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.
THE ANATOMY OF DESIRE
by L. R. Dorn
William Morrow/HarperCollins, May 2021
Claire Griffith seems to have it all, a thriving career, a gorgeous, successful boyfriend, a glamorous circle of friends. She always knew she was destined for more than the life her deeply conservative parents preached to her. Arriving in Los Angeles as a flat broke teenager, she has risen to become a popular fitness coach and social media influencer. Having rebranded herself as Cleo Ray, she stands on the threshold of achieving her most cherished dreams. One summer day, Cleo and a young woman named Beck Alden set off in a canoe on a quiet, picture-perfect mountain lake. An hour later, Beck is found dead in the water, her face cut and bruised, and Cleo is missing. Authorities suspect foul play and news about Cleo’s involvement goes viral. Who was Beck and what was the nature of her and Cleo’s relationship? Was Beck an infatuated follower who took things too far? If Cleo is innocent, 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.
L. R. Dorn’s reimagining of Theodore Dreiser’s novel, told in the form of a true crime docuseries a la Serial and The Jinx—with characters speaking through the “transcripts” of recorded interviews—THE ANATOMY OF DESIRE exposes the ambition, sexual passion, and dark side of success that readers will find as achingly poignant as they did a century ago.
L. R. Dorn is the pseudonym for Matt Dorff and Suzanne Dunn. Matt Dorff is a Los Angeles native and graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, has written, produced, and/or directed over 60 hours of dramatic television (CBS, NBC, ABC, Showtime, HBO and elsewhere). He lives in Los Angeles. Suzanne Dunn is a two-time Emmy Award winner, has written two screenplays produced and aired on Lifetime Television and Ion Television. She grew up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and earned degrees from Penn State and the University of Chicago. She has worked at DIRECTV and is a member of the Producers Guild of America and Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. She is also a yoga teacher and lives in Los Angeles.