The Edge of Normal is the first fiction novel written by Carla Norton. Immediately the plot sucks readers in with the failed attempt to move Reeve LeClaire from one hiding place to another ten years earlier. It's the perfect mix of irony and realism. I don't want to spoil it because I thought it was pretty good.
The main plot in The Edge of Normal begins with Reeve speaking to her therapist Dr. Lerner. They discuss how much she's recovered since her abduction and captivity. Reeve isn't able to see the changes but Dr. Lerner insists they are there. Then news of a newly escaped victim, a young girl named Tilly, thrusts Dr. Lerner and Reeve back into the spotlight. The spotlight also places Reeve in danger of the person who's trying desperately to keep his secrets untold.
Carla Norton does not skimp on the details of the heinous crimes done to these girls while in captivity. The violence Reeve endured by the sexual sadist in this novel gave me chills. I could not imagine another human being treating someone that way. The Edge of Normal is not for the faint of heart, but it is such a worth it read.
On her journey to becoming "normal" Reeve discovers she can help Tilly, and others in her same situation. With her high intelligence, she is able to piece together clues that the police are either ignoring, or not made aware of. No one knows the dungeons like she does and she's hoping to find this accomplice for Tilly and every other girls sake. Reeve really evolves into a character that will stick with readers past the last page. I would love to see her featured in future novels by this author.
The Edge of Normal also showcases Carla Norton's knowledge of the differences between Captivity syndrome, Stockholm syndrome, and PTSD. This psychological insight gives The Edge of Normal a depth many suspenseful thrillers lack.
The one gripe I have is that the characters, outside of Reeve, Tilly, and the predator Duke, all seem to be under developed. There's a scene with Tilly's older brother that leaves me wishing he'd been kept out of the book. I don't know why every teenager has to be as selfish as they are written. It's enfuriating!! Also, the prosecutor Burke is a jerk. I mean what sadist crawled up her anus and decided to live there? Are all prosecutors that numb to cases and only want to win that they forget how to care? And a woman prosecutor at that who seemingly has no sympathy.
The Edge of Normal will have readers on the edge of their seats (cliche...I know but I had to say it). I am so happy I did not allow this to gather dust on my shelf. I recommend this novel to lover's of suspenseful thrillers laced with psychological insight. The Edge of Normal is such an awesome, page turning debut! ****