Hidden Bodiesby Caroline Kepnes
“There’s something deeply insidious about the storytelling of Caroline Kepnes. As satire of a self-absorbed society, Kepnes hits the mark, cuts deep, and twists the knife.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Obsessed.” —Jessica Knoll, New York Times bestselling author of Luckiest Girl/i>/b>/i>
“There’s something deeply insidious about the storytelling of Caroline Kepnes. As satire of a self-absorbed society, Kepnes hits the mark, cuts deep, and twists the knife.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Obsessed.” —Jessica Knoll, New York Times bestselling author of Luckiest Girl Alive
“Delicious and insane...The plot may be twisty and scintillating, but its Kepnes' wit and style that keep you coming back.” —Lena Dunham
“Hypnotic and scary.” —Stephen King
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.”
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…
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Read an Excerpt
I buy violets for Amy. Not roses. Roses are for people who did something wrong. I have done everything right this time around. I’m a good boyfriend. I chose well. Amy Adam lives in the moment, not in the computer.
“Violets are the state flower of Rhode Island,” I tell the guy wrapping up my flowers. His careless, dirty hands graze the petals, my petals. New Fucking York.
“Is that so?” He chuckles. “You learn something new every day.”
I pay cash and carry my violets outside to East Seventh Street. It’s hot for May and I smell the flowers. Rhode Island. I’ve been to Rhode Island. I went to Little Compton last winter. I was lovesick, petrified that my girlfriend—R.I.P. Guinevere Beck—was in jeopardy because of her emotionally unstable friend—R.I.P. Peach Salinger.
Someone honks at me and I apologize. I know when something is my fault, and when you walk into a blinking crosswalk, it’s your fault.
Just like it was my fault last winter. I go over the mistake in my head a dozen times a day. How I was hiding in a closet upstairs at the Salinger house. How I had to pee but couldn’t leave. So I pissed in a mug—a ceramic mug—and I put the mug down on the hardwood floor of the closet. I ran when I had the chance, and there is no way around it: I forgot the mug.
I’m a changed man because of that day. You can’t go back and alter the past, but you can go forward, become a person who remembers. Now, I’m committed to the details. For example, I recall with total precision the moment that Amy Kendall Adam returned to Mooney Rare and Used, to my life. I see her smile, her untamed hair (blond), and her résumé (lies). That was five months ago and she claimed she was looking for a job but you and I both know she was looking for me. I hired her, and she showed up on time for her first day with a spiral notebook and a list of rare books that she wanted to see. She had a glass container of superfruits and she told me they help you live forever. I told her that nobody gets to live forever and she laughed. She had a nice laugh, easy. She also had latex gloves.
I picked one up. “What are these?”
“So I don’t hurt the books,” she explained.
“I want you up front,” I countered. “This is just a basic job, mostly stocking shelves, manning the register.”
“Okay,” she said. “But did you know that there are copies of Alice in Wonderland that are worth over a million dollars?”
I laughed. “I hate to break your heart, but we don’t have Alice downstairs.”
“Downstairs?” she asked. “Is that where you keep the special books?”
I wanted to place my hand on the small of her back and lead her down to the cage, where the special books are preserved, boxed, saved. I wanted to strip her down and lock us inside and have her. But I was patient. I gave her a W-9 and a pen.
“You know, I could help you go yard-sale-ing for old books,” she said. “You never know what you’re going to find at yard sales.”
I smiled. “Only if you promise not to call it yard-sale-ing.”
Amy smiled. The way she saw it, if she was going to work here, she was going to make a dent. She wanted us to travel uptown to estate sales and hunt library clearances and jam our hands into empty boxes on the street. She wanted to work together and this is how you get to know someone so well, so fast. You descend into musty vacated rooms together and you rush outside together to gulp the fresh air and laugh and agree that the only thing to do now is get a drink. We became a team.
An old woman pushing a walker looks up at me. I smile. She points at the violets. “You’re a good boy.”
