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A.R. Torre is also known as author Alessandra Torre, author of Sex Love Repeat, The Diary of Brad De Luca: Blindfolded Innocence, Masked Innocence, The End of the Innocence. The reason for the slight difference in author name is that while those other books are straightforward erotica and romance, The Girl in 6E is a mixture of sex and thriller. The main character, the girl in apartment 6E, DeAnna, is a psychopathic killer, or at least, she is obsessed with the desire to kill. She has locked herself in her apartment so that she won't succumb to her murderous feelings. So she has to earn her living online. She does that by doing sex chat on cams. She gets paid a lot of money for this: about $30,000 in a bad month. She has been living in her apartment for 3 years, never setting foot outside. She gets all her provisions by ordering it over the internet. What's more, she has two therapists to talk to. She talks to one about sex, and the other about her murderous feelings and fantasies. They stem from her own family tragedy, when her own mother killed her father and her younger brother and sister. DeAnna thinks she is like her own mother, full of a desire to kill. So she is like a vampire, sired by her own mother, never seeing daylight and locked up at night to stop her from killing. None of the psychology here is particularly convincing or even interesting, but it does raise some theoretical questions about the ethics of therapy, done by phone with a person who has a strong desire to kill.
The psychology of the cam sex is more interesting. DeAnna creates a separate identity for herself and she is obsessive about keeping to a schedule of camming. She knows what men like, which is why she is so successful. She sees the many perversities that turn men on, and she is happy to play into their fantasies so long as it does not involve rape or children. But she does has one regular customer who is interested in forcing sex on a child, and she plays along with him in the hope that it would stop him from carrying out his fantasies in real life. This provides the main drama of the story, and ends predictably. The theme of the girl aiming to get the pedophilic killer has been done quite a lot before, and Torre's approach lacks subtlety. The theme of DeAnna gradually becoming more normal and dealing with her murderous desires is more unusual, and is somewhat provocative.
However, the strength of the book is in its discussion of internet sex chat and camming. There is the familiar theme that this is a lonely and poor substitute for the real thing, but there is also an exploration of how it creates connection for some people. There haven't been many books that really explore different sides of modern cybersex, and Torre's strength in this, which is striking in the context of the story of a woman living in complete solitude.
© 2014 Christian Perring
Christian Perring, Professor of Philosophy, Dowling College, New York
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