The Girl In 6E
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley
Deanna Madden hasn’t left her apartment in three years. She hasn’t touched another person in three years. Whatever she needs she orders online and gets her delivery man to leave outside the apartment door. Only when he’s gone will she collect her packages and take them inside. She has reinvented herself as Jessica Reilly, a 19yo college student who pays the bills by performing to webcams on a sex site where clients can pay up to $6.99 a minute for her time.
Deanna/Jessica has a very strict routine and she has her well paying regulars. She’s very successful – she can earn plenty on the sex site and even more on her own site. She has learned a lot in her three years in the business and she now has a very professional set up with props and toys that can cater to just about any fantasy. And at night, one of her neighbours down the hall locks her in her apartment from the outside. It’s safer that way.
Because she has urges…and not of the sexual kind.
Then she gets a new client, one who wants her to put on young-looking clothes and call her by a certain name. It raises her suspicions and when a young girl named Annie, the same name that the client always calls her, disappears in the same area the client is from, she knows he is responsible. For a while, playing out his fantasy scenarios online was enough. She was able to keep his desires at bay. But he’s taken it one step further and kidnapped a little girl and Deanna knows that she has to do something. But who is going to listen to a sexcam worker who doesn’t have any evidence?
In order to find Annie alive, Deanna is going to have to leave her apartment…
I don’t know why, but a book that features a character that never leaves their apartment/house is pretty much an autoread for me. There’s something kind of fascinating about it – and the invention of the internet means that it’s pretty much possible to do this now if you’re resourceful enough to figure out how to earn the income. And Deanna is -quite- resourceful. Over the last three years she’s built up her online reputation as one of the most sought after cam girls and she is building up a nice nest egg. She could afford to move to larger, more luxurious accommodations but she doesn’t – as a punishment to herself for what she wants and what she’s done.
Deanna’s solitary life is interrupted in two ways: firstly there’s her parcel man, who becomes more and more curious about her and wants to catch a glimpse of her totally unaware of what could possibly happen to him should they come face to face. And then she realises that one of her regulars is possibly a pedophile and if she doesn’t do something quickly, a murderer as well. Deanna’s solitary life is shattered and she needs to basically deal with a lot of things at once, her impulses for one and also the excess stimulation of simply being in the world after three years locked away in her apartment. I actually thought that Deanna coped pretty well with the lights and sounds of being in the world again and thought that perhaps this should’ve been more of an issue for her than it turned out to be, as well as driving and negotiating traffic. She’s only in her early twenties so that’s rather a long time to spend away from driving.
I think that Deanna’s tendencies are an interesting addition and they certainly set this book apart from most others that I’ve read that involve recluses solving crimes by venturing back into the outside world because they’re the only ones who can help. Deanna is also lucky to have some sort of IT genius as a regular client that she can call upon to hack into whatever and get her information that she needs (as well as a GP regular). She also has two psychiatrists that she communicates with by phone that she uses for different things. Deanna is pretty much, incredibly resourceful. She knows how to cultivate good online contacts and she’s highly sought after. I’m assuming that the cost of talking to her regularly means that most of the people that seek her out have decent incomes and there’s one in Alaska that appears to fall in love with every cam girl he spends time with and he’s currently paying to spend time with Deanna.
I think the most interesting thing for me was Deanna’s sort of evolving relationship (if you could call it that) with her parcel man. She has this certain idea of herself, that she’s best locked away from people she may harm, that she doesn’t need anyone. All she needs is an income and Fed Ex to deliver her essentials and that’s it. But I think Jeremy tests that, because he makes her crave human contact (although that craving does war with another desire). I’m not entirely sure if Deanna has convinced herself of her violent desires because of her past. I’m trying not to spoil things here because the reveals are far better unfolding naturally into the story but I think there’s room to waver either way. She’s certainly not harmless but I’m not sure that she’s as dangerous as she thinks she may be. And I do kind of admire her for assuming that she is and taking measures to prevent herself from harming as best as she can.
I read that there’s a sequel coming and I’ll be super keen to read that and see where this goes because the Deanna’s unusual quirk really sets her apart from other characters who live their lives behind closed doors. I want to see more of her and Jeremy. He has the ability to shake her comfort zone and I like that.
Book #152 of 2014