I am. I thank her and keep walking.
Amy and I started dating a few months ago while we were on the Upper East Side in a dead man’s parlor. She tugged on the lapel of the navy blazer she had bought for me—five bucks—at a tag sale. She pleaded with me to drop seven hundred on a signed, wrinkled edition of The Easter Parade.
“Amy,” I whispered. “Yates isn’t big right now and I don’t see a resurgence on the horizon.”
“But I love him,” she begged. “This book means everything to me.”
This is women; they are emotional. You can’t do business like this but you also can’t look at Amy with her big blue eyes and her long blond hair out of a Guns N’ Roses song and say no to her.
“What can I do to change your mind?” she wheedled.
An hour later, I was the owner of an overpriced Easter Parade and Amy was sucking my dick in a Starbucks bathroom in Midtown and this was more romantic than it sounds because we liked each other. This was not a blowjob; this was fellatio, my friends. She stood and I pulled her boyfriend jeans to the floor and I stopped short. I knew she didn’t like to shave; her legs were often bristly and she’s all about water conservation. But I did not expect a bush. She kissed me. “Welcome to the jungle.”
This is why I smile as I walk and this is how you get happy. Amy and I, we are sexier than Bob Dylan and Suze Rotolo on the cover of The Freewheelin’ and we are smarter than Tom Cruise and Penélope Cruz in Vanilla Sky. We have a project: We are amassing copies of Portnoy’s Complaint. It’s one of our favorite books and we reread it together. She underlined her favorite parts with a Sharpie and I told her to use a more delicate pen.
“I’m not delicate,” she said. “I hate delicate.”
Amy is a Sharpie; she’s passionate. She fucking loves Portnoy’s Complaint and I want to possess all the dark yellow copies ever made and keep them in the basement so that only Amy and I can touch them. I’m not supposed to overstock a title, but I like fucking Amy near our yellow wall of books. Philip Roth would approve. She laughed when I told her that and said we should write him a letter. She has an imagination, a heart.
My phone rings. It’s Gleason Brothers Electricians about the humidifier but it can wait. I have an e-mail from BuzzFeed about some list of cool indie bookstores and that can wait too. Everything can wait when you have love in your life. When you can just walk down the street and picture the girl you love naked on a mound of yellow Complaints.
I reach Mooney Books and the bell chimes as I open the door. Amy crosses her arms and glares at me and maybe she’s allergic to flowers. Maybe violets suck.
“What’s wrong?” I ask, and I hope this isn’t it, the beginning of the end, when the girl becomes a cunt, when the new car smell evaporates.
“Flowers?” she asks. “You know what I want more than flowers?”
I shake my head.
“Keys,” she says. “A guy was just here and I could have sold him the Yates but I couldn’t show it because I don’t have keys.”
I toss the flowers on the counter. “Slow down. Did you get a number?”
“Joe,” she says, tapping her foot. “I love this business. And I know I’m being a dumb girl and I shouldn’t tell you how into this I am. But please. I want keys.”
I don’t say anything. I need to memorize it all, lock it away for safekeeping, the low hum of the music—the Rolling Stones’ “Sweet Virginia,” one of my favorites—and the way the light is right now. I don’t lock the door. I don’t flip the OPEN sign over. I walk to the other side of the counter and I take her in my arms and I dip her and I kiss her and she kisses me back.
I’VE never given anyone a key. But this is what’s supposed to happen. Your life is supposed to expand. Your bed is supposed to have enough room for someone else and when that someone comes along, it’s your job to let her in. I seize my future. I pay extra to get ridiculous theme keys, pink and flowery. And when I place these pink metallic things in the palm of Amy’s hand, she kisses them.
“I know this is huge,” she says. “Thank you, Joe. I will guard these with my life.”
That night, she comes over and we watch one of her stupid movies—Cocktail, nobody is perfect—and we have sex and order a pizza and my air-conditioning breaks.
