Fear not, my lovely readers! I have been quietly busy outside of this blogosphere, even if you’ve not seen much of me. I actually finished this book over a week ago and am reading something else now, and I wasn’t going to review this, but then I figured… why not? Right?
So I’m not going to babble on about this one too much because I’ve had a few days to condense my thoughts. In theory.
Author: A. R. Torre
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Orion (12 Feb. 2015)
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…
I read this book in a couple of sittings. It’s not hugely long at 352 pages, and the novel reads very quickly. I enjoyed the premise a lot and had considered reading it even before my friend let me borrow his copy of the book. I’m glad I did read it, although I do have some reservations about the plot.
What I liked:
I like Deanna. She was a fun protagonist with an interesting dilemma. She wants to stop bad things from happening while also wanting to stop herself from doing bad things. It makes her life pretty difficult. She has a lot of inner strength, and I liked her character narration.
2. The premise
So, this premise seemed really fresh to me. I always like the idea of a protagonist who is trapped in a world of their own making and who struggles to make moral choices in an immoral world. I liked the promise of Deanna having a bunch of messed up internet contacts (which we did see some of) and I liked the ticking time-bomb we had in terms of Deanna having to make her choices very quickly. A killer stopping another killer seemed like a good idea!
What I didn’t like:
Although this list seems quite long, I’ll say that these elements didn’t make the book an unenjoyable read. Not at all. But like I said, I did have some problems…
1. It felt like two different stories
The more I thought about this novel after it was over, the more I started to think that it felt like the author was telling two separate stories: 1) the story of Jessica Reilly, the anthropophobic porn/web chat star who also happens to be a virgin and falls in love with her delivery man, and 2) the story of Deanna Madden, the serial killer who wants to save the life of a young girl.
While these two stories are not mutually exclusive, I did feel that more work could have been done to integrate the two elements. I wasn’t necessarily happy with Deanna’s decision to leave the apartment, and I probably would have enjoyed the novel more if she had somehow saved Annie using more of her seedy online contacts and less of her sort-of-out-of-character sudden bravery when leaving the apartment.
2. The ending & the love interest
I have to say, the ending sort of ruined it for me. I have a lot of problems with the idea that she could just… go back to ‘normal’ after the events of the novel. I wanted more of an exploration of the impact of Deanna leaving her apartment and the temptations she was exposed to outside.
And the whole bizarre relationship that is developed with the delivery guy (who is so super hot, guys) did bother me a bit because it felt out of character. I felt that a woman who had spent three years avoiding all human contact wouldn’t necessarily be so quick to join the dating pool again.
3. The details of Deanna’s past
I actually do like the backstory that the author has given Deanna. It makes her a very interesting character. However, I had wrongly assumed that Deanna had locked herself away because she had killed more than once before. I don’t know why I assumed this. Now, spoilers ahead, but this isn’t true. Deanna is not a rampaging serial killer as I assumed. And the fact that Deanna has actually only killed once before, and it was almost self-defence…? That kind of bothered me. Perhaps it was done in an effort to make her more sympathetic to readers, but honestly I would have preferred it if she’d been a full-on serial killer with a developing soft/moral side.
Anyway, like I said, I did enjoy the book – and I will probably be reading the other books in the series to see how Deanna grows as a character. And if you like erotic thrillers, definitely give this book a shot. 🙂
Sorry I lied about the length of this review. I can’t seem to write shorter ones!