Rosie’s #Bookreview Of Mild #Thriller PERFECTLY NORMAL by Douglas Renwick

Perfectly Normal by [J D Renwick]Perfectly Normal is a mild thriller and explores the harrowing subject of what happens to a child offender in the UK who is below the age of criminal responsibility.

At the age of almost seven, Angel lives a normal life with her family, until an incident occurs that remains unexplained to the reader. A year later, we see her wake up in a room which she calls a cabin. As the story evolves, it becomes clear that Angel is in a secure children’s care home.

Now an older teenager, Angel writes a diary about her childhood years.  However, she is frustrated that she doesn’t know what happened in the missing year; we learn about her life in snippets, dotting back and forth between past and present. The care facility gives Angel opportunities for education, and she has access to the internet so that she can learn about the outside world. When she turns eighteen, she is released into sheltered accommodation – the good news is that she can now apply for access to the police reports surrounding the incident which changed her life forever. She hopes that reading them will help her remember what happened and allow her to move forward.

I would describe this as a medium-paced story; I thought that events might have taken a creepy, sinister turn, especially with the suggestion of the supernatural. However, it did not develop in a way suggested by the tension of the earlier part.  I felt that opportunities to make this an intriguing page-turner were missed; had the story been written from the POV of Angel as an unreliable narrator, I think it would have worked much better.  Instead, the author focuses on the regulations surrounding underage offenders.  As for the ending, I found it too inconclusive, and rather disappointing.  Of course this sort of thing is always subjective, and it may work for other readers.

On a side note, the author provides an in-depth addendum at the back for readers who might have further interest in the child offender regulations.

Book description

Angel’s a perfectly normal young adult – except she’s spent the last eleven years in secure accommodation, locked up under the Children Act because it appeared she was ‘likely to injure’ herself or others. It was not a miscarriage of justice; there was no justice at all. There was no trial, no barrister to argue her case, no jury to decide on her guilt. And she has no memory of what she allegedly did, high up on a dark and windy headland in East Sussex, back in 2007. She’s determined to discover what happened and why, and where her true destiny lies.


Perfectly Normal by [J D Renwick]

9 thoughts on “Rosie’s #Bookreview Of Mild #Thriller PERFECTLY NORMAL by Douglas Renwick

    • Hi Robbie – thanks for your comment. Yeah, I screwed up the presentation. I think I tried to wrap the thing up in a bit of a riddle, and the ending turned out to be a disaster.


  1. The cover makes you think you’re going to be reading a terrifying thriller!
    Have you stopped putting the star rating on the review for the blog? (I like it when the rating is there, btw – it can give extra indication how good the book is!)


    • Hi Terry. Thanks for your comment about the cover. It depicts the main character after the RTI which changed her life.
      I think Rosie was being kind by not giving it a star rating!


  2. It is an intriguing premise, Rosie, but it seems it might have worked better if the story had been told differently. Great review, and I am sure it will be useful to the author.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Olga – many thanks for your comment. It is an interesting premise and I agree I should have told it differently. I completely Plough the ending which was meant to be utterly conclusive.
      You’re right. Rosie’s work will be very useful to me.


  3. This is an excellent review and very fair. What Rosie has achieved was a sound description of the story without giving too much away. But as the author, I think I can add that Angel wrote her story for her unborn son, knowing that she would not be able to keep him. My ending was designed as a huge wallop, drawing all elements of the story together, but regrettably it failed to deliver. A rewrite is on its way…


    • Douglas, I’d just like to give you a round of applause, if I may – for taking on board constructive criticism and not throwing your toys out of the pram. That’s quite rare these days! No one gets it right first time – and we never stop learning. I’ve been writing/publishing for over 10 years, and learn a whole bunch of new stuff with every book I write – often by re-reading my own books, and thinking, ah – that would have been better if I’d approached it such-and-such a way.

      I also learn from negative reviews; I am soon to publish my 22nd book and many of them have been widely read, so I’ve got a few real stinkers! But I take them all on board (apart from the personal choice ones, like those that give it 1* because I use language appropriate to the character!). One tip – don’t over-think. If you’re going to re-write, leave it a month or so, because you can get too close to it and not be able to see the wood from the trees. Oh, and another tip – write as a reader; take note of how other writers create suspense. Okay, another one…. yes, you have to get your facts right. But don’t concentrate on factual detail too much, because it can bore. Think about what would keep YOU turning the pages.

      Good luck!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Terry, many thanks for your comment and the excellent tips. I’m on my seventh book, so compared with you I’ve got a long way to go. I’ve just had a look at your books on Amazon, and they don’t seem to have any bad reviews – so well done indeed! I will add your latest to my TBR pile.


Comments are closed.