You love me by Carolyn Kepnes

cover image

Before attempting this book readers should have read the previous books in the series, You and Hidden Bodies or at least be familiar with them through Netflix. The protagonist, Joe Goldberg has moved to a small town 35 minutes from Seattle for a quiet life, volunteering at the local library. We soon learn that he has been paid off by the rich family of the mother of his child, Love Quinn, on the understanding he never contacts her or attempts to see the child; he is bitter and angry about the arrangement. Joe has made a donation of $100,000 to the library and to avoid the background check which would have revealed his prison record and in the first person narration we are soon immersed in his inner dialogue. “I moved here because I thought it would be easier to be a good person around other good people, I moved here because the murder rate is low, as in not a single f.... murder in over twenty years” p12, but he has brought something dark into the community. Joe is instantly attracted to Mary Kay DiMarco, the librarian and he fantasises about their developing relationship, carefully cultivating her attention through shared lunches and Instagram posts. He keeps himself under control when he is introduced to her friends whose descriptions would rival some of the most distasteful social media posts by jealous “friends”. He has nasty nicknames for some of the people he meets, people at the library are "mothballs” and his neighbours are “fecal eyes", Mary Kay’s daughter is "Meercat” and they are repeated too many times. I haven’t read the previous books or seen the Netflix adaptations and wasn’t able to complete this book. The plot is tediously thin, filled with unattractive characters I could not care about and the denouement  is unconvincing.

Themes: Obsession, Psychopath.

Sue Speck