Duffy (One Love, 2014) offers a fusion of crime fiction, romance, and existential philosophy in this novel about a troubled young woman.
The storyline follows 19-year-old Amber Robertson from Maryland to New York City, where she hopes to put her promiscuous past behind her and begin a new life. But, burdened by financial hardship, she soon turns to prostitution to pay the bills. This decision leads to a series of events that will irrevocably change her life: she’s arrested for shoplifting, then charged with prostitution, and later drugged and abducted by one of her johns—a former restaurant manager from New Jersey named Miguel. When she regains consciousness, she finds that he’s handcuffed her to a bed. He tells her that he’ll still pay her for sex but that she’s essentially his prisoner until she learns some invaluable life lessons. Amber is forced to use her wits to survive long enough to either escape or convince her emotionally unstable captor to release her. When she’s finally free again and dating a passionate yet enigmatic movie theater manager named Jeffrey, Miguel’s twisted advice begin seeping back into her subconscious, and she starts to see her boyfriend in a different, and darker, light. This novel’s redemptive exploration of love and loneliness is simultaneously disturbing and thought-provoking. The storyline is conceptually and thematically intriguing—particularly in its exploration of the inner thoughts of its damaged characters. The novel falls short of its potential, though, due to sloppy writing, including numerous grammatical errors and stilted dialogue (“I am addicted, you see, to you. I cannot overcome this addiction”). There are also no page breaks between point-of-view shifts, which makes the novel seem jumbled together.
A dark yet hopeful tale of personal salvation laid low by inadequate editing.