The Edge of Normal, a thriller by true-crime author Carla Norton, is a fast-paced and intriguing read. The novel focuses on Reeve LeClaire, a woman in her twenties who at first seems like any other woman – albeit very insecure – living in San Francisco and working as a waitress to make a living. As the novel moves forward, the reader finds out that Reeve escaped a four year long captivity ten years prior after her captor, Daryl Wayne Flint, gets into a freak car accident while transporting her to a different location. Since then, Reeve has been working with her psychiatrist, Ezra Lerner, to move on from her traumatic past and embrace her future. However, when Dr. Lerner asks her to help a little girl, Tilly, who was also held captive and then rescued, Reeve’s recovery begins to go into a tailspin. As Reeve finds out more information about Tilly’s time in captivity, she becomes prey to a predator that seems to know her every move before even she does.
Norton does a fantastic job in keeping with the pace of a thriller. She gives the reader a look into the psyche of a victim of abuse and captivity, while also showing how the media and the public affects these victims and their recovery. The villain in this novel is truly evil and makes the reader root for his demise with every misstep.
While there are some areas in the novel that feel like they wouldn’t actually happen in real life or were too predictable, I was intrigued with the plot as a whole. Norton gave plenty of plot twists to keep me interested, but didn’t overpower the emotional evolution of Reeve’s character with pointless action sequences. I felt that every twist and turn Norton added to the storyline was vital to Reeve’s personal growth and helped Reeve in her goal of living a life not ruled by fear and paranoia from the trauma she endured as a child.
One negative thing about this novel was that there were many loose ends left open; many questions that I had were left unanswered. Overall, I would say that this novel is a must read!
Bethany Kelly is currently getting her MFA at Goddard College and has a BA in English. She is a writer, editor, and stay-at-home mother and wife who spends her spare time (when she has some) reading and cooking.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Minotaur Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.