“Should we call someone?” she asks.
“Fuck it,” I say. “It’s Memorial Day coming up.”
I smile and pin her down and her unshaven legs scratch against mine and I’m used to it now. I like it. She licks her lips. “What are you up to, Joe?”
“You go home and pack a bag,” I say. “And I’m gonna rent us a little red Corvette and we’re gonna get out of here.”
“You’re insane,” she says. “Where are we going in this little red Corvette?”
I bite her neck. “You’ll see.”
“You’re kidnapping me?” she asks.
And if this is what she wants, then yes. “You have two hours. Go pack.”
Meet the Author
Caroline Kepnes is a native of Cape Cod and the author of many published short stories. After graduating from Brown University, Caroline moved to New York where she covered pop culture for Entertainment Weekly and Tiger Beat. She also worked as a staff writer on the first season of ABC Family's The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Caroline’s second novel, Hidden Bodies, is the follow-up to her debut novel, You, which was optioned by Showtime. Caroline now lives in Los Angeles, where she writes fiction, drinks artificially sweetened caffeinated beverages, and avoids freeways. Follow @CarolineKepnes on Twitter or visit CarolineKepnes.com.
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I am completely speechleless. I don't even know how to begin to write this review. All I can say is Caroline Kepnes you are GOLD, am I right or am I right?
Oh Joe. Joe. Joe. Joe. What a wonderful, twisted mind you have! You leave my soul feeling dark, just the way I like it. Your fascination with life leaves me with a twisted smirk on my face! Welcome back to the world of Joe. If you have read his first book (and YOU better have), YOU, then you have a little incling of what I mean. But just a little. This continuation of the story of Joe is so much more and so much more twisted than the beginning. This one will have your inner sinister persona laughing and clapping. Yes, you guessed it. More murder. More stalking. More danger. More of everything. I could not have enjoyed this story any more than I did. I read this MONTHS ago and have been itching for everyone else to read it. I needed a support group after this book. I needed daily meetings. Who is in for a Joe support group? You will need it after this book! I want to dig around in Caroline's head. What makes it tick? How does it create such wonderful, twisted plots? How does this messed up material materialize in her brain? Then getting the words to paper? Such a genius Caroline Kepnes is. Pure. Genius. As I wove my way through Joe's new journey, I couldn't imagine where Caroline was going to take me. I sat there soaking up every word, shaking my pom-poms cheering Joe on. He is the perfect anti-hero hero. He is the best villian you will find. And you will be on his villianous side. I promise. As the story plays on, I am thinking happy ever after for Joe... Then the ending came... The ending. (Insert a bunch of swear words here since I can't type them. I mean I could, but Amazon won't post my review if I do.) What can I say? Well, nothing really. I can't tell you how this ends. I can tell you that I messaged Caroline right away begging and begging for information. Just so you know, she refused to give it to me. Denied. Yes, I was denied. Damn her. Basically, what I am telling you is that this book is a MUST read. MUST. READ. If you haven't read YOU yet, then do so. Then read this. Don't read this until you have read YOU. I mean, technically you could read this without reading the first book. But if you did, you wouldn't get the full effect that is Joe and you will be missing some key pieces to the story. Hidden Bodies will make more sense when read after YOU. P.S. READ THIS BOOK!
Good read ,it goes up and down over and over! Hope there is a third book
Wow! There were several times when reading this book that I actually gasped out loud startling my husband and our 19 year old daughter. That's how good this book is.
