I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes
Series: You #2
Published by Emily Bestler Books on February 23rd 2016
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 is the continued adventures of one of my favorite psychos: Joe Goldberg. You was the most fantastic of surprises and since we’re on the topic of You it must be said that not only should you read it before you pick up Hidden Bodies, but it’d be best you read that before you read this review because there will definitely be spoilers. Fine print out of the way, Hidden Bodies jumped to the top ten list of my most anticipated of the year. Suffice it to say, there’s nothing worse than getting your hopes up only to have them dashed.
I know. I’m super bummed. But let me explain the why of it all.
Joe Goldberg is quite possibly the most normal yet most intriguing serial killer I have yet to find in fiction. He’s the manager of a bookstore and when not being exasperated by the general population of New York City, is on the hunt for love. He thought he found it with Guinevere but four dead bodies later (including hers) that clearly isn’t the case. But he’s found love with Amy and everything is going splendidly, at least until she disappears with his rare-book collection. And his heart. But Joe is able to set his heartbreak aside and sets his focus on revenge instead. And that’s how he finds himself in sunny Los Angeles.
What I loved most about Joe is how hilarious and charismatic he was.. for a psychopath. We’re given a front row viewing at how his mind works and while it was of course a terrifying place to be, he still managed to garner your sympathy shockingly enough. His diatribes of people and the ridiculous shit they do were the absolute best and I was looking forward to his outlook on the insipid masses that populate Los Angeles. But then we reach about the midway point, while he’s still rambling on about ridiculous people, I slowly realize that he’s becoming just like them. Joe’s original charisma, his appeal as a captivating fictional character? Missing in action. He arrived in California to completely lose sight of the purpose for his presence there in the first place.
While it could be said that Joe’s actions were the same as they were in You, all in a misguided attempt to find and keep love (literally and figuratively, he begins dating a girl in LA that’s actually named Love), it felt far more sporadic and sloppy this time around. Joe was constantly finding himself in the cross-hairs of danger and the majority of it all seemed superfluous and much like how I’d expect it’d feel watching a train wreck.
Suffice it to say, I felt You was a complete story that could (and should) have been left as is. It reminded me a lot of a more modern version of The Collector, with an incredibly entertaining character stylishly rocking a complete lack of morals. I just didn’t enjoy the evolution of Joe’s character or the direction of the plot in Hidden Bodies and it made for a most tedious read. Others have loved this as much as You, so there’s good news for that crowd: there will definitely be a third Joe Goldberg book. I’ll be sitting over here waiting anxiously for Kepnes to create something new because I’m calling it quits with Joe.