Thursday, October 23, 2014

The girl in 6E by A.R. Torre

For three years Deanna has hidden behind the door of apartment 6E and behind the persona of sexcam operator Jessica Reilley.  She is not hiding from the world because she is afraid of the bad people, she is hiding to protect the world from the bad person inside her.  Ever since her mother murdered her family and then herself Deanna has felt a growing need to kill people, a need to feel blood on her skin and watch the life drain out of her victims.  Her apartment is her sanctuary and self imposed exile where she watches the world go by, her only real connection with the outside world is Jeremy the UPS guy who delivers her online orders of food and supplies.  But even Jeremy is always kept at a distance by the steel door of the apartment, scrawling her signature for her before leaving her packages at the door and walking away.

For three years "Jessica" has thrown herself into the world of sexcamming, becoming a highly sought after operator with a booming business and loyal clients.  She is confident and calculating, making the system work for her by carefully breaking the rules to make as much income as possible.  She has more money than she knows what to do with, but the job also helps the quiet the urges.  When one of her clients starts to creep her out with his requests she is torn because while she is happy to play at being "Annie" she has the horrible feeling that there really is an Annie out there - one who is in danger and doesn't even know it.  When her worst fears are realised Jessica takes control and decides to leave the apartment - but at what cost?  Is Jessica really ready to face the world again, and more importantly is the world ready to face Jessica?

There are some books that proudly defy the attempt of publishers and librarians to classify them into a single genre, and it is usually these books that are the most innovative, intriguing, mind-bending - or all three.  The girl in 6E managed to pull off the trifecta of genre bending by combining the best elements of a psychological thriller, sexually explicit romance, and mystery stories to become a unique and addictive read.  Starting with a somewhat startling sexually explicit scene the novel continues to built tension (action and sexual) as the story is built layer by layer and angle by angle before blending together into a seamless action/thriller sequence before settling back into the personal narratives.  The tension building is amazing, and it feels more natural for the story to start as segmented stories that blend together before returning to separate paths - it is what life is like after all, separate lives intersecting and then returning to individual lives.

There are parts of The girl in 6E that are definitely confronting and that some readers may find uncomfortable - in that case stop reading, but you are going to miss out on a treat.  Rather than coming across as sleazy, Jessica comes across as confident, strong, and clearly in control of her clients - her sexcam sessions are powerful and shows she is in total control of her body and her business.  The glimpses into her mind are just as fascinating, she is complicated and all too human as she wrestles with her demons.  This is definitely not a novel for the squeamish or the prudish and while it was not a novel where the content was enjoyable so to speak (I may be a little more prudish than I thought) it was and absorbing read and I hope the hints of a sequel are true because Jessica and her world are well worth visiting and I hope I get to visit again soon.

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Reviewed by Brilla

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