Joe Goldberg's your average, cantankerous New York rare books seller. He's also an accomplished serial killer.
When we meet him Joe's lonely and looking for love.
Kepnes' much-praised 2015 debut You introduced Joe - who's fast becoming the Girls generation's answer to Patrick Bateman - he's charming, sexy and, after a disastrous relationship (guess what happened) Joe's looking for love. Being a misogynistic psychopath his standards are high.
But when blonde, blue-eyed Amy walks into his store he thinks he's found True Love. She looks like a girl out of a Guns and Roses video, knows the value of a Richard Yates first edition, shares Joe's love of Roth's Portnoty's Complaint and isn't averse to a little fellatio in a Starbuck's bathroom.
Pretty soon they're "like a f***ing John Mayer song come to life" and road-tripping to Rhode Island. But Amy's not who she seems - and - after breaking his pyschopathic heart and stealing his Roth collection - Joe's in LA chasing her down.
The cultural vicissitudes of LA is catnip to Kepnes - who, like another razor-sharp thrill-girl Gillian Flynn did her time at Entertainment Weekly; the delusional starlets, louche, script-writing hipsters and their "American Apparel conversations" all are skewered brilliantly.
The cultural vicissitudes of LA is catnip to Kepnes - who, like another razor-sharp thrill-girl Gillian Flynn did her time at Entertainment Weekly
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Joe - one senses much like Kepnes herself - loathes LA and wants to "tear people's clothes off their bodies in a non-sexual way, shave their heads, line them all up for Silkwood showers."
The book takes a big swerve when Joe meets Love Quinn and her brother Forty - Kepnes abandons the Amy plot and focuses on the rich and privileged Quinns (Lamborghinis, butlers and Paul Simon singing songs on the lawn). Joe - like all aspiring Californians - starts screenwriting.
That swerve seems to enervate Kepnes and the novel kicks into an even higher gear, more anarchic, funnier - has our psychopath really found his soul-mate?
Less a thriller than a satire on modern manners Kepnes' wry, scathing, acerbic and very funny novel is one you won't want to end. One of the year's best.
Caroline Kepnes (Simon & Shuster $32.99)