The Body Lies by Jo Baker

The Body Lies

A layered and thrilling suspense novel that grapples with how to live as a woman in the modern world - or in the pages of a book - when the stakes are dangerously high.When a young writer accepts a job at a university in the remote countryside, it’s meant to be a fresh start, away from the big city and the scene of a violent assault she’s desperate to forget. But despite the distractions of a new life and single motherhood, her nerves continu...

Details The Body Lies

TitleThe Body Lies
Release DateJun 13th, 2019
GenreFiction, Mystery, Thriller, Mystery Thriller

Reviews The Body Lies

  • Chelsea Humphrey
    By this point I'm sure you're tired of hearing me hem and haw over my inability to enjoy the flashy psychological thrillers being published these days, but I think I've found an excellent compromise. Enter the literary crime fiction novel: typically, it is dark, gritty, atmospheric, and brooding, and contains many of the suspenseful and thrilling components I've previously loved in the twisty new novels, yet with a more relaxed pace. The focus is...
  • marilyn
    The Body Lies starts with the assault of a thirty year old pregnant unnamed woman and this assault colors her life in the next years. Three years after she has her baby, she takes a job as a professor in rural England university, living apart from her partner/husband Mark, seeing him only on holidays and some weekends. Immediately the Creative Writing department, which should have had two experienced mentors, is down to just her and her boss is p...
  • Elyse Walters
    The beginning had me intrigued. I loved the writing. “The beck is frozen into silence. Snow falls. It muffles the road, bundles up the houses, deepens the meadows, turns the river black by contrast. It settles along the gray-green twigs and branches of the beech wood, sifts like sugar to the hard earth below —and dusts the young women curled there, her skin blue-white, dark hair tumbled over her face. She doesn’t say a word; she doesn’t e...
  • Miriam Smith
    "The Body Lies" by Jo Baker was a compelling, tense and suspenseful thriller that I enjoyed right from the start. “When a young writer accepts a job at a university in the remote countryside, it’s meant to be a fresh start, away from the big city and the scene of a violent assault she’s desperate to forget. But despite the distractions of a new life and single motherhood, her nerves continue to jangle. To make matters worse, a vicious debat...
  • Jill
    I was hooked on this book from page one—sinking into it like a knife into butter. The premise is galvanizing: a thirty-something woman takes a position as a creative writing professor in the rural English countryside on the heels of a violent assault. She is assigned six students, including the immensely talented and mercurial Nicholas Baker, whose work – he claims – is always based on “truth.” Yet the “truth” begins to get darker a...
  • OutlawPoet
    The book is described as suspenseful and thrilling. It's not.The story is plodding, with not much happening until the end. And even that end is more unsurprising than exciting.Our characters are smug and insufferable and they spend the book doing smug and insufferable things - all with an overlay of complete arrogance.Our main character has an oddly fatalistic viewpoint. Since things are going to happen to her anyway, she simply lets things happe...
  • Roman Clodia
    And I was struggling with my own question of whether there was a way to write female without writing body, and whether there was a way to be female without being reduced to body The thing I like about Jo Baker is that every book of hers I've read has been utterly different: she's not an author who writes herself into a rut. In this book she tackles fiction head on: how and why people write, writing as a form of gendered expression pre-loaded with...
  • Cathy
    When I reviewed Jo Baker’s book A Country Road, A Tree (shortlisted for The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2017), I described it as ‘clever, literary and powerful’. I feel the same adjectives can be applied to The Body Lies, the author’s foray into the psychological thriller genre but a book which still retains a distinctly literary feel.Perhaps it’s brave (or maybe a sign of confidence in one’s ability) to write a novel...
  • Barbara
    I chose to read (listen) to this book because I enjoyed A Country Road, A Tree, and took a liking to Baker's writing. She was educated at Queens University, Belfast where (I believe) she did her dissertation on Samuel Beckett. It was in Belfast in the mid-to-late 90's she recalls "You saw novelists in the street, poets at the cinema. You bumped into playwrights in the pub." That's my kind of city (Dublin used to be like that). My James Joyce Boo...
  • Michelle
    One of my GoodReads friend's major complaint about this book is that the protagonist comes across as weak. Things just happen to her and she accepts them. Extra work is piled on her. Her husband takes a lover and wants to leave the marriage. She never has much to say in defense of herself. She never seems to take ownership over her life and her destiny. One instance in particular that raised their hackles is the scene where she attends a party ho...
  • Susan
    This is a literary crime novel – where the emphasis is far more on the characters than a fast moving plot. That doesn’t mean this is not an excellent read, but if you read this thinking it is a fast paced crime novel, then you may be disappointed.The main character in this novel, is attacked, while pregnant, and this assault changes her life. When son, Sammy, is born, she longs for a safer, different place to bring up her young son. Three yea...
  • SueLucie
    I’d not be doing anyone any favours by rehashing the publisher’s blurb on the plot of this novel. Enough to say that a young university lecturer in creative writing finds one of her male students submitting pages of his work describing his relationship with a woman bearing a striking resemblance to his relationship with her. Except that his take on things is skewed and threatening. Jo Baker’s skills at characterisation and insights into mot...
  • switterbug (Betsey)
    Do women have agency over their lives, when threatened by men? How can this topic be grappled with without platitudes and clichés so that the story is bracing, believable (and imaginative) as it shakes us up and drops us in? Jo Baker convinced me that I was living in the house with our unnamed narrator, a London writer who was assaulted while pregnant by a large man in a blue anorak, and three years later is still traumatized and wants to leave ...
  • Claire Fuller
