The Edge of Normal
|"Patient privacy is strict office etiquette, another reason Reeve feels safe here. The receptionist never calls out her name,|
even if no one else is in the waiting room. Only her family, a few people in law enforcement, and Dr. Lerner know that
Regina Victoria LeClaire, the girl who was kidnapped at age twelve and held captive for nearly fours, has legally changed
"She is no longer "Edgy Reggie," the feral girl who responded to media attention by whacking down cameras. She now
thinks of herself as agile, not skittish. As serious, not grim. She has transformed into a composed young woman who is
living a pleasant, structured life. She even has a job...
"Nothing to report. No bad dreams. No panic attacks. I haven't had a nightmare in so long, I'm starting to feel boring..."
By Carla Norton
I was normal once and I believe I shall be "on the edge" for the rest of my life. I've tried to get off medication a number of times and failed. So I read this type of novel to hopefully understand... Many women in America, and perhaps men too, I don't know, have been or are presently taking medication for Clinical Depression--the catchall phrase for just about any stress that has made you less than normal. No, it doesn't have to be really traumatic like Reeve and other abused women. Mine sneaked up on me, from working long hours, from getting little support, from mental abuse on the job... Still I found myself on that edge too... Have you? Then read Carla Norton's book coming out mid-September...
In addition to a superb thriller, you will find the, sometimes, joyful results of PTSD--when Reeve takes control of her life and does what she wants and needs to do! For me, at times I felt like I was in her shoes as she struck out on her own... I don't know whether it is possible to have this individual continue in the role she had during the major part of the book, but, if so, I would love to see a series happen! Let's go deeper into Reeve's story...
|"It's just that the whole damn media machine is|
gearing up. And you can see what's coming." She
inhales deeply and it all comes out in a rush:
"All those talking heads, who have no right to be
pontificating, who can hardly pronounce captivity
syndrome, who haven't spent five minutes trying
to understand a damn thing about what abduction
really means, are already all over the news--"
she is hit by a wave of anger--"reading off
names of victims and their captors like some sick
shopping list. Like we're celebrities with no privacy.
While all those caged monsters are salivating in
their cells, getting off on the fact that their sick
psycho-brothers are out here roaming the street
and doing their disgusting, twisted, evil shit."
"Her speech becomes faster, her voice shriller:
"And they're already showing my old photos on the
air and making comparisons and talking talking
talking so that I'm back in the news and everything
is back in the news and now I'm having to confront
all those images and those memories of Daryl
Wayne Flint all over again!"
"Wow," he says. "That was good."
"Ha-Ha," she says flatly.
"I mean it. Did you hear the fury in your voice?"
When she was just 12, a sadist had kidnapped her, abusing her not only sexually but physically. She was still not over the trauma and continued ten years later with her now friend and therapist, Dr. Lerner.
Ezra Lerner, by the way, is one of the few who specialize in counseling those who have been kidnapped or traumatized in a similar situation. So it wasn't surprising to Reeve when he received a call about a new case in Jefferson County. He had to cancel her next appointment, planning to leave immediately.
But it wasn't long before he called Reeve. Tilly Cavanaugh had just been rescued, due to the quick action of a real estate agent who had discovered where she was previously held. It wasn't hard to trace who had lived there and where he was now living.
Tilly's parents were thrilled, of course, to have her back, but was hesitant about Dr. Lerner, as a man, becoming her daughter's therapist. She had asked if they could talk to one of his present patients. Reeve rarely got involved with people; however, she was so bothered about Tilly, that she borrowed her father's vehicle and drove to their home. She was already uptight because the media would start and her face would begin to appear as a previous victim...
And it made her angry enough to decide to face it!
Now, I'm not even going to go into the evil that is involved--you need to see how this plays out for yourself. Let's just say that thoughts of murder come often...to characters and readers alike...
|..."How old are you?"|
"So," Tilly says matter-of-factly,"
"you were in that dungeon about
eighteen percent of your life."
"Reeve considers this. "Yes, that's
"That's more than me."
When she reached the Cavanaugh home, she was welcomed and they first met with the parents, Tilly and, of course, Dr. Lerner. But then Tilly, surprisingly, had asked to show Reeve her room... The first thing Tilly wanted to do was...compare scars...
"Do you have any scars?"
"Reeve blinks, momentarily taken aback. "I do."
"Can I see?"
"The girl is so straightforward that Reeve can only respond in kind.
She takes a quick breath and peels her sweater off over her head,
realizing that this is the first time she has undressed in front of
anyone other than a medical doctor in years. She decides not to
take off more unless asked. Even standing in a bra and jeans, she
has plenty of scars.
"Tilly steps in close, her face expressionless as she examines Reeve's
skin. She tips her head from side to side, then slowly walks around
Reeve to inspect her back. "What are these long ones?"...
"Then with deliberate fingers, the girl touches a sequence of small
circular scars that run up to her elbow, shoulder, and back down again,
bending so close that Reeve can feel her breath.
"Finally, she stands back and announces, "I have those, too."
"In one easy motion, Tilly pulls her pajama top off over her head,
an act so completely spontaneous and unselfconscious that Reeve
realizes the girl is still accustomed to being naked.
"See?" Tilly says, raising her skinny arms toward Reeve. "Mine
are still pink."
"Reeve stares at the tight cluster of three fresh cigarette burns on
Tilly's pale skin...
"Reeve bites back a curse and mutters, "That sadistic scumbag..."
Don't like to see the reality of abuse? It's rampant in this world! The quicker readers face that this isn't just a story, the better it is. I applaud Carla Norton and others for making readers face what is happening. And I thank her for including the Resource Page for readers who might need it after reading this story.
Before Tilly's kidnapper was brought to court, he was murdered. There were two other girls who had been taken as well, assumed to be by the same man...
But, after he was dead, Tilly told Reeve a secret...
And Reeve responded... And where she went to see people, they started to die...
I loved this for Reeve's courage to strike out on her own to help others while she was still fighting her own battles. In itself, it is easily a 5+ thriller, but with the important issue covered, hey, it's a 10 for me! Norton gives hope for those who have suffered! Care enough to read it and understand...Speak out against violence against children!
THE EDGE OF NORMAL is a Royal Palm Literary Award winner and is already earning accolades: Jeffery Deaver says it's the "perfect blend of literary style, psychological insight and edge-of-the-seat thriller." Chevy Stevens calls it "a heart-pounding thrill ride that had me holding my breath to the end."
Carla also wrote DISTURBED GROUND, the true story of a white-haired landlady who planted bodies in her rose garden. In writing DISTURBED GROUND, Carla attended the nine-murder-count trial and again puzzled over psychological and forensic issues.
Carla is on Facebook and Twitter. She speaks at conferences and has appeared on Larry King Live. When she's not writing books about crime, she writes hotheaded essays and really bad poetry.
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