The Girl Who Lived

Sequel to Spilled Milk



The Girl Who Lived  ISBN 978-937491-19-5 $14.95 trade paperback, $3.99 Kindle edition.

Megan Williams returns to Twin Rivers after five years in a mental hospital to take final revenge on the men who raped and mutilated her. But the tiny Illinois town has grown into a bustling Chicago suburb near the end of the Metra line, and Megan isn’t the only serial killer now leaving dead bodies littering the streets. Can Megan keep her sister safe and still exact her revenge? Or will Megan’s actions make Susan, Tim, and Elsie targets?



March 2, 2017 from 2AM Publications. ISBN 978-0-937491-19-5.  $14.95 trade paperback. $3.99 E-Pub and Kindle.




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



"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

As I work on The Girl Who Lived, the sequel to Spilled Milk, I’m acutely aware I’m a male writing from a female’s point of view. I have been both lauded and criticized for attempting to understand the female mind and portray a female POV in my novels. “How can a man possibly understand what it’s like to be a woman?” I’ve been asked. Here is my answer.


I love women. I’ve been married to three different women and I’m in an ongoing intimate relationship with another. I’ve lived with women all of my life. My mother was a woman. My grandmothers were women. My aunts were women. More than half of my cousins were women.


My daughter is a woman.


Most of my teachers have been women. Many of the writers I read regularly are women. Many of the students in classes I teach are women.


I am a trained observer of women. I learned to be an objective observer first in journalism classes and then in graduate-level psychotherapy classes at several universities. More than half of the faculty on my thesis and dissertation committees were women. Most of my therapy clients were woman when I was in active practice. I have had access to women’s innermost thoughts and feelings during hypnosis sessions.


I am a good listener. Women tell me they love to talk with me because I listen to them and show I’m actively listening to them by my responses to their statements.


And, lastly but not least, I am a human being. All human beings inherently have both male and female traits. I was likely a woman in at least one of my past lives. I was a female in the womb before testosterone kicked in and defined my anatomy and restructured my brain.


Yes, Virginia, I CAN write from a woman’s woman’s POV. And women CAN write from a man’s POV. Whether I write accurately or not is up to readers to decide.




Men and women, both being human, can be saints or sinners. Sometimes, one person can be—and is—both.

We human beings are products of our heredity and our environments. Identical twin studies show how experiences shape individuals differently even when they have similar heredities and environments.

Not only can no two people ever be exactly the same, one person will not be or act exactly the same one day as he or she will on another.

Human beings are adaptive. Experience changes us for the better or for the worse.

That is the central recurring theme of my new novel The Girl who Lived.



You asked for it. Here are the opening lines from the first chapter of THE GIRL WHO LIVED, a sequel to SPILLED MILK.

Chapter 1: “Yes, Doctor,” I lie. “I do know the difference between right and wrong. I know what I did was wrong.”

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© Paul Dale Anderson