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February 23, 2016 / Leslie

Book Review: Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes

HiddenBodiesHidden Bodies
by Caroline Kepnes

Genre: Thriller / Dark Humor
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Publish Date: February 23, 2016
Format: Hardcover | 448 pages
Rating: 5 of 5

From the Publisher
In the compulsively readable follow-up to her widely acclaimed debut novel, You, Caroline Kepnes weaves a tale that Booklist calls “the love child of Holden Caulfield and Patrick Bateman.”

Hidden Bodies marks the return of a voice that Stephen King described as original and hypnotic, and through the divisive and charmingly sociopathic character of Joe Goldberg, Kepnes satirizes and dissects our culture, blending suspense with scathing wit.

About the Story
Joe Goldberg is back, and he’s just as charming and obsessive as ever. Now he has a new love interest, Amy, and he vows not to make the same mistakes he made in the past with Beck.

Amy seems perfect for Joe, and he tell her so. But the feeling isn’t mutual, and when she steals from him and runs off to Los Angeles, the stalking, murderous instincts re-emerge in Joe. He discovers that she has left New York for Hollywood and has signed up for acting classes. Joe is soon on his way to California to find her and make her pay for what she has done to him. But things are never simple for Joe. He soon becomes involved in a new relationship — Joe may have finally met his match.

My Thoughts

The story begins right where the first book, You, left off with the same fast pace and quick wit. It is written from Joe’s point of view so we are always aware of his thoughts and motivation. And that is what makes this such a great book. When we get into Joe’s head, he becomes likable, literate, and seductive in spite of all his faults. Yes, literate, he loves books. He works in a bookstore and appears to lead a normal life. Until you get to know him.

There was a bit of a slow spot in the middle of the story after Joe moved to Los Angeles and we meet a new group of characters, but it soon picked up again with the same dark humor, murderous thoughts, a few bodies, and a quick pace. The plot makes frequent changes in direction and just when I thought I knew where it was headed, we were off on a new course — and ultimately headed for a surprising ending.

Joe is one of the most compelling characters I’ve ever met. I wasn’t so much horrified by what Joe was thinking and doing as I was at the thought that there are people like him walking the streets and appearing normal. Joe was so needy and charming that I came dangerously close to rooting for him. Well, at times I was rooting for him! And then it was back to feeling creepy.

As in the first book, there is some explicit sexual content and more than a few swear words. It fits the character of Joe and his warped thoughts, but I felt it deserved mention. There is satire and social commentary accompanied by some biting dark humor. This isn’t for everyone, but it’s one of those books you won’t know you like until to try it.

While there is enough explanation of events in the first book to make this readable as a standalone, I don’t recommend it. And once you read the first chapter, you are completely spoiled for book one. Read You first! Even better, listen to the audiobook, it’s fantastic.

Although this was one of my first reads of the new year, it has definitely made it on to my 2016 favorites list.

Read or hear an excerpt.

Source: Review copy provided by Atria Books
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Leave a Comment
  1. Lloyd Russell / Feb 23 2016 1:19 pm

    All of a sudden, I am seeing a bunch of posts about her 2 books. I better get a hold of book 1 and get started.


  2. Sheila (Book Journey) / Feb 23 2016 1:20 pm

    Oh I can not wait! I down loaded the audio this morning! Having just finished YOU on audio over the weekend I have to say, start with YOU- audio book peeps listen to it – you will not be sorry. LOVED IT!


    • Tea Time with Marce / Feb 23 2016 3:56 pm

      Sheila, I was about to say I officially added You to my list after your review. This sounds like a fascinating story. I would recommend Unravel and Unhinge to both you and Leslie. this series sounds fantastic.

      BTW – sent you an email Sheila re my comments probably going to junk folder.

      Sorry to make comment longer Leslie, hoping Sheila gets my message another way 🙂


    • Leslie / Feb 23 2016 4:35 pm

      I couldn’t wait for the audio which wasn’t available until this week. Hidden Bodies was my First Book of the Year. If I decide to do a re-read it will be audio for sure!


  3. laurelrainsnow / Feb 23 2016 1:23 pm

    Okay, now that this second book has emerged, I am thinking that I need to give You another try. I don’t know why I couldn’t stomach Joe when I first attempted the book…I’ve certainly encountered enough creepy characters over the years. Maybe he felt too central to the story…as if what he was doing was okay.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts…and I am definitely curious enough to try again.


    • Leslie / Feb 23 2016 4:37 pm

      No question Joe is a creep, but he is such a witty, seductive creep I had to find out what he would do next! And he loves books. He’s a reader!


  4. Vicki / Feb 23 2016 1:57 pm

    I have You on audio and hope to get to it soon, and then can start on Hidden Bodies.


    • Leslie / Feb 23 2016 4:41 pm

      I thought you had read it already!


  5. BermudaOnion / Feb 23 2016 2:27 pm

    I’ve had this in print for a while and decided to wait for the audio, which I downloaded today. I can’t wait to listen to it.


    • Leslie / Feb 23 2016 4:33 pm

      As much as I enjoyed the book, I think audio is an even better choice. The narrator adds so much to Joe’s character. And he is even creepier in audio!


  6. Suko / Feb 23 2016 5:17 pm

    Leslie, thanks for a good and honest review! It sounds like it is perfect on audio.


  7. Diana Leigh / Feb 25 2016 9:38 am

    Hee hee, I love finding other Joe fans. And I agree — audio is the way to go. Santino Fontana is amazing!!


  8. Diane / Mar 10 2016 7:43 am

    I still haven’t read YOU, but the audio has been requested from library. Sounds like many readers have enjoyed this author.


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