Publication Date – 9 April 2015
“””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 only needs 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.” (synopsis taken from US version)
4 of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book from the publishers via Net Galley and this is my honest opinion of the book.
Our narrator could be anyone. The person you shared a lift with, or stood in line next to at the coffee shop. He has the same issues as you and me, bills to pay, chores to carry out. He has three women in his life; the one he’s just met; the one he saves on a dark night; and the one he has locked up in a cage in his basement. He was going along through life quite happily getting away with murder. His life was normal, it is anything but now.
This is a strange, chilling, intriguing book. The narrator is a nameless, faceless predator. He enjoys killing and disposing of women. Enjoys the hunt. Needs the power and the kill to still the feelings that threaten to overpower him. He is a loner. He is happy with this, until he kidnaps someone he can’t come to kill and falls in love with someone.
Two people may be given the same book to read but they never read the same story. Everyone interprets a book in their own way, picture a character in your mind and chances are you won’t be imagining the same person as another reader. Here, with Normal, that most certainly will occur. We aren’t told details about our narrator. And that is the point. He could be anyone. Killers don’t advertise their predilections. When caught, invariably the response by people is that ‘they appeared so normal’. Graeme Cameron has deliberately made his anti hero faceless and nameless. We don’t know his age, race or even his job. This makes it all the more real, and chilling.
This book isn’t for the faint hearted, there’s murder from the first page. But there is also humour. His relationship with the women bring some comedy and light-heartedness to the book. My particular favourite were the interactions with Erica. This is also a bittersweet tale. You want him to get caught, especially at the beginning. You want him to fall in love and give up his ‘hobby’, almost forgiving him his past if he promises never to do it again. You want him to be normal.
The anti-hero novel is appearing more and more and this is a great addition to the group. I’ll be interested to see what Graeme Cameron comes up with next.