Book Review: Normal by Graeme Cameron

NormalWhat’s it about?

He lives in your community, in a nice house with a well-tended garden. He shops in your grocery store, bumping shoulders with you as you pass him and apologizing with a smile. He drives beside you on the highway, politely waving to let you into the lane ahead of him.

What you don’t know is that he has an elaborate cage built into a secret basement under his garage. And the food that he’s carefully shopping for is to feed a young woman he’s holding there against her will–one in a string of many, unaware of the fate that awaits her.

This is how it’s been for a long time. It’s normal…and it works. Perfectly.

Then he meets the checkout girl from the 24-hour grocery. And now the plan, the hunts, the room…the others. He doesn’t need any of them anymore. He needs only her. One small problem–he still has someone trapped in his garage.

Discovering his humanity couldn’t have come at a worse time.

My thoughts

I’m not a prolific crime fiction reader although I enjoy a good legal or psychological thriller so I requested this from Netgalley as I thought I would enjoy it.

I liked the idea of the book being narrated by the serial killer and getting inside his head, but in all honesty the dark humour just made me feel uncomfortable rather than entertained. I felt some of the incidents were a little slapstick and tried to lighten the mood but it didn’t really work for me; I couldn’t get past someone’s suffering being funny.

I got a little lost with the Caroline / Annie / Karen plotline and confused at what really was going on here, whether it was present tense or past tense, so lost interest in bothering to understand that he had a ‘normal’ side as all he had done had overshadowed that. I was also never really convinced on how the police looked at him as a suspect either, and when Green comes face to face with Erica yet does nothing; did I misunderstand what I’d read? I also didn’t think the book really explains why he does what he does unless I missed something.

*Mild spoiler alert*
Towards the end of the novel I think Erica was displaying signs of Stockholm Syndrome which made me feel quite sorry for her. To think that she thought her life at home was worse than the situation she was in was incredibly sad.

Overall, it’s perfectly well written, there’s no obvious faux pas (other than its subject matter 🙂 ) it just wasn’t for me. I think this says more about me and my choice than the book itself though.

Many thanks to the publisher Mira Books for approving me for a copy via Netgalley.

Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Connect with the author Graeme Cameron

Website | Twitter

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