by Graeme Cameron
Narrator: Julian Elfer
Length: 6 hrs and 40 mins
Genres: Horror, Thriller
Narration: 3.5 cups
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.
After reading reviews from fellow bloggers, I decided I needed to listen to Normal by Graeme Cameron. I love twisted stories and the main protagonist of our story is a serial killer. Normal shares what happens when a serial killer falls in love. Dark, creepy and often hilarious I found myself listening into the wee hours.
Delivered through the mind of a sociopath and narrated by Julian Elfer in a dry English accent I slipped into the story from the first few pages. Cameron opens the tale as our protagonist is disposing of a body. The author offers us no name or description of our POV. Heck, I cannot even tell you what he does to earn a living.
While our protagonist is definitely, a killer he does not fall into the stereotypical parameters of a typical serial killer. His victims seem to be random and his methods change from killing to killing. Dare I even say he feels empathy? I would liken him to Dexter minus the meticulous evidence removal. It is a wonder to me that he has not been caught.
Normal was strange, creepy tone riddled with wry humor.Despite issues and the lack of gore and details typically associated with this type of novel, I had a flippin’ blast listening. I actual felt sorry for him. Seriously. I was worried he would be caught and found myself holding my breath. His newest victim is difficult, cops are sniffing around his door and he really likes this girl. He is a constant contradiction and that is why I liken him to Dexter. He helps folks, pays compliments and is at times downright charming. All of which is disturbing in itself because you know what he did last night. It added a creep factor I loved. I get the same way when I see clowns – they can be funny and interesting but dude they are creepy as hell.
So is it a romance? Eh, not really it is more of a glimpse inside the life of a serial killer when things get complicated. It is hard wooing someone with a girl caged in your basement. Cameron infused a dry, witty humor into a dark subject and despite all that was wrong, I kept listening and found myself wanting more. I found Cameron’s dark twisted humor to be witty and frequently involuntarily giggled . Sick right? I know, I know I should be ashamed but I seriously had a good time listening.
The ending is open folks. Whether to make you ponder or to allow for a sequel I cannot say but it worked for me. I have a wicked imagination but I am sure many will be looking for the missing page.
I know my dear friend Loupe did not like the narration but I felt Elfer’s dry tone conveyed the hilarity of the story and added that “clown” creep factor to our protagonist. I will let you decide for yourself.
Tyler H Jolley
I have had that issue with an Irish accent. The mc came across as a pirate to me, not an Irishman. It was pretty comical by the end.
:snort: that is hilarious
So, I’ve added this book to my TBR, but I have to admit, reading the book scares me a bit. I read probably one thriller a year, and this one might be to much. But I’m def intrigued with Normal.
Not quite a thriller, although certainly suspenseful…this one is unique Lauren..looking forward to your thoughts
I will forever find villain povs creepy, and this one sounds like it really hit the nail on the head. But stories like this really haunt me as well. Wonderful review Kimba!
This was different and yes I enjoy the villains pov too )
I don’t mind an open ending so personally I have no issues with that. I am not sure how I would feel not having that much gore in it if that is the kind of thing I would be expecting… but in this case it isn’t. I do like the creepy sense that he is a nice guy and pretty normal – except for when he is off killing people.
I was surprised by the minimal deets but this was so unique and different.
Blessie (Mischievous Reads)
Good to know you liked this more than I did. I just thought it was an okay book. 🙂
I remember reading your review. I was surprised i got caught up in it all. It was different
Happy you liked this one. It was so creepy. Yeah, not very romantic but I love getting inside the head of a serial killer. Though I did not like the ending.
Did you think it was open? Christy didn’t.
Yeses to twisted books, it sounds like my kind of book. He sounds like a sociopath but they don’t feel any empathy or remorse in reality.. Hmm sounds different though.
Hehehe..I am a fan of the twisty too 🙂
I need to read this one! I love twisty books like this. Have you read You by Caroline Kepnes? It is told from the POV of the stalker and it is SO good. I actually found myself rooting for the stalker on a couple of occasions. Crazy, right? 🙂
OMG..Cynthia I loved You..five coffee cups to be sure..now that was creepy and twisted. This has all together different vibe
This story sounds fascinating. I like the idea that the story has a serial killer that is a contradiction, and that you compared him to Dexter. A serial killer that shows empathy is almost a contradiction in itself. Interesting…
Yes, however perverted he does seem to have some kind of a moral compass
This does have its appeal. Oddly, I think I would only be able to read it and not listen to it. Listening would probably scare me too much b/c it makes it more real to me.
I wasn’t ever scared..nervous yes, but it isn’t really that type of novel
Oh, this sounds so much up my alley. I really need to check this one out. I’ll all in for a sociopath, and I think listening as opposed to reading will certainly heighten the thrill.
It did add a thrill Kathy 🙂
I am glad you sort of liked it. I don’t think I would have enjoyed that narrator, but who knows. I have become accustomed to the kindle female text to speech monotone voice delivering the story for me. I am glad you got a chance to read this one.
Oh I have never tried a text to speech Karen
The blurb is enough to frighten me — which is probably the author’s intention.
Felicia The Geeky Blogger
I have this and went ahead and got it on audio cause Loupe’s issue with it actually will work for me. I look forward to getting to it though it will be awhile 🙁
I liked it on audio and didn’t have those issues
I have been eyeing this one….and I think I’d enjoy it, if one can “enjoy” such a story….and it even reminds me of a movie I saw a few months ago. Thanks for sharing!
