Caroline Knepnes introduced Joe Goldberg to readers in her work You, which even inspired Netflix’s eponymous series. In his new work, Hidden Bodies, which also serves as inspiration for the second season of the aforementioned series, we follow again the protagonist, who returns with more obsessions and the weight of the acts committed in the previous book.
*** Please note, may contain first volume spoilers below ***
After killing Beck, Joe returns to his normal life working at the bookstore, where he quickly meets Amy Adams, who occupies the vacancy left by Beck- in the bookstore and in the relationship with the protagonist. Joe is in love with Amy and particularly likes her for not being able to chase her on social networks since she is an offline person. The girl has no social network account, bank account and only uses a disposable prepaid mobile phone. All of this, when presented, quickly makes the reader suspicious, but the passionate blind Joe, who, while not suspecting these attitudes, still enjoys looking at text messages and what he can achieve from the girl’s life occasionally.
When the girl strikes Joe, he gets consumed with anger and goes after her in his new home in Los Angeles to kill her. He changes his life, leaves everything behind and takes over in this new city, tirelessly looking for the girl and even killing anyone who gets in his way. Until you meet someone who promises to finally get this obsession out of your mind. However, his past haunts him and the risk of having his crimes revealed is constantly haunting him.
In You, Kepnes showed a great talent for narrating Joe’s distorted personality, exploring his obsessive side very well and how dangerous an innocent stalk can become to someone with a large abandonment complex. With everything he did in the previous work, the character becomes even more inconsequential and murder becomes something common to him. Her disorders only grow and with them, the author’s narrative, which seems to be able to go deeper into the protagonist’s psyche in this volume.
Joe’s personality peaks – where a moment is narrated as perfect by him, until a minute detail “spoils everything” and turns the occasion into a tragedy – increase in this work, further justifying his unthinkable acts. This time Joe is even more evident, since in the first volume much of Beck and his disturbances were explored.
In Hidden Bodies, we still have several troublesome characters being introduced throughout the plot, but they are transient and end up leaving the main focus only on Joe, becoming what the title itself indicates, hidden bodies wherever he goes.
The author manages to grow her character in this book, not only by deepening his psychological analysis, but by giving him a new path, which changes events dramatically at one point and still leaves a huge hook for the next work, as they exist by minus two more announced along the way.
In this saga, Kepnes is increasingly arresting, showing his talent for analyzing human psychology and bringing up questions that promise to leave the reader absorbed in deep self-analysis.