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Normal by Graeme Cameron – a review

Normal is another of the many books I picked up at the festival last year. The cover of this book is pretty unremarkable, a picture of a few dark trees. However this belies a rather disturbing little tale. Normal is about a normal man who goes about the day to day business of life, maintaining his garden, shopping for food. The only difference is that he is a serial killer.  He kidnaps women, keeps them in a cage in his basement and then kills them. This all works out fine for him, until he kidnaps Erica who he quickly realises is slightly more challenging than others.

I enjoyed this book, despite the rather grim subject matter. It’s a novel that is clearly going to have comparisons with the Dexter novels by Jeff Lindsay that I am a big fan of, yet there is something different. In this although we see the crimes through the perpetrator’s eyes we don’t actually get to know his name. This gives the book a very intimate feel as you are almost living it with him.

It would be wrong to say this is a comedy as the story itself is so disturbing it’s not going to be for everyone but I must confess it certainly made me chuckle. I thoroughly enjoyed the humour within it, and felt that actually some of the female characters were strongly developed enough to make this less one sided than is often the case in books written from a killers point of view.

I did find certain aspects of this book a bit frustrating, for example the killer doesn’t seem to go to work. This is almost a lost opportunity as it would have added to the feeling of this being a normal man with a weird hobby. You also don’t seem to find out the motives behind the crimes which I imagine will annoy some readers.

However I genuinely couldn’t stop reading this book once I started and luckily it was over the holiday’s so work didn’t get in the way for once. I would throughly recommend this if you are looking for something that is most definitely not normal.


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