Normal: A Novel by Graeme Cameron

May 7th, 2015 Kimberly Review 80 Comments

7th May
Normal: A Novel by Graeme Cameron
Normal: A Novel
by Graeme Cameron
Published by: Audible
Narrator: Julian Elfer
Length: 6 hrs and 40 mins
Genres: Horror, Thriller
Source: Purchase
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

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.

About Graeme Cameron

Graeme Cameron is the author of almost three short stories, two country songs and literally dozens of angry emails, including such classics as This Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken, The Car You Sold Me Is On Fire, and the hilarious and moving Re: Restraining Order (I’m in your house LOL). Graeme lives in Norfolk and has never worked as a police detective, ER doctor, crime reporter or forensic anthropologist.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. She's a self-professed Whovian, as well as a Supernatural, and Sherlock Holmes junkie, She enjoys sharing books, tips, recipes and hosting the Sunday Post. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat...Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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80 Responses to “Normal: A Novel by Graeme Cameron”

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Yeah but for me he was a contradiction and it fit

  1. Lupdilup

    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!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It happens, perhaps this would have been better read

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I agree it was a different take and unusual.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Enjoy Grace 🙂 it was different and fresh

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Enjoy either way Sophia..this was different and quite good

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I enjoyed it as well, although it wasn’t as dark as I expected.

  2. Jenny

    “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!

    Jenny recently posted: Review: Still the One
    • kimbacaffeinate

      Right…I had to stop and pause when I realized I was worried about him..sick right.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It was creepy, and oh so different then anything out there Stormi

    • kimbacaffeinate

      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.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I hope you try to slip into it, it’s unique

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Christy felt it was a closed ending. So maybe you will think so too.

  3. kindlemom1

    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. 😉

    kindlemom1 recently posted: Review: Ghost Trapper by J.L. Bryan
    • kimbacaffeinate

      It was weird caring about what happen to him but then again, I felt that way for Dexter as well. 🙂

  4. Paij Slater

    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!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      He really did and was well spoken. How about the little girl..gads!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      LOL, glad I could deliver and this one is rather twisty 🙂

  5. Debbie Haupt

    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!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Nope for a serial killer novel it was tame but crazy!

  6. Ramona

    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!

    Ramona recently posted: Free Ebooks
  7. Adriana Garcia

    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!

    Adriana Garcia recently posted: My Song Journal
    • kimbacaffeinate

      I agree, and he really did managed to get me caught up in everything

    • kimbacaffeinate

      What Christy didn’t make you already? LOL

      • Liz

        No! She didn’t even mention it. But I requested it at Edelweiss, so I cross my fingers lol

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I read I Hunt Killers and loved it 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      haha..and I love so many British actors.

  8. Laurel-Rain Snow

    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!

    Laurel-Rain Snow recently posted: AUTHOR’S HOME PAGE
    • kimbacaffeinate

      It is different and worth the read 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I liked it on audio and didn’t have those issues

  9. Karen Blue

    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.

    Karen Blue recently posted: UNDERTOW by Michael Buckley
    • kimbacaffeinate

      Oh I have never tried a text to speech Karen

  10. Kathy

    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.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I wasn’t ever scared..nervous yes, but it isn’t really that type of novel

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Yes, however perverted he does seem to have some kind of a moral compass

  11. Cynthia

    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? 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      OMG..Cynthia I loved You..five coffee cups to be that was creepy and twisted. This has all together different vibe

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Hehehe..I am a fan of the twisty too 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Did you think it was open? Christy didn’t.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I remember reading your review. I was surprised i got caught up in it all. It was different

  12. Olivia

    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.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I was surprised by the minimal deets but this was so unique and different.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      This was different and yes I enjoy the villains pov too )

  13. Lauren H

    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.

    Lauren H recently posted: The Sunday Post – OBN #8
    • kimbacaffeinate

      Not quite a thriller, although certainly suspenseful…this one is unique Lauren..looking forward to your thoughts