I received this book for free from Mira in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Normal by Graeme Cameron
Published by Mira on March 31, 2015
Genres: Adult, Psychological Thriller, Thriller
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"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.
A book about a serial killer in the eyes of the serial killer… I know what you’re thinking: the morbidness! The fascinating concept! The potential to show us what it is like on the other side of the fence! The opportunity to give us such a gritty, different, and complex story!
… which boggles the mind: how the hell did this one manage to bore me the frack out?!
Here’s the thing, ladies and gents: when we’re reading a perspective from the other person when it comes to controversial issues, I expect it to be… well, deep, because they shove us an extremely unlikeable person who does extremely unlikeable (read: detestable) things so they can humanize them to a certain extent in order to make us “see” where they are coming from (but not forgive… fuck no) and to see what factors contribute to such social ills. Case-in-point: Tease by Amanda Maciel, which is all about slut-shaming and bullying in the eyes of the bully, shedding light on the elements and societal structures that need to be improved on. These things add to the depth, to the complexity, to the value of discernment and discussion aside from the “edge” these kind of books usually give.
Unfortunately, that was what Normal lacked. It lacked substance. It lacked the internal conflict that would make the hero a “tortured” one (as the summary implies). I mean, I get the nature vs nurture thing it has going on and how people can *~*~*~CHAAAANGE~*~*~* but the whole thing was just ridiculous. We see a serial killer targeting predominantly women and we never really see why he does what he does. The backstory we got was so minimal it didn’t even put a dent on his character development (or devolution). Plus, the emotions just weren’t there… the writing was choppy, flat, and was mostly just describing the environment rather than actually talking to the reader about the serial killer himself and who/what he is and if there are more complex issues than those that are skin deep.
What a waste of opportunity, honestly. There were so many stuff here that didn’t seem irrelevant, a lot of repetitive ones even, and I seriously don’t need a 10 page description about how the dude “redecorated” a place to frame someone else for murder. If this had more emotion, if the serial killer was more fleshed-out, it could have been enjoyable and maybe even a page-turner. Alas, all I got from it was a yawn and a headache. Not the best combination.