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The Girl Who Lived: Megan's Story Paperback – January 5, 2017
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"Megan Williams was institutionalized five years ago after she killed one man and castrated three others who raped and disfigured her. She earns her freedom by telling her psychiatrist that she knows right from wrong--just what the doctor wants to hear. However, she still plans to murder the survivors of her last attempt at vengeance, which occurred after she'd spent one year in a coma and another undergoing reconstructive surgery and physical therapy. Shortly after her return to Twin Rivers, Illinois, cops find the body of a castrated man and suspect Megan of the crime. Newspaperman Tim Goodman, however, connects the new murder to five of the dead man's associates, who are all inexplicably missing.
With police watching her, Megan puts her retribution on the back burner. Meanwhile, she's leery of her older sister Susan's new beau, Harry Berg. The mob-linked drug dealer hopes to launder money in Twin Rivers, and he's also in the process of meting out payback to those who've wronged him. Soon, the dead bodies are stacking up, and Megan is in danger of arrest. Anderson rivetingly presents his protagonist from a first-person perspective, which clearly shows her instability. As she reveals more details of her attack, it seems as if she's continually reliving it, which gives the book's title a sad twist. As a result, readers will initially have sympathy for Megan, but it may subside as the story progresses; at one point, Megan says that she tortured multiple men, all strangers who picked her up at bars, as practice for her revenge; after butchering them, she says, she "showed them mercy and slit their throats to make certain they died." Still, the story's intensity rises with each new murder victim, as each puts Megan or someone she knows in potential danger.
Anderson, meanwhile, does add glimmers of hope, as when he shows that Megan regrets at least one of her killings.
A relentlessly gloomy but memorable tale that explores questions of morality." -- Kirkus Reviews
This dark thriller that approaches horror terrain, carefully weaves multiple side stories into the central narrative; the result is a cohesive tale of abuse and revenge, but also of love, respect, and healing.
The author's use of first-person narrative for Megan Williams, and third-person for all other characters, is hauntingly effective. Anderson is unflinching in her descriptions of her character's ordeal and of her lasting scars, both physical and psychological.
Anderson delivers on many of the satisfying conventions of the revenge story, while integrating an inspired level of psychological nuance.
Anderson excels at crafting complex characterizations in both the central protagonist and the villainous figures throughout. No character is beyond reproach; many are deserving of contempt and comeuppance, yet each reads as fundamentally human."
--The BookLife Prize
About the Author
Paul Dale Anderson has written dozens of novels and hundreds of short stories, mostly in the thriller, mystery, horror, fantasy, and science fiction genres. Paul has also written contemporary romanc-es and westerns. Paul is an Active Member of SFWA and HWA, and he was elected Vice President and Trustee of Horror Writers Association in 1987. He is a current member of International Thrill-er Writers, Author’s Guild, and MWA. Paul has taught creative writing at the University of Illinois at Chi-cago and for Writers Digest School. He has appeared on panels at Chicon4 and Chicon7, MidAmeriCon2, X-Con, Windy Con, Mad-con, Odyssey Con, Minncon, Stokercon, Thrillerfest, the World Horror Convention, and the World Fantasy Convention. Paul was a guest of honor at Horror Fest in Estes Park, Colorado, in 1989. Paul is also an NGH Certified Hypnotist, an NGH Certified Hyp-notism Instructor, a certified Past-Life Regression Therapist, and a certified professional member of the International Association for Regression Research and Therapies. He earned a BA in English from Loyola University, an MS Ed in Educational Psychology from Northern Illinois University and an MA in Library and In-formation Studies from the University of Wisconsin.
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