This post contains spoilers for the You book and TV series.
Joe Goldberg is coming back for book three of the You series, and this time he’s taking a page from John Mellencamp and moving to a “Small Town” — the serial killer is sick of being chaotic evil and thinks living somewhere more tight-knit will finally make him a better person. Plus, he apparently just really likes that song, according to author Caroline Kepnes.
Kepnes tells Rolling Stone that she’s writing books three and four of the thriller series for Random House, following 2016’s sequel Hidden Bodies. Books one and two inspired the first two seasons of TV show You, which stars Penn Badgley as Goldberg.
“I’m so freaking excited, working on the book now, revising a few parts,” Kepnes says. “Joe decides to live in a small community in the Pacific Northwest with a low crime rate. He volunteers in a local library. Joe thinks he can breathe in a small town because small town people are good people.”
In 2014’s You and 2016’s sequel Hidden Bodies, we meet Joe, a insular bookseller who falls in love with Guinevere Beck, an aspiring writer who walks into his store one day. After stalking her to better understand her and her interests, he moves in on his target — killing not only her boyfriend but her best friend along the way. Finally, he kills her, after locking her in an underground cage after she tries to leave him.
Hidden Bodies sees Joe moving to L.A. to escape his past — but he soon falls into old patterns, stalking heiress Love Quinn and eventually becoming her boyfriend. A few more murders later and he’s caught out by the police — leaving a pregnant Love behind.
If readers are afraid that Joe turning over a new leaf will mean less murder in book three, Kepnes assures us that is not the case. “Yes, the new book has a body count,” she says. He also somehow finds his way out of prison, she adds, although doesn’t specify how.
The author hints that music will also somehow factor into book three, which makes sense as it takes place in the Pacific Northwest, a mecca for Nineties music. “Joe meets a former grunge rocker,” she says. “I wrote some lyrics for the imaginary band. Gulp.”
You got the TV treatment in 2018 via Lifetime, then a second season on Netflix in late 2019. Season two did not hew as closely to Hidden Bodies, with Joe and Love moving to the suburbs at the end to live happily ever after — although, given his lust for an unseen neighbor, Joe isn’t ready to give up his stalkerish ways.
It’s rumored that there will be a third season of the show, but it’s unclear, should it come back, if it would follow Kepnes’ storyline. “I hope we get season three; I want more TV and more memes!” she says.
No word yet on when book three will arrive, but, in the meantime, Kepnes says Joe will keep evolving throughout the series. “Joe Goldberg is a father now. And that’s a life-altering experience that motivates him to make the world a safer place.”