by Caroline Kepnes
It drives me crazy when I read a book so good I just can’t put words to paper to review it. Hidden Bodies is one of those books. How do you review something so incredibly diabolical and delicious? Beware, this could be incoherent.
In Caroline Kepnes’ You, I first met Joe Goldberg and couldn’t believe that she made me fall in love with this character. He was everything that I feared in the night and would never, ever want to meet in a crowded mall let alone a dark alley. Yet, there I was, rooting for him. Rooting. For. Him. What the hell?
Joe is back in Hidden Bodies, having made it safely through You, and he’s in love again, this time with Amy, the blueberry eating, won’t-shave-her-legs girl who walked into his bookstore and stole his heart.
“…she claimed she was looking for a job but you and I both know she was looking for me.”
Ah, Joe. Still delusional. Or is it narcissistic? Or just plain self-confidence because he’s Joe? Either way, he was right, Amy was looking for him but only to steal from him and anyone that knows Joe knows that he’s unforgiving. Using clues she left behind, Joe follows Amy out to California from New York, promising himself that Amy would pay for breaking his heart.
This story is so appealing, yet so insane because Kepnes convinces you that Amy needs to pay for what she’s done to Joe. This handsome, charming, sociopathic killer has left hidden bodies behind him and plans to add more to the count. Not because he wants to, but because it’s the best thing for the inhabitants of said bodies. I’m sure of it because he told me so.
This is the beauty of Caroline Kepnes. She’s so brilliant that for the first 20% of Hidden Bodies I’d decided that You was really a one-hit wonder. I didn’t like Joe anymore and he was starting to scare me and I wanted him to get caught. He wasn’t changing or learning from his mistakes and then he finds Love when he least expects it. And I’m right back in Joe’s corner and his biggest cheerleader.
Love Quinn is Joe’s redemption and as he falls in love with her (it takes only a few minutes because it’s Joe and he’s always all in, no matter what he’s doing) he starts to change and forgets about finding Amy. Sure, he’s still quickly irritated with the ridiculous people around him that are uneducated and so shallow that they don’t deserve to live, but when you’re in Love, somehow these things just don’t matter as much. He swiftly becomes part of her Hollywood royalty family the same night he meets Love:
“I am born again a Quinn, unofficial son-in-law of Dottie and Ray-the Dottie and Ray who send me their love at the Pantry!-and they know how to hug, how to talk.”
And Joe’s life is changed.
Yet, there are things he left unfinished on the East Coast, and as he gets more involved with Love he starts to make mistakes and he encounters people who have nothing better to do but involve themselves in his business and before long he’s falling back into old habits. And the reader understands, because Joe just wants to be loved and in love and he’s changed.
As Hidden Bodies races to a heart pounding conclusion that finds Joe fighting for everything he ever wanted you find yourself wondering how you ever disliked Joe and how you’d forgive him everything if he could just be happy.
5 Stars for Hidden Bodies which is a witty, laugh-out-loud, testimony to our culture and frightening enough to leave your heart racing. Heat level: 3
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for honest feedback.
Hidden Bodies was published by Atria Books in February 2016.
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