Book Review: Normal: A Novel, Graeme Cameron (2015)

Friday, April 17th, 2015

I’m a loner, Dottie. A rebel.

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic copy of this book for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for suicide and violence, including attempted rape.)

The truth is I hurt people. It’s what I do. It’s all I do. It’s all I’ve ever done. I’m not…normal.

It’s a rare and fortunate man who can pinpoint precisely the moment his life began to unravel.

Mr. Normal (is it okay if I call you that, unnamed narrator?) is in the midst of an existential crisis. After a lifetime of killing people – mostly women, but occasionally men as needed, starting with his own father – Mr. Normal is in love.

Her name is Rachel, and she works as a cashier at the 24-7 grocery he often frequents. She escaped death twice: once in a car wreck that claimed the life of her younger sister, and again when she slit her wrists a few months later. She’s got dirty blonde hair and an infectious laugh and, bizarrely, she feels the same about him.

But life’s not a fairy tale, and as much as Rachel makes Mr. Normal want to renounce his serial killing ways, there’s just one problem: Erica Shaw, the twenty-year-old woman currently imprisoned in his basement dungeon.

Wait, make that two: the local police may or may not be onto him.

(More below the fold…)