During the past year, I have been swooning over a pair of novels about a beautiful, young woman with a tragic past…who just happens to spend most of her time fantasizing about ways to kill people. The woman’s name is Deanna Madden—aka The Girl in 6E by A. R. Torre. The book was a Top Pick in RT Book Reviews and, since they rarely steer me wrong, I got a copy shortly after it was released last summer.
Deanna is the narrator of her story, and she brings the reader up to speed right from the outset. She has voluntarily sequestered herself in apartment 6E to protect society from her murderous urges. Her only physical interaction with the outside world is to speak through her door to the addict she pays in drugs to lock her in at night and the UPS guy who delivers the necessities of life that she orders online. To support her unusual lifestyle, she works as a sex cam girl, offering virtual thrills to everyone from the computer hacker she hires to shield her true identity to the therapists she consults off the clock about her deadly obsession. She has made the best of her situation for three years until events conspire to lure her out of her safe haven…
When I read The Girl in 6E, I thought it was a standalone novel, but a sequel was released in April and received another Top Pick from RT. I found the first book thrilling, but Do Not Disturb had me on the edge of my seat—or, rather, the edge of my street. I listened to the audio version on my nightly walk and was so caught up in the story that I would often take another turn around the block so that I could keep “reading.”
For someone who doesn’t get out much, Deanna certainly leads an exciting life. The sequel picks up right where The Girl in 6E ends and it is a wild ride with several unexpected turns. Instead of Deanna heading toward danger, danger is now headed for her, and we get more insight into the other characters in her orbit. Despite the tense and sinister events of the novel, there is an amusing note at the end of Do Not Disturb, which makes it clear that readers owe a debt of gratitude to the author’s husband. It turns out that A. R. Torre’s imagination is, at times, even darker than her protagonist’s, and we have her husband to thank for pulling her back from the brink.
Deanna Madden has been compared to a female Dexter Morgan, but this is not merely a rehash of that series from a broad perspective, so to speak. There are certain parallels between the two characters, but Deanna inhabits her own world, both within and without. I found the descriptions of the sex cam profession fascinating, and Deanna’s desire to lead a normal life, coupled with her take-no-prisoners (well, maybe one or two) attitude, had me rooting for her.
If You Dare, the third book in the series, is scheduled for release in November, and A. R. Torre announced last week on YouTube that The Girl in 6E will be made into a feature film. However, before you dive into this series, take note: these books contain raw language, graphic sexual situations, and some instances of disturbing violence that are not for the faint of heart, so those with delicate sensibilities may want to steer clear. (We promote figurative swooning only.)
To help me endure the wait for the next chapter(s) in Deanna’s life, I think I’ll reread the series, so if you see me with a book in hand or my headphones on, please—do not disturb.
If You Dare was released this month and I dare say it was the best book yet in the Deanna Madden series. A. R. Torre ratcheted up the tension by teasing readers with an unsettling mystery for most of the book, doling out bits and pieces of the puzzle in a way that had me once again on the edge of my street as I listened to the audio version. Normally, it can take me up to two weeks to finish an audiobook, since I only listen for about an hour a night on my walk, but I knocked this baby out in just a few days. My house has never been so clean and organized as I folded clothes, washed dishes, filed receipts, and did anything else I could think of in order to keep listening.
In an interview with RT Book Reviews, A. R. Torre addressed the possibility that If You Dare would be the last book in the series by saying that, if she never wrote another Deanna Madden book, she thinks readers would be satisfied with the ending (I agree!). However, in the author’s note at the end of If You Dare, she says, “As far as whether I will write another book in this series, I think that I probably will.” (I triple-blog-dare you!) If she does, the wait for the next book in the series will be Madden-ing, so I hope she writes fast, because I really should clean out my garage…