A sign of a good book, so I’m led to believe, is the inability to put it down. I once read a Jojo Moyes novel in the bathroom at 2am because I *had* to finish it and the light in the bedroom was annoying my husband. It was a good book.
Yesterday, I finished such a novel, Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes. It is a sequel to her earlier novel, You.
In both books, we follow the stream of consciousness of Joe Goldberg, New Yorker, bookseller and serial killer.
We start off with him in You, where he becomes increasingly obsessed with Brown University post grad student, Guinevere Beck.
As he pursues her, the body count rises and deeper into Joe’s world we fall as he explains and justifies his actions.
Joe isn’t an unpleasant narrator. He’s slick, smart and at times, funny. He twists and turns his world around so that the version you see almost becomes the reality you accept.
The thing is, Joe is likable. I like him. I’d work in his bookshop with him and listen to his playlists and ask him about the cage downstairs.
In his narrative, he calls it how he sees it, which with his mindset, can make the world seem a bit skewed. He realises the world is not a fair and equal place, but he still tries to change the odds of things going his way by offing the people he views as a hindrance.
In the next book, he is with another girl and this time, it is the conniving Amy Adam. She is in many ways, his equal. She’s as cunning as him, as deceitful as him and also tries to change the world in her favour.
Obsessing once more over another girl, this time Amy and her inevitable betrayal of him, he ups sticks to Los Angeles, which he often laments how different it is to his native New York.
In his enraged quest to find Amy, he comes across someone else: Love Quinn. She and her family are obscenely wealthy on the back of their Pantry food stores.
It is with Love that Joe finds a defined sense of purpose: he is writing scripts for movies, he is loved and in love with the girl of his dreams, he is referred to as the ‘professor’ by her family as they note his well-read, non-graduate, intelligent mind.
I found myself not particularly horrified by Joe’s crimes as they felt like an inevitability. I did, however, feel cross with him for killing people, because I didn’t want him to get caught.
I rooted for him all the way through both books. He was finally happy with someone and believe me, she is just fantastic – especially towards the end of Hidden Bodies. I liked the possibility of Joe and Love walking into the sunset – their lives planned and happiness realised.
But of course, this cannot be the case. Because the world doesn’t work like that.
I cannot wait for another book to come out with Joe again and I am looking forwards to being back in his twisted, hideous world.
I don’t want to give much of the plot away or tell you who dies and when. That would be a bad thing to do in a review.
I miss Joe’s distinctive voice, which author Caroline Kepnes expertly delivers.
I read somewhere that there is a TV series in development of You. That will be interesting and probably dark as hell. Bring it on.
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