Monday 9 March 2015

Normal by Graeme Cameron

NormalNormal by Graeme Cameron
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 304

Publisher - MIRA

Blurb from Goodreads

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 Review

Our main character is just your average chap, living within your community, in a nice house and looks after his garden. He is polite but not intrusive, you don't feel threatened by him at all he is so nondescript. However, you should be threatened, within that lovely normal house and well tended garden is a concealed cage, underneath the garage. Those who see it will never get to tell as our main character is a controlled mix somewhere between a psychopath and a sociopath. He is the perfect predator, he acts as he needs to, blends in to the normal, giving off an nonthreatening vibe and then he pounces! This is his normal, he hunts, he kills, he blends in and is aloof, his life is all about the hunt and kill. Until he comes across a girl in a supermarket checkout, something about her stops him in his tracks and suddenly he wants to be in her company & not to kill or eat her. As he starts to get to know Rachel and discover his humanity, he finds himself becoming "normal" however, his previous captive, Erica, is still alive in his basement and causing him to ask almost as many questions of himself as Rachel is.

This is a bizarre, freaky, chilling tale. We know virtually nothing about our main character except he is something between Hannibal Lecture and Dexter Morgan. I think this works well because he could be just about anyone, we have no actual name or description so the reader could picture him to be literally anyone. This works well in one way however it also leaves so many questions, if he has no job how does he afford everything, where is your usual nosy neighbour who spots this single chap with no job or set schedule. He kills for pleasure, his life evolves around the selection, hunt and murder. He is focused and never left any traces for the police, however, since kidnapping Erica, everything has changed. He doesn't bump her off immediately like so many before her, he goes home with a girl called Annie and strikes up a "friendship" with her, Rachel enthralls him and all this knocks him off his game. He comes under the notice of the police, he is questioning everything and his life is completely turned on its head. As a cold blooded killed, sometimes cannibal everything goes well, however once he starts to normalize thats when things start to go pear shaped for him.

I think the idea is fresh and it is interesting to get behind the mind of a killer, to see him transform from a single focused individual with only one objective, to becoming one who starts to see humans as more than sport. You need to suspend belief as some of it is a tad out there and I had a lot of questions left, however its a well written book that will draw you in. I most certainly would read this author again and maybe he will write more on the characters from this tale in their own right. 3/5 for me this time, thanks so much to Netgalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review and introducing me to a new author. You can get your hands on a copy of this from 31st of March, 2015 onwards from all good retailers.

View all my reviews


  1. Thanks for the honest balanced review of this one Lainy. I think I'll look out for it but not rush to get it soon.

  2. I have a copy of this one which has received some glowing reviews, I will now readjust my expectations regarding the suspension of belief which can sometimes ruin a book for me.... Thanks for a great review.

  3. Insightful review Lainy

    I find that these stories are extremely disturbing because they occur all too frequently. I would likely not read something like this.

    On the other hand, the plot development where the killer begins to transition into a normal relationship does sound creative and interesting.

  4. I'm intrigued. It sounds extremely disturbing an yet fascinating. I will have to look for this one.

  5. Oh wow I can see why you would find this book intriguing, I definitely would want to find out more about this main character too! Thanks for putting this book on my radar!

  6. Bizarre, freaky and chilly - you have me convinced. Sounds like a good read.


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