HIDDEN BODIES | Caroline Kepnes
01.14.2016 | Atria
Rating: 4/5 stars
Joe Goldberg has hidden a body or two in his day. To be specific, he has buried four bodies, each of them someone who was standing in the way of his quest for true love. Joe has been burned in the love department and is craving a fresh start away from New York City, so he does what any heartbroken man would do and packs his bags and moves to Los Angeles.
Joe finds it effortless to blend into the Hollywood lifestyle and use those around him to better his situation. He imbibes in all the luxuries around him, eating endless guac and flirting with his slightly crazy, fame obsessed neighbor. Joe wants nothing more than to focus on finding his one true person in LA, but he can’t clear his mind of the bodies he left behind. Did he make a mistake when taking the life of someone? Are the police waiting for him to slip up?
WARNING: Spoilers possible, so if you haven’t read YOU, use caution!
Joe Goldberg is easily one of my favorite literary characters. He is absolutely off his rocker with some of his thoughts and most obviously the whole being a murderer thing! Despite this, at times he just makes complete sense. HIDDEN BODIES has Joe back at his finest, but now dealing with an overwhelming sense of anxiety about a mistake he made that could link him to one of his crimes. On top of this nagging concern Joe has been yet again burned by love and has up and moved to the West Coast in an attempt to gain revenge and a fresh start. I think Joe lost a little bit of the charm of my first time meeting him. This time around I felt like his murderous instincts weren’t necessarily needed against certain people, but at the same time it also showed a bit of a spiral in his personality that I thought was interesting.
HIDDEN BODIES is a bit of a tamer cousin to YOU. What do I mean by that? Well, I originally thought for perhaps the first half of the book or so that the plot was heading in the direction of a revenge thriller. Then it sort of morphed into a thriller with a romantic aspect. I don’t mind subtle romance nods in thrillers and I know that Joe’s character thrives around the concept of finding true love, so it’s only natural that the story would head down this path. What I found weird was that the whole revenge storyline that brought Joe to LA in the first place up and vanished. I was there for the revenge!
As far as sequels go, I felt that Kepnes did a wonderful job of keeping alive a lot of the charm and interest I first found in YOU. I was always captivated by Joe’s thought process and why he decided to love/hate certain people. HIDDEN BODIES isn’t a book that recreates the first, but instead chooses to make its own literary path, which kept things original while still maintaining the obvious connections to the events in Joe’s life from the first book.
If you’re on the fence about this one, since it has gotten a lot of mixed reviews, my biggest suggestion to you is to pick up the audiobook. The narrator is absolutely fantastic and truly brings Joe to life! I will continue to pick up anything and everything Caroline Kepnes creates! She has an amazing talent and her stories are always keeping me on my toes!
Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.