Using the point-of-view of a serial killer, this debut novel offers a fresh approach to what might otherwise be a little bit tired in the way of premise. The (unnamed) protagonist is your average man. Normal. He smiles at strangers. He helps people. He’s just normal. Aside from the fact that his hobby is murder. He has an elaborate cage in a special cellar built under his garage; yet he treats his captives with an almost kindness. As far as the storyline goes, there isn’t much that hasn’t been done before. The first person narrator, however, makes it creepy as hell. The worst bit? He’s actually really quite likeable. Yep. I found myself rooting for him as the police closed in. I was on the side of a serial killer. Now, that is terrifying and that is what makes this book stand out from the crowd. When I finally finished, I felt slightly shell-shocked. What does it say about me that I feel such empathy for such an evil man? I actually think it says a lot more about Cameron that he can create a humanness in such a vile character.
Quite a lot is left to the imagination in Normal. It does get quite gruesome in parts, but these parts are understated. The gore isn’t spelt out to the reader, rather dropped in in a scarily matter-of-fact way. Several times, I stopped and went back to re-read bits, convinced I had mis-read the first time. For the main character, his murdering lifestyle is ‘normal’ and it becomes that way for the reader, also. It is also darkly humorous in parts. I would laugh out loud, then catch myself and think ‘why the hell am I finding this funny?’. It made me question my sanity in a way few other books ever have.
It’s really difficult to say much more without giving away the entire plot; so I will leave it with this: this book is possibly the most psychologically scary I have ever read. It probably won’t be to everyone’s taste, but I do recommend it to anyone who loves a good thriller but is looking for something fresh.