Title: Hidden Bodies
Author: Caroline Kepnes
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Genre: Fiction / Thriller
Format: Hardcover / Audiobook
My Rating: ⭐️⭐️
Get Your Own: Amazon
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…
Hidden Bodies on Goodreads
My Review (contains spoilers):
I’d like to start off this review by first discussing its prequel, You (2014). I read You back in 2017 and gave it four stars. While it was definitely a creepy, weird, and downright icky read, the novelty of the stalker story told from the stalker’s point of view made it so intriguing that I could not put it down. And even though I found Joe’s actions and motives to be totally warped and disturbing, I couldn’t help but sympathize with him. Kepnes really rounded his character out – Joe was not just a psycho-stalker-murderer, but also a real human being with significant past trauma (don’t get me wrong, I do NOT think past trauma is an excuse for bad behavior). You quickly became one of those books I recommend whenever anyone says they’re into psychological thrillers or true crime podcasts, and it’s definitely one of my favorite creepy reads.
Because I enjoyed You so much I had high hopes for Hidden Bodies. Going into it I wasn’t entirely sure what I was hoping for (more of the same, something different?), but as I got deeper into the book I realized what I really wanted to happen was for Joe to be caught and have his whole world crumble down around him. That is not what happened.
Halfway through the novel Joe’s kill list had expanded to include six people and he was starting to get a little sloppy; it seemed enivitable that he would be caught. Instead, he somehow found love with a woman who turned out to be just as crazy as he was. He ended up telling her all that he’d done (the murders, the stalking, everything) and she accepted it. That’s it. It didn’t seem to bother her at all. She even helped him destroy evidence that may have led to him being identified by the police who were invistigating one of the murders. I know the storylines for You and Hidden Bodies rely on the extreme, but this was just too much.
Even more infuriatingly, Joe is finally arrested towards the end of the book, but it’s left open as to whether or not he’s prosecuted for his crimes. As much as I “enjoyed” the story told throughout You, my sense of justice needed to be appeased in Hidden Bodies and it wasn’t.
I will still recommend You to anyone who enjoys mystery / thriller novels – the story is compelling, unique, and impossible to put down. If you liked You, give Hidden Bodies a try, but don’t expect to be blown off your feet.
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