True crime writer Norton (Perfect Victim) makes her first foray into fiction with a compelling—and timely—story about a woman kidnapped when she was 12 and held for four years. Now 22 and living in San Francisco, Reeve LeClaire depends on strict routines and sessions with compassionate therapist Ezra Lerner, an authority on “captivity syndrome.” Now Dr. Lerner needs Reeve’s help in treating Tilly Cavanaugh, a 13-year-old found a year after her kidnapping in Jefferson City, Calif. Reeve, a self-educated expert on longtime captivity, knows exactly how Tilly feels. But Reeve’s kidnapper was caught. Tilly’s abductor is not only still at large but also connected to the Jefferson City police. Norton skillfully keeps the suspense taut with myriad surprises while giving a tender look at victims whose ordeals are rehashed by lawyers, the media, and pop psychologists. Reeve’s realistic maturation into a woman who refuses to remain a victim adds to the intriguing story. 100,000-copy first printing. Agent, Liza Dawson, Liza Dawson Associates. (Sept.)
"Norton skillfully develops her tricky subject, gradually shifting from an emphasis on its tabloid aspects to a close identification with the victim/heroine in a story of justice served by the one who deserves it most." —Kirkus Reviews
“This novel is brilliant. A perfect blend of literary style, psychological insight and edge-of-the-seat thriller. From journalist Poe to protagonist Reeve—and a particularly horrific incarnation of evil along the way—Norton has given us living, breathing characters that we know and understand . . . and who inhabit our imaginations after we've finished this book.” —Jeffery Deaver
“The Edge of Normal is a heart-pounding thrill ride that had me holding my breath to the very end. With a compelling, tough-as-nails heroine and a truly terrifying villain, this is a book you won’t soon forget.”—Chevy Stevens
A victim turns vigilante in a cat-and-mouse tale of a child predator and his former prey. Once known as Regina, Reeve LeClaire changed her name and her life when she was rescued from a man who abducted her and robbed her of her childhood years before. Though the press baptized her "Edgy Reggie" because of her cantankerous attitude, Reeve's been keeping a low profile lately, opting out of most worldly interactions. When her longtime therapist and child abduction specialist Dr. Ezra Lerner approaches her about helping recently rescued abductee Tilly Cavanaugh readjust to her family and return to something like normal life, Reeve agrees reluctantly, making the trek from San Francisco to Jefferson City to be with the Cavanaughs. Tilly bonds with Reeve, treating her like a sister in sorrow and disclosing details about her captor that she's been afraid to tell the police. Though she's spent most of her life avoiding involvement with others, Reeve's vigilante instincts are piqued, and she finds herself intent on identifying the man who attacked and imprisoned the young Tilly. Norton alternates between Reeve's search for the child predator and the point of view of the guilty party, who's planned for the inevitable investigation miles ahead of any police progress. Reeve must understand the logic of a sick mind in order to stop a coverup in its tracks. Norton (Perfect Victim, 1988) skillfully develops her tricky subject, gradually shifting from an emphasis on its tabloid aspects to a close identification with the victim/heroine in a story of justice served by the one who deserves it most.
Regina LeClaire finally settles into a routine life after surviving four teenage years with a sadistic abductor, followed by six years of therapy. To reinvent herself and maintain her anonymity, she alters her looks and changes her first name to Reeve. Her calm existence disappears when a young girl named Tilly Cavanaugh is freed from a similar captivity and the media is again bombarded with stories of Reeve's abduction. The connection between the two girls takes a personal turn when Reeve is asked to serve as Tilly's mentor while she recuperates from her ordeal. As their friendship develops, Tilly discloses secrets that she has not shared with her parents or law enforcement. Armed with secret evidence she has promised not to divulge, Reeve becomes immersed in the case. She embarks on a personal quest to identify and locate the merciless madman who tortured Tilly and may also be linked to two unsolved kidnappings. VERDICT This debut thriller by the best-selling author of Perfect Victim: The True Story of the Girl in the Box features a suspenseful story line that realistically mirrors recent news headlines of captivity and sadism. Winner of a Royal Palm Literary Award for best unpublished mystery, this nail-bitingly delicious tale will be a treat for psychological thriller fans. [See Prepub Alert, 3/11/13; other forthcoming titles that deal with this same theme of captivity includes Koethi Zan's The Never List and James Sallis's Others of My Kind.—Ed.]—Mary Todd Chesnut, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Highland Heights