cover image You Love Me: A You Novel

You Love Me: A You Novel

Caroline Kepnes. Random House, $28 (400p) ISBN 978-0-593-13378-1

In the lurid third installment of the You series (after Providence), serial killer Joe Goldberg is up to his usual pathological tricks. After taking a $4 million payoff from his ex’s family, the Quinns, to stay away from his son, Joe moved to Bainbridge Island, Wash., where he’s found true love with librarian Mary Kay DiMarco. Her bestie, Melanda, described by Joe as sporting a “Body by Costco,” tries to keep them apart. So does Mary Kay’s CrossFit junkie friend from high school, and a goon hired by the Quinns to keep Joe under control. Joe does his best to be “Mr. Fucking Good Guy” while stalking Mary Kay, and congratulates himself for not giving in to homicidal rage after discovering she’s married. As the connection between Joe and Mary Kay deepens, complications arise, prompting him to kidnap Melanda. While some of the plot twists feel familiar, as does Joe’s unchanging and damaged personality, there’s a strange delight in watching Joe battle “the toxic cycle of masculinity” by committing heinous crimes in the name of love, all while congratulating himself on his kindness, patience, and woke-ness, and blaming everyone else for his problems (“Just once I’d like to fall for someone who isn’t handicapped by narcissism, but it’s too late”). Series fans will eat this up. Agent: Claudia Ballard, WME. (Apr.)