Oh, I love a sick, twisted guy and Joe definitely fits the bill. In this second book in the series, Joe has fallen for Amy as Amy is the girl of his dreams; she is everything he has ever wanted. She played the part well, she had him were she wanted him, he was like butter and she was molding him. They were too much alike, he should have seen this as a warning sign but Joe was in love. Now it’s back to reality, back to their normal lives and Amy makes her move, she skips town with items from his store and reality slaps Joe in the face. She leaves a note, sorry? Who will be sorry one when Joe brings her down for he’s on a mission, and people die when they get in Joe’s way. It’s about murder, revenge and sex, did I mention there is an abundance of sex occurring in this novel. Joe likes attractive woman and with his numerous desires and uncontrollable thoughts, Joe never misses an opportunity to act. He stalks, he plays his part and he tries to find someone to keep him entertained. Joe is a thinker; he tries to think ahead of any possible scenario. People should learn to leave Joe alone, they should know that Joe likes to be in command and that he doesn’t like to be messed with but sometimes people don’t know this until it’s too late. This novel is just as intense as the first one in the series and I suggest you read the first novel before you read this one as there are references to some of the characters in the first novel in this one. It’s a twisted, thrilling novel that I’m sure many individuals will be glad that they picked up.
What Did I Miss That Everyone Else Loved? Evidently I really missed out on the book that preceded Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes. I read this book with an open mind, thought it's difficult for me, sometimes, to switch from one genre to another. Books stick with me, as do genres. Going from family and romance to a psychotic, narcissistic murderer like Joe offered up a bit of transferal turbulence. Hidden Bodies is about a guy who's got physical skeletons in his closet. He's creatively butchered several people and their bodies are either tucked away or blamed on another. He's good and he knows he's good, but the past won't stay in the past. He's losing it. Simple things like moving violations sends him into anxiety attacks. All he wants is peace and to enjoy the new love of his life. She's perfect for him, so he believes. All he wants is to be with her and forget everything else, but if he's unlucky enough to be found out, he may have to do away with her too. This review won't be very long because I didn't like it. Not to knock this author, because from what I hear, You was amazing! You is the book that Kepnes wrote before this one... *For the full review of Hidden Bodies: http://tinyurl.com/zxkuukt **ARC was provided by Shelf Awareness and Atria Books, for an honest review.
Apparently lightning does strike twice. Caroline Kepnes managed to craft another creepy, shocking, hilarious, and absolutely addictive read. Right off the bat we’re thrown into the middle of Joe’s next chapter. Impressively we’re hit with a major plot twist and almost immediately taken cross country to sunny SoCal. Just when you think you’ve got Joe and his next move all figured out, Kepnes throws you another curve ball. I seriously did not see that ending coming. HIDDEN BODIES is NOT to be missed!
Great read, though a little wordy with Joe's inner narratives. That being said, Joe is so messed up and so incredibly likable and unfathomable at the same time. The intensity of the relationship with Forty was awesome especially the cat and mouse. There are several holes that are obvious but I guess there has to be some. Overall, good read. I hope we don't see the last of Joe Goldberg.
Not as good as "You". Not as creepy or as twisted, but I have to admit, it held my interest in a different way.
Author Caroline Kepnes introduced readers to the comical and likable stalker Joe Goldberg in her debut novel, YOU. The book is told from Joe’s perspective and begins when he meets the love of his life, Beck, while working at a rare book store in New York City. Despite Joe’s unstable behavior and propensity to turn to murder in order to solve problems, it is difficult not to like him. And while it may say more about me than the book, YOU left me empathizing with Joe more than I probably should. HIDDEN BODIES picks up where YOU left off. Joe has moved on, and the new love of his life is Amy. When he feels Amy betrays him, he follows here to Los Angeles, hurt turned to anger, in search of revenge. But despite some ups and downs in the beginning, he finds a new love in Love Quinn. He soon forgets about Amy and forges ahead with his new life and Love. Of course he can’t leave all his old habits behind, and kills a few people, but real growth can be seen in Joe, as demonstrated here as he worries about the murders of two women New York: “I think the justice system should see where I am now, how far I’ve come, all the good I have to lose. They should stop prodding into my past. It’s so vengeful, so middle school, the way they want to boil my entire life down into these two dead girls.” HIDDEN BODIES is a solid follow-up to YOU. All of the best aspects are there, along with some genuine growth in the Joe Goldberg character. The story is also told in the first person, from Joe’s perspective, and provides dark humor in the ramblings and ups and downs of an obsessed madman; maybe a JD Salinger meets Carl Hiassen, am I right or am I right? (Sorry, HIDDEN BODIES inside jokes…) In addition to a good story, Kepnes seems to enjoy poking a little fun at the fine people of Los Angeles and their aspirations, which at first offend Joe before he realizes he has some of his own. Just as soon as you might think Joe has forgotten about his mission of finding Amy and seeking his revenge, she is delivered to him, fate, as it were. Will his new life, success, and realized dreams be enough to save her? A good measure of an author’s talent is how well readers can relate and empathize with characters, especially those that are bad, broken, evil. In both YOU and HIDDEN BODIES, Kepnes did that, and I often found myself torn between Joe and his victims, who are also presented as real people, lost and damaged, and wanting them both to live happily ever after. On second thought, what fun would that be?
