BOOK REVIEW: Normal by Graeme Cameron

Normal 
by Graeme Cameron (Goodreads, Twitter)
Published by MIRA on March 31st, 2015
Genres: Adult Fiction, Psychological Thriller, Suspense
Format: e-ARC (304 pages)
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble



This is a love story. No, really.

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.


Psychological thrillers aren't usually the hype for me because of the fact that I'm such a scaredy cat and freak out on pretty much everything, but I was willing to step out of my comfort zone. I thought I was going to enjoy Normal—I mean, it's about a serial killer who targets women and also, falls in love with another woman. Oh, the irony. It's a very intriguing story plot, and I just knew I was going to be engrossed in such a read. Although I wasn't completely wrong, I didn't enjoy this read as much as originally thought. Basically, I've got mixed feelings regarding Normal.

She's an American Beauty, He's an American Psycho


Our serial killer isn't the ugly, sketchy-looking man we see in public. In fact, he isn't the gorgeous specimen we rarely come across either. But what if he is? And the next thing you know, you're that girl who's seductively yet awkwardly trying to ask him out, and when you do have his attention, you've got a 50-50 chance of seeing the rest of your days alive and well, or dead in a ditch... or locked in a cage in his basement.

The first few pages caught me completely off guard; reading a book in a serial killer's POV was freaky enough that I actually got the chills and had an "Oh sh*t!" moment. Graeme Cameron did a great job in creating a terrifying character—twisted and deranged, who killed and stalked with extreme nonchalance and normality, plus the fact that he's unnamed. In all honesty, Cameron's attempt on our serial killer's anonimity had me thinking whether the pretty strangers I've come across in public could possibly be deranged as well.

Not only was his character terrifying, he was also weirdly likeable, and you just can't help but feel bad for him, but still, that didn't stop me from cringing at parts that made me shrug and roll my eyes.

0 to a 100, or Nah?


As much as I wanted to love this book just like how my beloved girls (Tika of Fangirl Confessions and Sarah of One Curvy Blogger) did, I just couldn't. There were just so many unfavorable things that popped up that made me wish this book would just end. I even had the urge to DNF it, but I didn't want to leave my girls hanging and I had the feeling of uncertainty since it was kind of early into the story, so I had to continue. But despite the sections in the book that made me feel bored and disconnected from the story, it was all okay in the end. Well, sort of.

One thing that bothered me was the love story. Sure enough, it was stated in the blurb that he was going to meet someone and get his humanity back, but the sudden transition from killer to lover was just too abrupt for my taste. Intentional as it may seem, it just wasn't believable at all, and when I read a contemporary fictionno matter what sub genre it is and even if it's just fictionRealism is definitely mandatory. However, our serial killer just went from sick and twisted to empathic, but don't get me wrong, I'm not disliking the idea of this novel being a love story, I'm basically just cringing at the immediate shift that I had to do a double take to make sure I didn't miss out on anything.

See, here's another thing that got me scratching my head, and that made me lower my rating. Normal was all types of inconsistent. Another thing was his variety of MOs. Now, I do not mind reading about a serial killer with various killing methods (because that would be freaking cool), but it is one thing to state that a killer is also a cannibal, and not further implicate the act of him killing and eating his victims. I honestly think that section was just an addition to the freak factor of the book and wasn't even necessary althroughout, but it did give me false hope regarding the story plot.

****

I'm not going to deny, Normal was a good read, but I just wasn't sold at all, but if a sequel is out there somewhere, ready to bust out, I am so down for that, because this book was just so open ended, I was met with frustration.

If you like the idea of "reformed" serial killers, maybe this book might just be your next favorite, even though it wasn't entirely my cup of tea.

20 comments:

  1. I saw this at Banes & Noble yesterday and already had on my mind that I was going to buy it. I looked on Goodreads, however, and there were so many mixed reviews on this book. FIrst and foremost, I love psychological thrillers, so this book sounded right up my alley. I loved the synopsis and how it set up for a great story where the psycho is actually have some emotions and feelings. This book sounds great, but I'm kind of reluctant because you have mixed reviews. TBH I've been waiting for someone to post a review on this book in the blogging community for ages.

    Alex @ The Book's Buzz

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    1. Hah, if you had read Tika @Fangirl Confession's review of this book, you might just have been convinced to buy it, lol. But it won't hurt to give this book a try. I'm just very nitpicky, which is why I felt the need to shred this book despite the enjoyable parts.

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  2. I am so scared to read such kind of books...kudos to you that you tried reading it and completed it!

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    1. It's not really a scary book. It comes off as freaky at start, but like the synopsis said, it's actually a love story. :D Thanks for stopping by, Nita!

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  3. I'm the same way - I like my contemporary at least a tiny bit realistic. Or at least, believable! Kudos for actually finishing for us, though. I am the world's worst at DNFing books I don't like. :D

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    1. High five, girl! I'm glad I didn't DNF it because then I wouldn't be all hyped up about Erica, lol.

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  4. Sorry you didn't enjoy this as much as you were hoping you would. I can see how it wouldn't be for everyone.

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    1. Yeah, but my friends did, lol. True, some books are just not for everyone.

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  5. Awww! I'm sorry you didn't like this one as much as you wanted to! I've never heard of this one, but I think I would probably be annoyed with the transition you mentioned, from killer to lover. I like that kind of romance trope, but it needs to be well-constructed and well-written! Ah well. Excellent review!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

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    1. Yeah, I think that's what went wrong, the execution wasn't properly done well, in my opinion. Thank you, Alyssa! :)

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  6. Despite all that was wrong..I ended up enjoying it.

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    1. That's good you did, kimba :D I just wasn't entirely sold on this book but I did enjoy some parts.

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  7. I'm intrigued, but at the same time, I'm wary. I don't know if I can be generous to the devil, yanno? And some books are just not meant for every readers, so don't feel bad.

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    1. It's weird because he's kind of a likeable character, despite his murderous capabilities. And yeah, I was just hoping I'd enjoy this book very much but, false hope.

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  8. So now we have two books to debate about, Twilight and now Normal lol. I'm glad that you stuck it out for us, because I'm pretty sure you would've DNF'd the shit out of it. I get how you wanted him to be as ruthless as he was in the beginning, I'm not even going to lie I LOVED that about him as well, but I think the author was trying to sell us a "Normal" story, wrapped up in a bit of craziness. Hence the title. Anywho, our buddy reads are NEVER boring, and I can't wait to try out other books together. I still think you're crazy for not loving this. What is wrong with you girl !!! Nah you know I love ya * kisses *.

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    1. Girl, Normal is a waaaay far cry from Twilight. Twilight is just *blechhh*. Hahahahaha! But though, I love our buddy reads, always fun even though we might not agree on the same books. Excited for our next buddy read! :D

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  9. Aaah, I like the concept of this book, it sounds unique and fascinating although, it seems less believable.. I have a hard time believing serial killers can change, they usually have a psychological problem to them. I still want to give this one a go soon! Glad you share similar thoughts, wonderful review. <3 Benish | Feminist Reflections

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    1. Yeah, the sudden change wasn't believable at all which made me not like this book so much. But give it a try, it might be awesome for you. :) Thanks Benish!

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  10. Ah, I'm so sorry you didn't like this! I actually love the sound of the summary, being a huge fan of psychological thrillers myself. But inconsistencies really bother me, and I'm not too keen on the main character suddenly switching attitudes just because of a girl. Fantastic review--thanks for the heads up!

    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings

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    1. I guess the author was trying to go for a dark humor kind of style, but it just wasn't for me. Thanks Aimee! :)

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