A Publishers Weekly Best Mystery/Thriller of 2021
Audie Award finalist for Multi-Voice Performance
For fans of riveting true crime docuseries a la Serial and Making a Murderer, The Anatomy of Desire is a modern tale of crime and punishment exploring unbridled ambition, blinding passion, and the dark side of desire
Ambition. Passion. Betrayal. Murder?
Claire Griffith has it all, a thriving career, a gorgeous boyfriend, glamorous friends. She always knew she was destined for more than the life her conservative parents preached to her. Arriving in Los Angeles flat broke, she has risen to become a popular fitness coach and social media influencer. Having rebranded herself as Cleo Ray, she stands at the threshold of realizing her biggest dreams.
One summer day, Cleo and a woman named Beck Alden set off in a canoe on a serene mountain lake. An hour later, Beck is found dead in the water and Cleo is missing. Authorities suspect foul play, and news of Cleo’s involvement goes viral. Who was Beck? An infatuated follower? Were she and Cleo friends or lovers? Was Beck’s death an accident . . . or murder?
Told in the form of an immersive investigative docuseries, L. R. Dorn’s brilliant reimagining of Theodore Dreiser’s classic crime drama, An American Tragedy, captures the urgency and poignance of the original and rekindles it as a very contemporary and utterly mesmerizing page-turner that will keep you guessing... Did she or didn't she?
Centered on the world of social media influencers, the pseudonymous Dorn's remarkable debut takes the form of a true crime docuseries. Cleo Ray, who's bisexual and has risen from a humble background to become a successful fitness coach and social media influencer, and her lesbian girlfriend, Beck Alden, row their rented canoe to a secluded cove on Serene Lake near Bishop, Calif. The canoe is later found overturned, with Beck's bruised body floating nearby. Cleo flees to the town of Mammoth Lakes to rendezvous with her YouTube star boyfriend for a camping trip, never mentioning Beck or the canoe incident. Before long, the sheriff investigating the drowning finds and arrests Cleo. Cleo's uncle, the owner of a talent management agency, hires a high-powered L.A. defense attorney to represent her. The riveting trial, during which Cleo constantly changes her story, comes down to circumstantial evidence. The prosecutor even brings the canoe into the courtroom to reenact the crime. With no witnesses to the murder, readers will breathlessly await the verdict. Dorn, the pen name of husband-and-wife team Matt Dorff and Suzanne Dunn, is definitely a writer to watch.