Kathleen W. (New Brighton, MN)
New Author Breaks New Ground for THIS Reader.
Carla Norton's THE EDGE OF NORMAL is an uncomfortable book to read. This is not because this debut author's publication is stale of plot or devoid of writing craft, quite the contrary. My reading discomfort was directly due to the timeliness of the abhorrent evil portrayed and the roaring success of Norton's writing in creating character and action for the reader. Author Carla Norton is THAT accomplished.
William Y. (Lynchburg, VA)
Reeve LeClaire, age 22, is a survivor. She is a survivor of a 4-year kidnapping/sexual abuse existence and 6 years of ongoing therapy. Through the efforts of her more than capable therapist, Dr. Ezra Lerner, Reeve has come to understand the dynamics of captivity syndrome: both the long term angst of the victim and the continual cruelty and cunning manipulation of the predator. Together with Dr. Lerner, Reeve is asked by the Cavanaugh family to mentor their daughter Tilly, a recently rescued victim of an ongoing serial predator case. In so doing, Reeve becomes embroiled in the case itself and ultimately, plays a pivotal role in its conclusion.
With the reporting of the recent years-laden Cleveland, Ohio abduction of 3 girls, none of us lacks for elementary background in kidnapping for sexual purpose. What I find so compelling about this fictionalized story,though, is the wealth of detail concerning the horrors inflicted on the victims, the pathological mind set of the predator and the various legal, media and police perspectives attendant on such a case. With the listing of resources consulted (and phone numbers provided for victim support), it is readily apparent that this author made a considerable and lengthy study of her subject matter. She writes not just to entertain but to instruct as well. Norton's framework of 80 chapters of 2-6 pages each, allows the reader to keep this cast of many characters in clear focus while following the many developing threads of the case. While Reeve LeClaire's solitary goal is simply to approach feeling "normal"after her own horrendous captivity, it is a different Reeve altogether to whom the reader bids goodbye at the end.
Yes, I was uncomfortable reading THE EDGE OF NORMAL...just as we all should be. Perhaps that is the point.
The Edge of Normal, by Carla Norton
Predators and their prey, villains and victims. By now a major genre in the area of thrillers and mysteries, the recounting of serial crimes and multiple targets—more often than not women—has captured a large audience. The Edge of Normal fits the bill nicely.
The main character, twenty-something Reeve LeClaire, had been such a victim as an adolescent and falls into an investigation years later of new crimes against young women that appears to replicate her suffering in the past. LeClaire still bears the scars, both figurative and literal, of her ordeal and it becomes increasingly difficult for her to retain any objectivity about the case.
A psychological thriller, sex and sadism characterize the villain's MO, and he covers his tracks with insidious ingenuity. A word of caution: parts of this page-turner may be too explicit for some readers, so be forewarned. For others, however, The Edge of Normal will provide the requisite chills and thrills, a book hard to put down. And let it be said that Carla Norton writes extremely well. A wide-ranging vocabulary and active verbs sustain her style effectively so there exists little chance of getting bogged down or dozing off.