It is different and worth the read 🙂
Couldnt imagine listening to this read by a british accent, afterwards I’d probably avoid all british men for awhile. lol.
haha..and I love so many British actors.
The more reviews I Read for this one the more I am convinved to read it. I am fascinated by serial killers. You really need to read I Hunt Killers.
I read I Hunt Killers and loved it 🙂
Talk about being creepy to the 9s. I may have to give it a try. 🙂
Yes..that is a good description.
That’s it. I have to read this.
What Christy didn’t make you already? LOL
No! She didn’t even mention it. But I requested it at Edelweiss, so I cross my fingers lol
You captivated me with your review which makes me think Normal is going to be capture my attention even more. I can see where you would feel sometimes sorry for him especially when you related the main character to Dexter. There is just something a good writer can do. Make you see the villain as a nice guy and the the hero as a villain. This is going on my tbr list. Thank you for such a captivating review!
I agree, and he really did managed to get me caught up in everything
Very interesting, I have to read this! It’s fascinating to peek inside a serial killer’s mind 🙂 We, people, are such strange creatures… Great review!
Yes, yes we are 🙂
BAHA, I was listening to the sample and just as someone walked into the store it got to the “cut up his d—” part. And that has just made my day, lol.
Great review Kimba1
I remember seeing other reviews for this and I’m definitely curious! I like that it has a lack of gore, that was one of my concerns actually. I think I’ll add this to my audio WL. Awesome review!
Nope for a serial killer novel it was tame but crazy!
Oh wow Kim, I LOVE your review and my copy is sitting on my shelf, along with Method 15/33 waiting for the correct mindset that I need to read this kind of novel. I guess I didn’t realize it was set in the UK but duh, the author is from there. 🙂
My copy is the print variety and I’ll let you all know what I think. I did interview him back when the novel first released in early April and his answers to my interview questions, especially when he said he’d been wanting to write about a serial killer for years.
Thanks for making this novel climb just a little higher on the shelf!
Well I meant to say his answers really intrigued me, but oh well when you get my age you ferget things LOL
Oh I want to read Method 15/33 so bad…enjoy!
Oh yes I remember hearing a lot about this one, that’s true. It’s nice to see it was a good one. Maybe one day!
Kimba, giirrrll how did you know I was looking for a suspense story? I swear you read my Mind. This one seems twisted and with the dry humor you guys are talking about I can’t want to Dig in. Must have. NOW. 😉
LOL, glad I could deliver and this one is rather twisty 🙂
This book was a mind trip! I really enjoyed it. I like the voice on the recording. I think the thing that creeped me out the most about this book was that he seemed like a “normal” guy on the outside. I agree, it is hard to have a relationship when you have a girl trapped in your basement. Seriously, this book still trips me out. Sorry you didn’t love it like I did, but I am glad you liked it!
He really did and was well spoken. How about the little girl..gads!
I truly loved this read even though it was creepy, totally not my typical read and of course, through the mind of a killer, I found myself feeling for him as well, which, let’s face it, that would never happen in real life. Glad you did like this even if you didn’t love it as much as Christy and I did. 😉
It was weird caring about what happen to him but then again, I felt that way for Dexter as well. 🙂
I like that the book is told in the POV of a psychopath, but not that the ending is open. I just can’t deal with those in books. Great review, Kim!
Christy felt it was a closed ending. So maybe you will think so too.
I have an ARC of this and right now and am having a bit of a hard time getting into it as it’s always a verb verb verb kind of prose. I still really want to read it though because I want to experience the dark, twisty thingies inside it!
I hope you try to slip into it, it’s unique
This seems like my type of book. Love the story and the fact that the ending is open. Thanks for sharing!
Apparently the ending is open to interpretation and I am optimistic, as a few of my fellow bloggers felt it was closed. Would love to see what you think.
I have wanted to check this one out since I seen a review on another blog, it sounds creepy and right up my alley. 🙂
It was creepy, and oh so different then anything out there Stormi
“Seriously. I was worried he would be caught and found myself holding my breath.”
That is messed up in the best possible way Kim! I love that Graeme was able to make someone we should probably see as a monster into someone you were sort of rooting for. Love it. I don’t love the open ending though, I like things to be wrapped up neat and tidy with lots of answers to all my questions, but other than that this sounds amazing!
Right…I had to stop and pause when I realized I was worried about him..sick right.
Aww, I loved this one and thought it was clever. Not sure if I would’ve been into it with that audio though.
Hmm… I didn’t feel his killings were random at all. …
I enjoyed it as well, although it wasn’t as dark as I expected.
The synopsis – THAT synopsis!!! I love it.
I have to get my ears on this. Or my hands. Whichever one achieves it first. ^_^
Enjoy either way Sophia..this was different and quite good
This sounds really good. I have been liking reading twisty thriller. I will definitely check out.
Enjoy Grace 🙂 it was different and fresh
This book is so intriguing, especially coupled with a wry sense of humour. I read Dan Wells’ YA (almost) serial killer books which were angst-filled but oh so good. But that angst is what I’m familiar with. That’s why the humour sounds so brilliant!
I agree it was a different take and unusual.
Oh! How I wish I’d have had the same experience 🙁 and I get it, the British accent it’s fitting for dry sense of humor, but somehow I couldn’t find the soul in the narration, the twisted soul…LOL
I did enjoy the story, but I think I would have been so much more if I’d have enjoyed the narration, but I’m very glad you did 🙂
Great review Kimba!
It happens, perhaps this would have been better read
I like that voice…yeah, he does not sounds like a sociopath though
Yeah but for me he was a contradiction and it fit