    I really loved the writing. It was a pleasure to read a thriller (if that's what it was) that was beautifully written. The beginning really pulled me in, as well as the university life - which I believe (knowing lots of university lecturers, including some teaching creative writing) was very true to life. I also loved all the narrator's students and how they all interacted in class. In fact the whole of the main story I really enjoyed and raced t...
  • Darcia Helle
    I'm cranky. Having established that fact, if you're interested I'll tell you why.This book is being marketed as "psychological suspense". It's really not. I've grown weary of the use of labels that don't fit, simply because it's the latest hot genre. This book is more literary drama, with a spattering of suspense here and there.I was initially intrigued by this story. The writing has all the hallmarks of literary fiction: introspective characters...
  • Siobhan
    The Body Lies is a tense and unsettling novel about the way men see women and the line between reality and fiction. A writer accepts a job at a university in the countryside, trying to escape memories of a past assault in London, and moves with her young son to make a new start. However, her new creative writing MA students end up having sharp debates about the treatment of women and women's bodies in fiction, and one male student starts sending ...
  • Kathleen
    This is being marketed as "thrilling suspense" and I don't think that is describing the book well and may set people up for a disappointment. In my opinion this is a very well written book that slowly plods along somewhat suspense-fully. I don't mean slow in a negative way. It's more of a very thoughtful story. One where I think the author put an enormous effort into the words and characters to bring the reader along a circuitous route to the end...
  • Donna Hines
    This is so much more than a thriller about a dead body and characters fleeing from their pasts.This is about nature v nurture for one psychopath writer in a creative writing class.This is about not turning a blind eye to a troubled individual who clearly needs help.This is about sexual assault, violence, trauma, and how society and cultural norms defines it all.This is about relationships and the depth they take on when they become personal somet...
  • Cynthia
    It was's billed as a suspenseful thriller.....but I really didn't get that out of it. I hate to say it, but I thought it kind of just a flat story...I never felt real warmed up/in to the main character, or any of the characters for that just felt like 'a story.' Certainly readable, but it won't keep you up all night wondering what's going to happen!I received this e-ARC from Penguin's First-To-Read giveaway program, in return...
  • Genevieve Taylor
    It starts with a dead girl, but The Body Lies is so much more than just a thriller. It's a literary analysis on the way that our social environment shapes creative writing and individual voice; a heartfelt depiction of assault-related trauma and the associated anxiety and depression; an incisive commentary on the constant, subtle ways that women's consent is invalidated. And on top of all that it's a riveting, compelling murder mystery, intensely...
  • Jeanette
    So I give it a full 5 stars. Is it perfect? Not entirely. But it's close. After finishing I did read others' reviews. Plodding? This is how fiction exists to meet life. And how women, no, a WOMAN- proceed to follow or connect to those paths of anxiety or extra radar or just a trying to keep to the middle line of the pulling "loves" dichotomies. This author gets the walk. Loving your child, loving your other, loving your work- and fulfilling caree...
  • Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)
    I loved the idea of this book much more than the execution. Ruminating on trauma and how it sticks around in our very bodies despite the passage of time and how words can have a true power, it revolves around writers and the writing process and the moments I enjoyed most focused on the process, the act, the discovery of writing, the power it has, the change it can enact in the minds of others. The story is very much interested in fact versus fict...
  • Nicole
    ***This will have spoilers in as I have lot to say about this read ***I did not read Longbourn but if you are looking for a historical read go elsewhere as Jo Baker has punched a belter of a contemporary novel & did not hold back.Straight in our pregnant bookseller heroine is attacked on her way home making her super wary of her space & afraid to go out.Quick happened move on with life as that is what we do, accepting we are no longer safe but ta...
  • Kirsty
    This is being pitched as a crime/thriller – don't expect that, or you'll be disappointed. But if you're interested in a beautifully-written, thoughtful slow-burn about a creative writing teacher who's a bit of a naive sap but very observant about the surface elements of the world, you'll like this.I love beautiful prose and I don't mind a slow burn, so I really enjoyed this. I was also sucked in by the focus on creative writing students – I...
  • Ashley
    An utterly absorbing literary fiction and psychological thriller set in the world of Creative Writing. I love a thrilling crime novel and I am a Creative Writing graduate, so reading this has definitely brought great nostalgia about the uni environment and so on. A pleasant and unputdownable read indeed.
  • Kat
    Ohhh this is such a wonderfully written book the prose is just sublime and flows from the pages immersing you totally into this heartbreaking at times but also full of hope story. This is so much more than a thriller it’s about how a woman deals with real life and you do find yourself thinking “what would I do , how would I feel and how would I deal with what is happening”. It’s a story that feels very real and the main character (who has...
  • Suzanne
    I first encountered Jo Baker's novels with "Longbourn", in which she went far, far beyond an homage to Jane Austen to force readers to rethink the whole issue of how and why Austen wrote as she did and focused on the characters she did, simply by re-telling the narrative through the eyes of the Bennet domestic staff. Oh, and she did it brilliantly.So, it shouldn't have come as a surprise that Baker, taking on the broad issue of gender equity and ...
  • Jacki (Julia Flyte)
    A clever and sinister little book. The narrator (I don't think we learn her name but maybe I wasn't paying attention) is a writer who is assaulted running in a London park while pregnant. Three years later she still bears the psychological scars and decides to make a fresh start by taking a job teaching Creative Writing at a university in Yorkshire. Her husband stays behind in London and commutes up most weekends. Her students are a small group, ...