A. R. Torre
The Girl in 6E
Hachette (US: 27th January 2015; UK: 12th February 2015; AU: 24th February 2015)
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TRIGGER WARNING: The novel features child abduction, child abuse, child murder, and cat murder.
SPOILER WARNING: This review contains spoilers for the novel. They’re behind a link in Goodreads, but not elsewhere.
NOTE: The copyright page states, “A different version of this book was published as On Me, In Me, Dead Beneath Me.”
The cover summary’s a bit vague, so it’s hard to know what to say in case something is considered a spoiler. Hmm.
Deanna Madden’s full-time job is as a nineteen-year-old camgirl named Jessica Reilly. The business of it seems well-researched, though there are camming scenes that add nothing to the overall plot – so why are they included?
Deanna hasn’t left her apartment since she moved in three years ago. She never has people over, and even makes the package deliverer (who seems to drop by every day) forge her signature so she doesn’t have to face him. She pays her neighbour in pills of his choice, so he collects her garbage…and locks her inside at night.
Deanna frequently has the urge to kill. She figures if she locks herself in and keeps everyone out, there’s a lower chance of her murdering anyone.
When her door is unlocked during the day and Deanna’s good ear is covered, she doesn’t hear when the package deliverer, Jeremy, bursts into the apartment. At first, Deanna tries to attack Jeremy, but he easily overpowers her, and her thoughts of murder turn to thoughts of sex almost instantly.
The narrative makes a big deal about how Deanna supposedly wants to kill everyone, but her actions just don’t ring true. Apparently lust/love cures her, because she’s able to leave her apartment fairly simply. She makes the decision, and then she goes, with barely any hesitation. This would’ve been more believable if Deanna had progressed in stages: first, outside her apartment; second, into the elevator; and third, outside the building. Instead, Deanna overcomes these psychological obstacles in one clean hit.
Deanna easily locates the child, deals with the perp, and the child’s family promises her anonymity. While the novel is supposedly an “erotic thriller”, it doesn’t fully succeed in either aspect: Some cam sessions have nothing to do with the overall plot, and aren’t erotic; and the straightforwardness of the crime issue elicits no thrill.
As to why Deanna has urges to kill: as a teenager, she walked into the family home to find that her mother has killed her siblings and father. So Deanna kills her mother. That’s it. I believe with the appropriate medication and therapy, Deanna would’ve been able to process and cope with life afterward much more effectively. I believe she never really was a murderer-to-be – killing her mother was simply a response to what her mother had done to the family. Since Deanna doesn’t kill anyone after that, the whole “I’m a killer” facade seems just for show. She has plenty of opportunity to kill Jeremy, yet falls in lust/love with him instead.
As for Jeremy, he has no problem with Deanna supposedly wanting to kill him. Sure, she came at his throat with a knife, but she’s hot, so…not a big deal, supposedly? WTF?! What is this book: Hush, Hush? I know that criminal/killer-as-love-interest is a trope rather common in romance nowadays, and we’re all supposed to brush it off because “it’s fiction – it’s not real”. But attempted murder doesn’t say “hot” to me, but your opinion may vary.
The novel’s premise is a winner, but its execution lags far behind.
P.S. The “girl” in the title is actually a WOMAN: Deanna Madden. I don’t understand this titling trend of “girl”, when “woman” or “lady” would be more accurate.