Book Review: The Edge of Normal by Carla Norton


Rating: 4.5 / 5

Reeve LeClaire is slowly trying to rebuild her life.  Ten years ago, when she was 12, she was kidnapped and held in captivity for nearly 4 years.  It is purely a fluke that she was rescued, and has spent the past six years working through the trauma.  Dr. Lerner is her therapist, and although Reeve’s father thinks she ought to  stop her sessions, she depends on Dr. Lerner, and in reality, Dr. Lerner is about the only relationship outside of her family that she can manage.  Then, news breaks that Tilly Cavanaugh has been found.  Like Reeve, Tilly was kidnapped and held hostage, and therefore, Dr. Lerner thinks that it would help Tilly and Reeve to speak to each other, since they are uniquely able to understand the events that transpired better than anyone else.  Law enforcement have arrested Randy Vanderholt, who is accused of kidnapping, raping, and torturing Tilly, but there is talk that Vanderholt does not have the mental capacity to pull off this sophisticated of an operation.  Add to that the fact that Dr. Lerner thinks that Tilly isn’t responding to the events the way he expected victims in her situation to, and Reeve begins to think that Randy Vanderholt might not be the end of it.

The Edge of Normal is equal parts creepy, thrilling, and suspenseful.  The book alternates between Reeve and the villain, and I had to keep reading to see how the two story lines converge.  The villain is despicable yet compelling and well developed.  Although I cringed through most of the villain chapters, I was also fascinated at how he could keep one step ahead of everyone.  I definitely did not like the villain, but I loved how Norton wrote him.

The book is fast paced and I appreciate the fact that there was a point to every person in the book and every event that happened.  Unlike other authors who pad their stories with unnecessary fluff, Norton gets in and gets to the point; it made it very hard to put down the book to do anything else. Although this is Norton’s first novel, I’m definitely hoping it won’t be her last.  Reeve LeClaire is a compelling character that she could anchor a series, but even if this is a standalone, I’m a fan of Norton and eagerly anticipate whatever she puts out next.

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