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Book Babble Review: Anatomy of Desire by L.R. Dorn


The Anatomy of Desire: A Novel by L. R. Dorn


The Anatomy of Desire by L.R. Dorn follows the life of Cleo Ray, a Social Media Influencer and Fitness Instructor. But it does not follow her life as a Social Media Influencer, it follows her life as a murder suspect. Told as if it were a Docuseries, it follows this case beginning from end. From finding the body to the final verdict. The story is a modern reimagining of Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy. It takes a look inside the American Court system, Social Media, and makes you question what happened and who is telling the truth.


Below is a summary of the book's synopsis:

A modern tale of American striving, social media stardom, a fatal love triangle, and a young woman on trial for murder—a mesmerizing reimagining of Theodore Dreiser's classic novel of crime and punishment, An American Tragedy. Cleo Ray seems to have it all, a thriving career, a gorgeous, successful boyfriend, a glamorous circle of friends. She left her parents, traveling preachers, behind to build this new life in Los Angeles with her uncle's family. She has now risen to become a popular fitness coach and social media influencer. One summer day, two young women set off in a canoe on a quiet, picture-perfect mountain lake. An hour later, one is found dead in the water, her face cut and bruised, and the other is missing. Authorities suspect foul play and news about Cleo’s involvement goes viral. Who was the other woman and how are she and Cleo involved? Was it a follow who took it too far? If Cleo wasn't involved, why did she run? Was it an accident? Or was it murder? As evidence of Cleo’s secret life surfaces, the world begins to see just how hard she strived to get to the top— and how fast and far the fall is from celebrity to infamy.

Both Beth and Marissa read and listened to this book. So below is both of their thoughts on it. We received an ARC from the publisher and an audiobook version through NetGalley for review.

Beth's Thoughts:: 5 Stars

Color me blown away. Let’s just start by saying this is not my usual type of book. I’m pretty entrenched in my romance and women’s fiction with brief forays into some historical nonfiction or a good juicy memoir where someone pretty literally drags themselves out of the gutter. The Anatomy of Desire was both none of those things and all of those things wrapped into one theatrical production. Written in the form of a docudrama it took this listener (yes, I got the advanced audio for it) a couple of chapters to kick into the format of the story. A modern retelling of An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser, The Anatomy of Desire illustrates the pitfalls of social media and living life in the spotlight while trying to balance relationships and privacy. Once I got used to the style of the audio I couldn’t stop listening and each character in the story (which seems really weird to write since I forgot at times I was not listening to a true crime podcast) was voiced by a different person so this felt more like a production than an audio book. This book hits for fans of true crime podcasts, procedural series and Instagram true crime influencers. I’ve included the link to the audio on our Libro page because I thoroughly enjoyed listening instead of reading this one.


To listen to this book, check out our Libro.FM page.


Marissa's Thoughts:: 4 Stars

I will admit I do not remember originally what drew me into this book. I do think the cover is appealing but it ended up being much more interesting than I had originally thought. I seen the audio version of this on NetGalley and seen the words FULL CAST and knew that I had to at least attempt to read the story, follow that with seeing the world true crime docuseries and I was intrigued. The story itself follows everyone who would be involved in the case, the police, the attorneys, the family of both sides, the news, and of course the "killer" themselves. In the audio version, each character is told by a different voice. While the print version is displayed like a transcript with each person having their lines. This story was fascinating from beginning to end and it was so interesting to read. Due to formatting of this story it did take me a few minutes to get into it with the changing voices but once I was in the story I HAD to know what happened next. It did seem like watching a real docuseries or true crime podcast. I would love to see this turned into a real movie, it has real potential to intrigue all true crime lovers. The end had me thinking about it for a hot minute and definitely got Beth and me texting about it once we both finished it.


If you are a fan of True Crime. a good mystery, or just love books that are just a little bit different than normal this book will intrigue you. It got us talking about it in store and the need to tell everyone about it! We hope you guys had a great rest of you day.


Happy Reading!


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