Deanna is a webcam actress and has a variety of different clients. She never leaves her apartment because she thinks she has uncontrollable murderous tendencies. She’s also a millionaire. Deanna gets a client who wants her to dress up as a young girl and be called Annie. She gets thoroughly creeped out and believes this guy – who calls himself Ralph – is going to abduct a real child. She pays one of her other clients, who is a hacker, to track this guy down. Turns out Ralph is called Michael and he has abducted his niece. Deanna kills him.
Oh and there’s a postman called Jeremy who walks into Deanna’s apartment and sees her doing her webcam stuff. Deanna attacks him and is like, yo, he’s kinda hot.
what went down
- We’re introduced to Deanna and her alias, Jessica Reilly. She goes about her webcam business and talks about how she’s loaded and has tonnes of clients.
- She has a regular postman called Jeremy who signs her packages for her because she refuses to leave her apartment in case she kills someone.
- She also has an arrangement with a neighbour. He locks her door at night when her murderous tendencies are apparently the strongest and she gives him prescription meds that she gets from her psychiatrist.
- Deanna says that these murderous urges started when her mother killed her entire family. Throughout the novel we get glimpses into what happened that night when Deanna was a teenager. Deanna’s mother sent her away to stay with her grandparents (Deanna later says that she thinks that this is because her mother saw much of herself in Deanna, and it would have been like killing herself) because she knew what she was going to do. Deanna sneaked home to go to a party but she came across her dead family. Deanna’s mother had killed Deanna’s younger twin siblings as well as her father, and she saw Deanna come in. Deanna killed her mother but didn’t tell the police, who thought that her mother had killed herself. Deanna’s mother had also thrown something at Deanna, which damaged her ear and caused hearing loss.
- Anyway, so the postman. Jeremy starts to become curious about Deanna. Who is she? Why does she refuse to leave her apartment? Jeremy has a deal with his boss at the postal service – he gets to deliver all of Deanna’s mail, even on his days off.
- One day, Jeremy leaves a package outside and pretends to leave, but he hides around a corner. He sees Deanna’s arm shoot out at grab the package.
- Jeremy returns another day and Deanna doesn’t answer the door because she’s busy with a client. Jeremy doesn’t know this, of course, and he hears a moan and thinks that the girl in 6E could be in danger. Like an idiot, he walks into her apartment (which isn’t ever locked from the inside) and Deanna attacks him. He stops her, and they share a kiss, then he leaves.
- Deanna has a client who wants Jessica to dress up as a young girl and act innocent. She becomes increasingly uncomfortable with this, despite having her psychiatrist tell her that it’s more about dominance than perversion, and she asks one of her other clients to look into Ralph.
- The story makes brief switches to focus on a young girl called Annie, who has an uncle called Michael. Coincidentally, this is what Ralph calls Jessica when they’re roleplaying. Michael eventually takes Annie from her home, pretending to have bought her a kitten.
- An Amber Alert goes out and Deanna hears about it. She alerts the police about this Ralph guy and gives them some details. They are hesitant to investigate, but they do. Deanna gives them Ralph’s full name, and he turns out to be Michael. They go to his house but they don’t find anything suspicious.
- Deanna decides to take matters into her own hands. She asks to borrow Jeremy’s car, and he agrees. And so she drives several hours to go and rescue Annie.
how did it end?
Deanna reaches Annie before the police do. Michael isn’t there when Deanna finds her in a secret trailer that Michael had bought. Deanna gets her out and kills Michael. Deanna then arranges to meet Annie’s parents in a car park, but not before she buys Annie a kitten. Deanna gives Annie back to her parents, and the kitten gets named Angel after Deanna. The cops find all sorts of incriminating stuff in Michael’s secret hideout that show that he abducted at least eight other girls. Deanna sells all her toys and packs up the webcam business and decides to start a new life.