, Caroline Kepnes’s debut novel, took me surprise with its wild ride through the thoughts of a killer. Hidden Bodies picks up the story some months later, but does it measure up to the original? Here’s the blurb:

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: true love. 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…

A word of advice here. If you have not read You, read it before Hidden Bodies. You will understand Joe much better.

Joe’s dark and self-absorbed narrative continues as he hunts down a former girlfriend, Amy, who has ripped him off. But when he meets Love, he loses interest in finding Amy, because instead, he’s found love. However, in his quest to keep his secrets buried, he does what Joe does … with more hidden bodies the result. Tension comes through Joe’s inability to fully trust anyone, not even Love, with the reader wondering, along with Joe, if his secrets are about to catch up with him.

This is an entertaining read and Joe an intriguing why-do-I-like-him anti-hero, but Hidden Bodies lacks the shock value and creep-factor of You. Much of this came from the unusual second-person narrative employed in You, which drew readers deep into Joe’s sociopathic mind. In Hidden Bodies, Kepnes employs first-person, present tense, which has immediacy but softens the insiduous grip of the second-person voice (I usually don’t like second-person but to me, that helped cement Joe’s character).

The ending is left open and I’m sure Joe will be back for another tale.

Available from good bookstores (RRP $29.99). My copy was courtesy of Simon & Schuster.




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