Frightful Friday is a weekly meme in which I feature a particularly scary or chilling book that I’ve read that week. Have you read a chilling book this week? Tell us about it in the comments below!
The featured title this week is The Edge of Normal by Carla Norton:
- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Minotaur Books (September 10, 2013)
- ISBN-10: 1250031044
- Source: Publisher
At twenty-two years old, Reeve LeClaire is just getting her life back to normal. A decade ago, she was kidnapped and held captive for nearly four years. Thanks to her incredibly supportive therapist, Dr. Ezra Lerner, over the last six years rebuilding her life. When Dr. Lerner calls upon her to help another girl in a similar situation, Reeve’s decision to help “mentor” this young victim is a clear indication of her healing.
While the victim, Tilly Cavanaugh, wasn’t held captive nearly as long as Reeve, an instant connection was evident between the two girls. Tilly’s kidnapper was behind bars and this should have elicited a sense of relief in the young girl, but something still had her terrified. Once their bond was formed, Tilly admits to Reeve that the man behind bars wasn’t the only man complicit in her abduction. Another man, the one responsible for the cruel and malicious acts toward her, is still on the loose. To make matters worse, the elusive abductor is an expert on high-tech surveillance, allowing him to stalk Tilly, and now Reeve, reaching far deeper into their lives than thought possible. It’s soon clear that Reeve must not only help Tilly heal from this incredibly devastating event but also protect her from the man that is still out there, a man who taunts her family and haunts her every waking moment.
To understand the sheer brilliance of this novel one must understand a bit about the author’s background. Several years ago, Carla Norton read about a woman who was abducted and held captive in a coffin-like for seven years. She became almost obsessed with this story, so much so that she covered the kidnappers trial and ultimately wrote Perfect Victim, an account of the case, with the aid of the prosecutor. The book was an instant success, added to the reading list for the FBI’s Behavioral Sciences Unit and a #1 New York Times bestseller, remaining on the list for 18 weeks. And, according to Carla herself, the story haunted her and “my first crime fiction is inspired by my first true crime.” It’s not difficult to see the connection between the actual crime and the one that takes place in The Edge of Normal.
In addition to the author’s first hand knowledge of abduction cases, the one thing that makes The Edge of Normal a truly phenomenal piece of suspense fiction is Reeve’s character. Reeve experienced a tremendous amount of abuse during captivity, abuse that has left both physical and mental scars. Despite (and due to) all of this, she decides that she will no longer be a victim. The way she took control of her life, facing her fears (both old and new) is outstanding. A truly strong and powerful protagonist, she wasn’t going to allow any other young woman to experience what she did.
Additionally, The Edge of Normal contains one of the most terrifying and sick individuals I have read about in some time. Referred to as “Mister Monster” by Tilly, Duke truly is a monster, personified. He reaches into every aspect of his victims’ lives, even after they escape. The reader learns of his involvement within the first several pages of the book and is forced to sit back and watch as he torments his victims. His character continued to haunt me long after I finished reading this novel!
If you are looking for a brilliant suspense thriller with fast pacing, this is the title for you. Highly, highly recommended!