Deanna Madden, aka Jessica Reilly, hasn't touched another person in three years. She hasn't left her apartment. She makes money from performing to webcams on a sex site, where her clients pay $6.99 a minute for her time. She's doing alright. The dollars are piling up in the bank. She's the number 3 model on cams.com. And she hasn't killed anyone for years. But when Deanna sees on the news that a little girl called Annie has gone missing, the story rattles her carefully ordered world. It's uncomfortably similar to the dark fantasy of one of her most disturbing online clients. She's convinced he's responsible for the girl's abduction - but no one will listen to her. So, after three years, Deanna finally leaves the apartment. And this is what happens...
Last week, I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book from Hachette, and couldn't wait to get stuck into it. I was intrigued from the moment I read the blurb. I also really liked the cover.
Deanna Madden--or Jessica Reilly as everyone knows her--is a recluse. She hasn't left her apartment in three years. She has everything she needs delivered to her by a hot UPS guy, conducts all of her business online, and even maintains several professional friendships that way. She's also very successful at what she does and makes a lot of money by performing sexual acts via webcams.
Oh, and there's another reason why she doesn't leave her apartment--she doesn't want to kill again.
She meets all sorts of people in this business, and is actually rated as the third most popular model on Cams.com. Her apartment is a living space, a hoarding place, and a film studio with high-tech equipment to provide the best camera angles and audio to all of her paying customers. The sexual acts she performs and is forced to watch are just part of the job. She's hardly surprised by the large number of fetishes or requests made on a daily basis. But sometimes, someone comes along with fantasies sick enough that she needs to scrub it all away afterwards.
That's what happens the day a man asks her to dress like a young girl and starts calling her Annie. This guy's fantasies are horrible, depraved and Deanna keeps talking to him only because she hopes that by sharing these thoughts, he won't actually hurt any children.
However, the day Deanna finds out a little girl called Annie Thompson has disappeared in Georgia, she knows that she can't ignore the similarities. She has to do something more than place an anonymous call to the helpline. She has to actually leave the apartment. She has to face the world she's been hiding from and hope that she can stay in control long enough to save the girl's life.
While she's at it, she might be able to satisfy the never-ending itch that refuses to go away...
Wow. I was blown away by this story. Deanna is an amazing character. On the surface it's easy to assume that you'll dislike her because of her profession and the violent thoughts that keep her awake at night. But once you get to find out more about her and who she really is, you slowly realise that she's not a bad person. There were some pretty severe consequences in her past that shaped the way she is and what she craves. That she's managed to keep it together for years and locks herself up for the safety of others, also shows that she's not a bad person at heart. Sure, she's got some dark desires and psychotic problems, but at the end of the day she's willing to risk everything to save an innocent life.
I also really liked the touch of romance. Jeremy is such an interesting character. A man whose interest in the mysterious girl he delivers packages to gets him into some pretty dicey situations. It was sweet too, because in spite of everything, he takes Deanna for what she is and tries to reason it out, rather than trying to change her.
This book hooked me in right away. Though I have to be honest, if you're squeamish about sex, profanity or violence, this is probably not the story for you. But if you enjoy a twisted thriller that pushes the boundaries and then topples you over the precipice of sanity, then this is a book you have to read.
The Girl in 6E is many things: dark, intriguing, shocking, tragic, visceral, cheeky, sexual, and sad. But at the core it's a well-written thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The suspense gets so thick that I couldn't stop turning the pages to find out what was going to happen next. This is an excellent book that I would recommend to anyone who isn't afraid to read something different. A story so unique and honest that you'll soon realise that the eroticism isn't an issue at all.
The Girl in 6E, August 2014, ISBN 9781409155171, Orion