The Body Lies by Jo Baker

With the influx of review requests from authors and publishers alike, it has become a rare occasion for me to stumble upon a new book with no preconception of what it will be. Such is the case with my latest read, The Body Lies by Jo Baker. I was browsing Goodreads when I saw a section of recommendations based upon other books I have read. Readers of my reviews will know I love a good thriller, so this title immediately caught my eye. I elected not to read any other reviews of the book, only the publisher's brief summary. More literary in nature than your average summer thriller release, The Body Lies is the sleeper hit of the genre this season.

Set in the dreary UK, The Body Lies begins with the main character assaulted by a man one night. The pregnant woman is walking home when she sees the man race past her. Before she has time to comprehend what is happening, he has her knocked to the ground and is on top of her. When he is finished with his deed, the woman is left cold, trembling, and unable to will herself to stand. Like countless other women who face the shame and horror that comes with an assault, this one quietly continues with her life. She goes on to have her child and dutifully fills the role of wife and mother. Still, the trauma of the evening stays with her. She longs for some kind of escape.

Three years later, the perfect opportunity for a fresh start presents itself. The woman is offered a teaching job at a college away from London. Her husband is not fully on board with the idea of leaving his own teaching job, so the couple agrees to live separate, still married but in different homes. The woman is eager to teach literature, a passion she hasn't fully explored since her novel did less than stellar. When a colleague takes ill, the woman is set up to teach a course in creative writing. She has little time to prepare the course but approaches it as a chance to truly make her mark at the university.

The small class is comprised of a group of ambitious young authors, each bringing their own unique voice to the table. From the variety of conceptual short stories, fantasy, and crime rises a standout voice that is as compelling as it is frightening. Nick is not certain what his writing will become, but there is no denying his talent. His grim words of obsession and violence lift off of the pages, earning the revere of his classmates and cautious interest of his teacher. For her part, the woman is not sure what to make of Nick. She is especially concerned about the rules that he has set for his writing. One, in particular, chills her to her core. Nick only writes about things that are true.

In The Body Lies author Jo Baker elegantly touches upon the ramifications of assault, obsession, and creative expression. There is a thinly veiled element of mystery layered into the book, but don't expect a breakneck thriller. Instead, Baker writes a brooding character piece that brims with an ever-mounting edge of psychological suspense. While the book is on the shorter side, it is a slow read that takes its time in laying all of its cards out on the table. Baker combines the unnamed narrator's voice with direct quotes from Nick's writing, allowing her reader to see both sides of the character's evolutions before they combine. The Body Lies is literary suspense at its finest, the kind of novel that stays on your mind for days after the final page. While this was my first read by Jo Baker, it certainly will not be my last.

For more information visit the author's website, Amazon, and Goodreads.
(2019, 25)

This entry was posted on Monday, July 15, 2019 and is filed under ,,,,,,,,,,. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

10 Responses to “The Body Lies by Jo Baker”

  1. Whew. Okay, I seriously did not expect this to be anything like this -- and damn does it sound good. Fabulous review, Ethan!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love when a book takes its time to build a story and delve into the characters. This sounds like a fantastic read!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The build up can be hit or miss for me, but this one certainly earns it.

      Delete
  3. This sounds seriously creepy. I placed a hold for it at my library.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've seen the cover around but I didn't know what the book was about. Sounds like an intense read. I'm fascinated!

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

    ReplyDelete
  5. You have me intrigued and I may have to try this one. I'll have to see if the library has this one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is worth a read if you can get your hands on a copy. Let me know what you think!

      Delete

Powered by Blogger.