Caroline Kepnes's second book, Hidden Bodies has just released. I really liked Kepnes's first book You. (my review) You introduced us to Joe, a sociopathic, narcissistic bookseller who thinks he's found the girl of his dreams. But the path to true love is a very bumpy one..... Joe returns in Hidden Bodies. He's in love again. And again it's a bumpy road. You was told in Joe's unending, seriously disturbed stream of consciousness narrative. That narrative continues in Hidden Bodies. Kepnes had my attention in the beginning as Joe is up to his old tricks.... "You don't go to a party empty-handed and my reusable Pantry bag is stuffed with rope, my Rachael Ray knife, rubber gloves, plastic bags, duct tape, and Percocets from Dez." ....but I slowly found my attention wandering as the book progressed. (spoiler) Joe ending up in Hollywood was just - I don't know - too much of a stretch for me. I must admit, that plots involving stars, movies, Hollywood etc. bore me. A big part of Joe's life revolves around his sex life. In You it made sense and was an integral part of the plot. But I found it overdone in Hidden Bodies. Honestly, I just grew weary of Joe and his d**k. (His words not mine) His detailed sexual escapades, exploits and fantasies lost the sense of shock or effect with so much repetition. Again, I grew bored. I liked Joe in You and even felt sorry for him. As I read, I saw shades of Dexter. I didn't have the same reaction this read. Instead, I found Joe to be flat and just not as interesting the second time around. I already knew who and what he was - his actions weren't much of a surprise, but simply another helping of the same. I saw the book through to the end - which finishes up somewhat ambiguously - hinting at perhaps a third Joe book - one I won't be picking up. I think I'm in the minority on this one.
Not great. I think thats mostly because its not possible to care about any of the characters. But this book is trying something interesring. Im not sure it works.
