The Edge of Normal by Carla Norton (Minotaur, Sept. 10th,2013)-Reeve LeClaire, formerly Regina, or “Edgy Reggie”, is now 22 years old, but when she was 12, she was kidnapped and held captive for 4 years. For six years now she’s been rebuilding her life. She loves her job at a sushi restaurant, and has been keeping regular appointments with Dr. Ezra Lerner, a therapist specializing in the psychological aspects of captivity. When the news breaks that a little girl, Tilly, has been rescued from a similar situation, and her captor arrested, Dr. Lerner asks Reeve to work with Tilly as a mentor, someone that understands where she’s been and can show her where she can go from here. Reeve reluctantly agrees, and finds herself growing attached to this little girl and her family. There’s only one problem: there’s another man out there, one that will stop at nothing to keep procuring young girls for his own sick personal harem. He’s no one to trifle with, but he may just have met his match with Reeve.
The Edge of Normal, much like The Never List by Koethi Zan, covers a pretty timely subject: that of victims in captivity. We’ve all seen the headlines of how Ariel Castro held 3 women over a period of 10 years, and it’s a terrifying reality. This is Carla Norton’s first fiction novel, but she’s well known for her non fiction account of a woman held captive in a coffin-like box for seven years. It would be so easy to mine the perverse acts that these women have to endure for shock, but The Edge of Normal is not that book. The Edge of Normal is Reeve’s story. She’s no longer a victim, and helping someone else goes a long way over recognizing her self- worth and new place in the world after her childhood was stolen from her. She yearns for intimate relationships, not just romantic, but just connecting to another person besides her therapist and the well-meaning yet sometimes smothering attention of her family. She finds that with Tilly, and when she begins to dig deeper into Tilly’s story, she becomes a woman on a mission. The Edge of Normal is suspenseful, scary, and ultimately, very satisfying. It also brings us one of the most repulsive and arrogant bad guys in a long while. Seriously, repulsive is the tip of the iceberg with this dude. The author gives us glimpses of his world, and it’s a very dark, disturbing place. The Edge of Normal is one of the most entertaining thrillers I’ve read in a while, and certainly not to be missed!