The Girl in 6E by A.R. Torre

In brief: Deanna has locked herself in her apartment to control her murderous urges, earning money as sexy webcam girl Jessica Reilly. But when a little girl’s life is at stake, can she function normally?

The good: It’s unlike anything I have ever read before.

The not-so-good: It takes a little while to work out where the story is heading.

Why I chose it: Looked interesting and different from the blurb – thanks to Hachette Australia for the eARC.

Year: 2014

Pages: 352 (eARC)

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Setting: USA

My rating: 7 out of 10

Sometimes I’m in the mood to read something completely different, something that stretches the edges of my reading boundaries. On reading the blurb for The Girl in 6E, I thought this pushed the envelope a bit for me. Deanna is a girl who hasn’t left her apartment for many years. She makes quite a lot of money as a webcam girl called Jessica Reilly. She hasn’t killed anyone for some time, but when a little girl is in trouble, Deanna may need to act…

Okay, so that sounds a bit dark, a bit creepy – maybe Deanna is a retired, reclusive ex FBI/CIA agent? Perhaps an ex-soldier? Nope, it’s a bit more weird than that and things get even stranger as we learn more about Deanna and how she came to lock herself in her apartment. How she hardly ever answers the door. How half her apartment is set up as a college girl’s bedroom, complete with fake textbooks and studio-level lighting. How her murderous urges get worse at night…

This book was quite confronting on several levels – there’s the sexual things and fetishes Deanna (as Jessica) performs on camera told in detail. There’s Deanna’s urges to kill, blow by blow. There’s her request that her neighbour locks her in her apartment at night (in exchange for painkillers, which he’s addicted to) so she doesn’t go on a killing spree. It was all a bit too in my face at the start, then it got a little repetitive –sex, murder, sex, murder. Where can Deanna and the plot go to from here?

The answer is in Jessica/Deanna’s regular cam client, Ralph. Ralph’s a little weirder than the rest. He wants Jessica to dress as a little girl called Annie on multiple occasions. This raises Deanna’s suspicions – is this guy a paedophile? Or is it just a sick fantasy? Then a little girl called Annie goes missing and Deanna just knows the culprit is Ralph. (A little far-fetched, but definitely an interesting twist in the plot). So Deanna leaves the apartment, calling in favours from her clients and assistance from her deliveryman, Jeremy. Jeremy’s condition? He takes her out on a date. Can Deanna find Annie and can Jeremy survive the date?

The book was confronting in the context and Deanna was interesting in her absolute belief that she was a crazed killer. But was she? Her psychiatrists seem to be on the fence (possibly because she balances two, with phone appointments only). She has the ability to function, but has her past trauma caused damage or awakened madness? It’s never really explained, although I do believe a sequel is in the works. Some of the other characters have an overly trusting acceptance of Deanna and her actions – they don’t know what she gets up to, but they have no problem accepting the word of a stranger. The ending was a little too simplistic for me (I wanted to know more of the why) but this book was definitely a boundary-pusher for me. It’s dark, twisted and explores part of the human psyche that’s not commonly discussed in society. Will I read the sequel? Maybe – I do want to know more about what makes Deanna tick.

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