Monday, August 17, 2015

Review ~ Normal by Graeme Cameron

Rating: 5/5 Stars
Author: Graeme Cameron
Available Formats: eBook, Paperback, Hardcover, Audio
Publisher: MIRA  
Publication Date: 03-31-15                Pages: 304
"The truth is I hurt people. It's what I do. It's all I do. It's all I've ever done."

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. He drives beside you on the highway, politely waving 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. 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.

My So-Called Review:
Normal by Graeme Cameron is a book that’s been at the top of my “to read” list all summer long. I just knew from all the buzz and reviews that it would be a book I loved but I was booked solid for 3 months with reviews so I needed to wait, which was really, really hard! I must give credit to one of my favorite bloggers for a moment before I continue with my actual review because it was seriously her review that made me jump up, run as fast as I could to my laptop, and order this book on Amazon. Tika, of fANGIRLConfessions wrote THE best review of Normal and I believe it’s quite possibly the best review of ANY book I’ve ever read. It’s really that good so if you have a moment, please go check out her review & blog because it’s totally awesome! So, after months of staring at this book on my bookshelf at home, I finally found myself in a position to read it. And thank God I was smart enough to wait till a weekend when all 3 kids were out of the house because once I started reading there was no stopping! 

Right from the first chapter we see lucks not on our narrator’s side; he’s just killed his latest victim and is in the process of cleaning and disposing of her body when her best friend shows up. This is obviously not part of his “plan” and improvises by kidnapping her and holding her captive in the cage in his basement. He knows he needs to kill her (and quickly) but for some reason that isn’t entirely clear to him, he doesn’t. This girl’s fearlessness fascinates him and he finds himself making more and more excuses as to why he should wait longer to kill her. While out on a late night food run for his captive he meets Rachel.  She works at the market and immediately our killer is drawn to her, but not for his “normal” reasons. He likes her, she makes him feel things he’s never felt before and soon they start dating. Now he’s questioning the things he’s done in his life, ultimately deciding he no longer has any passion for his pastime. All he craves now is a normal life with Rachel but to obtain that he’ll have to figure out what to do with the girl still locked in his basement. As he contemplates these things he becomes careless, starts making mistakes that put him in the direct path of the officers searching for the girl in his basement and the person responsible for the death of her best friend.

Normal is not your average, run-of-the-mill, serial killer type story. Yes I know, what book really is these days, right? But seriously, I’m willing to be that you’ve never read a story quite like this before! Author Graeme Cameron lets you crawl right inside the mind of a killer, someone who has no boundaries yet is oddly aware of this fact and of how NOT normal he really is. We’re never told his name, know next to nothing of his background and upbringing, have no idea where he works or where he gets his money, and probably most odd; we’re given no clues as to what he even looks like. With all that being said, I still felt like he’s one of the most fleshed out, fascinating characters I’ve ever read. At the beginning of the novel I hated him, he repulsed me and I wanted him to get caught because he was so full of himself. But as the story continued a strange thing started to happen, I found myself agreeing with things he was saying and laughing at some of his views about people and life. As I got to know him I found that I actually kinda liked him and his relationships with the 4 female characters in the book were fantastic! Then somewhere along the way I fell completely under his spell and even hoped beyond hope that somehow, in the end, he’d get away with murder AND get the girl of his dreams! 

I’ve read many reviews that compare Normal to Dexter and I agree with this comparison but only on a basic level. They are both serial killers that live relatively normal lives and who’ve integrated so well into society that they actually come off as somewhat model citizens. But that’s where the similarities end because Dexter only kills really, really bad people which is a big reason why we love him. Our killer in this story IS the really, really bad people and for some reason we still love him ;) Yes our killer in Normal tries to change his ways and redeem himself but I kinda get the feeling that if he suddenly decided to vacation in Miami he’d find himself strapped down to Dexter’s table. Good thing these guys live in different countries!

Normal is a dark and twisted tale that balances itself out with touches of humor and satire making it a perfectly blended thriller that can be enjoyed by the masses. And oh boy, what an ending! As soon as I read it I knew this was one to place on my Book Club shelf because you can’t read an ending like that without discussing it. It’s one in which everyone will have a slightly different opinion on what exactly happened and what it all means, I personally love these types of endings. There’s no cliffhanger here though so don’t worry, just a few things that were left open to interpretation. So take this into consideration if you’re still on the fence about reading it, I know some people don’t like endings like this. But that’s ok because it just makes it more special to those of us who do :) Thank you Graeme for writing one hell of a tale and I look forward to reading what you have in store for us next!

About the Author:
Graeme Cameron is the author of almost three short stories, two country songs and literally dozens of angry emails, including such classics as This Doesn't Taste Like Chicken, The Car You Sold Me Is On Fire, and the hilarious and moving Re: Restraining Order (I'm in your house LOL).

Graeme lives in Norfolk and has never worked as a police detective, ER doctor, crime reporter or forensic anthropologist.


  1. ohhh! That blurb sounds amazing! Glad you liked this book! great review Jen! :)

    Donita @ My Random Book thoughts

    1. That blurb just sucks you right in doesn't it! Glad you liked my review Donita and thanks for commenting :)

  2. This book sounds so awesome!!! I think it has been on my TBR forever. It sounds so dark and twisted . . . right up my alley. :)

    1. Cynthia if you love dark and twisted then Normal is definitely the book for you!! I had it on my TBR list forever and then it sat on my physical shelf for another few months. Once I finally started it I was kicking myself for not reading it sooner, it's seriously that good! So please, stop what your doing and go read this book!! Then come back here and tell me what you thought of that ending :)