I have now bowed to the pressure from the sources I quoted above and re-classified it as an adult novel. I think the review below tells you the reason for my change of heart, better than I can.
The Girl in the Basement by Dianne Bates (Morris Publishing Australia)
PB RRP $19.95
Reviewed by Vicki Stanton
Dianne Bates’ new thriller The Girl in the Basement is a page turner that once started you will not be able to put down. Sixteen-year-old Libby is snatched off the streets by a man and spends the next few months swinging between terror and calculating her escape. Extra dimensions are added when Psycho Man, as Libby thinks of him, kidnaps a young boy to complete his family.
Bates pulls off a major writing coup: she successfully flits between the heads of Libby and her kidnapper giving us insights into the motivations and emotions of both. A lesser writer would have failed in this but it is testament to Bates’ skill that the head hopping enhances the story. I identified strongly with Libby’s ordeal. Memories of her own loving family strikingly contrast with Psycho Man’s warped version.
The mind of a psychopath is an unnerving thing to delve into. The accommodation of his distorted sense of reality into his life view is chilling, and fatal to others. Since I always hate to know the ending of a book, I won’t tell you whether Libby survives or not but if you are after a light read then this is not the book for you. There is violence, brutal at times, and more than one death (but no sex). The violence is always in context and never gratuitous.
This is definitely a book for older readers or adults and one that is particularly timely given the recent release of three women kept captive in Cleveland. While the events in this book are fictional, it is a disturbing reminder of the depths humans can plunge to. Fortunately, it is also a reminder of the strength of character and tenacity we can summon in the face of the most cruel circumstances.
If you haven’t read it yet and you love books that keep you reading because you feel like you are there with the main character and want to know what will happen to them next, do yourself a favour and read this book.