You was one of my favorite (audio)books last year, so I was super excited to read Hidden Bodies, but also slightly apprehensive whether Joe's return would live up to my expectations. I needn't have worried. Joe has mellowed a bit, in my opinion, but his lookout on the world is still as entertaining as ever. "Humans. I will never understand." I love how his mind works (I know I shouldn't), he is a depraved serial killer after all. But he is really trying hard to fit in this time. For Love ('Love' would have been the perfect title, shame it was changed). He even joins Facebook. Some of the references to social media and popular culture were hilarious. If you didn't like You, you probably won't like this, as there is still plenty of foul language and explicit scenes that may disturb some readers. I didn't actually find this sequel quite as dark or twisted as the first book, but I just love Joe. It'll be a long, desperate wait for book 3. Very witty, clever and highly original psychological thriller. Highly recommended. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I liked this book so much better than I liked the first book in the series, You. I went into You with really high expectations. I had expected to fall head over heels in love with it and maybe even offer to have Joe's babies. I liked the book well enough in the end but it was really just okay for me in a lot of ways. I started this book unsure if I would really like it or not. Would Joe's rambling drive me crazy this time? Would he spend another whole book describing minor details about his newest victim? I really didn't know what to expect. Joe didn't seem to ramble like he did in the first book. It could be that I went into the book expecting some rambling but I actually liked the time spent in Joe's head this time around. Joe's thought processes aren't really healthier in this book but he seemed to make a little more sense to me. His goals were different and his thoughts seemed a bit more logical in a serial killer sort of way. I really liked the fact that the action in this book seemed to start earlier. I liked You a lot better once Joe started actually acting on some of his impulses. In this book, Joe takes action a lot sooner in the story and I was never quite sure what he was going to do. It seemed that the pacing was a lot better with some lead up then action repeated throughout the book. The excitement really kept me hooked this time around. I liked the characters in the book a lot better. I am starting to really like Joe a lot. I am not willing to have his babies just yet but he is growing on me. Love was simply awesome. I loved everything about Love. Forty was a loose cannon and added a extra element because you never knew what he might do. Amy made me a little mad and I wanted to help Joe plan his revenge on her. There were so many wonderful characters that fit into this story. I even really liked all of the celebrity name dropping and thought it added a fun element to the book. The writing in the book was well done. The book had a great flow with the story moving seamlessly from one location to another. There was just enough description to paint a completely vivid picture throughout the book. I like the way that the characters' emotions really came across. This was book that completely pulled me in and was hard to put down. I would highly recommend this book to others. I am so glad that I decided to go ahead and continue with the series despite the fact that I wasn't blown away by You. I definitely plan to read more books by Caroline Kepnes in the future. I received an advance reader edition of this book from Atria Books via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.
Joe is one strange character. Do not make him mad. Don't even pretend to make him mad. Don't even look like your going to make him mad. While I did not read the first book, I got the gist of what transcended. I'm pretty sure that there will be a third book, because it seems Joe can't go anywhere without running into some kind of trouble whether asked for or not. And he does have that cake in the oven. This was definitely an unusual book. I'm laughing while I'm writing this. He runs into the strangest characters. The dude with the rolodex was by far the funniest. I am now going to have to go back in time and read about Joe pre Love. Talk about weird, that it will be. I truly enjoyed reading this book and listening to Joe reason with himself and try to figure out the world and things in front of him. He is one weird and lucky character! Thanks to Atria Books for approving my request and to Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review. I recommend you pick Joe up and get to meet him. See what everyone's talking about. I think you will like him.
Hidden Bodies is book two in the You series. In this installment, Joe Goldberg is trying to move on from the events in the first book. Normal stuff like murdered his girlfriend Beck, and a few other people. Oh and he might have left a mug of urine at a crime scene. But Joe is trying to move on from all of that and we start Hidden Bodies with him and his new girlfriend, Amy. She works with him at the bookstore and things seem to be going great. That is until they aren't and he winds up moving to California to hunt her down. Joe meets a ton of new people while he's in California, a new love interest, a few people he wants to kill and he also finds himself. He's discovering passions in his life he never knew existed all because he decided to chase after an elusive ex-girlfriend. That being said, I really expected the same Joe in this installment, the one full of obsession and cunning. While he does obsess about a few people, it doesn't get to that level in this book. He's still a legit crazy pants, and I kept saying just one more chapter while reading, but it wasn't the same. Our Joe is changing, and all I wanted was more glimpses of the old Joe, the crazy one that kills people. I think I'm missing the show, Dexter, too much. I feel like this book focuses more on Joe accepting himself and the people around him. He's trying to find love and I feel his character shows major changes as the book progresses. Those changes kept me quite intrigued while reading and I kept wondering if he'd slip back into his old ways. There is a cliffhanger type ending, I want need to know what happens next. I will be reading book three if/when it comes out (no announcement yet), which hopefully isn't too far away. I'd recommend this series if you're looking for something outside of the box. I never thought I'd love reading a book about a crazy stalker guy, but it just works.