Monday, 6 April 2015

"Normal" by Graeme Cameron

Thanks to Harlequin MIRA for supplying the review copy of this title...

How quickly could you spot a serial killer?  Male? Female? Young? Old?  In fact, most of us know that anyone of us could be a killer.  There are obviously recurring themes when you research the lives of these killers; dreadful childhoods, lack of love and support, lack of feelings etc etc... but very few people think of these things when they bump into a stranger on the street or park beside them at the supermarket.  Who is standing in line alongside you at the library?  How often have you seen the same person at the bus stop beside your local coffee shop?  Can you continue to believe that there is inherent goodness within us all, or should you start to doubt everyone you encounter?  There are no answers to these questions, by the way, but this is a book that will make you think about who you can trust and how much should you believe to be true.

The killer in Graeme Cameron's debut novel is very different to the ones we are used to reading about.  There is no swagger, no preferred 'type', no bigger plan.  He is just a confused man with a soft centre, who happens to trap women and sometimes murders them.  A man with an average appearance, a likability about him and an urge to hunt and kill.  He seems confused.  He wants to be the nice guy, genuinely has a good heart and, as far as serial killers go, treats his hostages fairly decently.  There is a gentleness about him which confuses not only his victims, but the reader too.  One minute you are shocked at his secret cellar and the mere idea of his entrapment of these women.  The next you are willing him on as he answers questions from the police who have their suspicions about him.  He knows himself that he is not 'normal' and even drops hints to people he encounters.  The writing is both shocking and comical at the same time,  The character is tragic yet warm, devious yet innocent and full of equal measures of darkness and warmth.  A very clever narrative which has echos of truth about it (The case of Natasha Kampusch comes to mind straight away, while further into the novel there are similarities to the hunting style of serial killer Robert Hanson), the novel is one that grabs you by the scruff of the neck and won't let go.  You know he is a despicable man who derserves to be caught, but the almost child-like innocence he portrays at the same time makes you doubt  it.  Like 'Dexter', the TV show serial killer, you are almost praying he won't be caught.  There is no doubt that the twisted mind of this man is not someone who should be allowed to roam the streets, among the 'normal', but there is more than one person who wants him around...

I  almost inhaled this book in one sitting.  It is clever, sassy, different and inspiring.  A brave new voice in the world of thrillers.  A voice that demands to be heard, and remembered.  Bravo Graeme Cameron.  Who wants 'Normal', in fiction, all the time??? A massive thumbs up from Bleach House Library!

Normal is published by Harlequin MIRA on 9th April 2015 in paperback and ebook format


  1. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I think I may have heard something about it but this is the first review I've spotted. It sounds intriguingly different to the 'normal' serial killer story, so one for the 'library wish list'.

  2. It is just fantastic! Let me know what you think :)

  3. I think I will love this, I'm definitely going to get myself a copy!


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