Normal - Graeme Cameron

Genre: Thriller/Psychological
Synopsis:  He lives in your community, in a nice house with a well-tended garden. He shops in your grocery store, bumping shoulders with you and apologizing with a smile. What you don't know is that he has an elaborate cage built into a secret basement under his garage. 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. But just as he decides to go straight, the police start to close in. He might be able to cover his tracks, except for one small problem—he still has someone trapped in his garage. Discovering his humanity couldn't have come at a worse time.


Review: This was a pretty interesting read. Unlike most thrillers I read, there was no big whodunnit twist at the end, because the whole book is narrated from the perspective of a sociopathic serial killer. As this is kind of the selling point of the novel, I was hoping for a really exciting insight into a terrifying mind. While it was definitely fun to read the novel from his perspective (the narrator is unnamed, presumably an attempt to emphasize the fact that he could be anybody), he wasn't a particularly captivating character. None of the characters were particularly compelling really.

The writing was good, and the plot was definitely enjoyable enough to keep me reading to the end. There was a little too much of chapters ending with seemingly inescapable scenarios, from which everyone, of course, escaped. But as I say, it was enjoyable to read all the same. I did love the cops, I enjoyed reading the killer's interactions with them and their determination to catch him out but being unable to do so. The women in the book (which is, most of the other characters), left a bit to be desired. I found it hard to believe they would act the way they did - not utterly freaking out at being locked in a cage, seeming to develop something resembling Stockholm syndrome, and also not not questioning the weird actions of a guy you've just recently met. Hm.

An interesting read, but a little clunky and poorly developed, particularly in the area of characterization. Still, it was a pretty easy read (although a bit graphic in places), so if you're looking for something a bit different from your usual thriller, this isn't the worst choice you could make.

Rating: 3/5

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