Title: Title: Into the Darkest Corner
Author: Elizabeth Haynes
Review: Here is what the book did well. It was a nice portrayal of how Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) works, especially as a coping mechanism for trauma. Plus its separation of OCD and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was nicely explained and demonstrated by the lead character Cathy. Essentially it clearly showed how an individual with OCD tendencies could lose control of their life when subjected to a vicious long term attack.
Too often we would look at those exhibiting OCD symptoms and wonder why they just don’t knock it off (They door is locked already). Mrs. Haynes wonderfully opens up this world of compulsion and the need for safety that is beyond their control. How they are always seeking comfort and security, and how they wish they could just leave it more than you do.
The other thing I really liked was the reliance of friendship and support. When Lee (the villain) was able to infiltrate Cathy’s closest friends and sow the seeds of doubts, she became more and more isolated. This allowed Lee to gain more power over her life, cutting off all avenues of escape. It wasn’t till many years later through the friendship of her neighbor was she able to start her recovery. When times get tough it is our relationships that will get us through. We need others for support and love when life doesn’t work out. That is why it is important to just be there for our friends when they are suffering, not necessarily to provide solutions, but just to listen.
As a point of personal preference the author told two different timelines in alternating chapters. We see Cathy as she gets involved with Lee paired with Cathy 4 years later in recovery. This style worked but I would rather have had a part one and two, but as I said that is not a knock on the book; it is just what I like. I supposed the advantage is we got to see the parallel of Cathy going from a free spirit to a mentally destroyed individual with a traumatized victim gaining her inner-strength back. Clever, but a little to much in your face for me.
Finally I thing a PTSD/OCD challenged girl just happens to have a trained psychologist move into her upstairs apartment just when she is ready for recovery was a little to convenient for the plot. It detracted from the tension the author was presented with the rest of the book. Anotherwords it was hard to get into the serious darkness of the plot when a metaphorical flashlight was right there.
Overall an excellent first novel that kept me entertained. I very much look forward to Mrs. Haynes sophomore effort.
Quick Review: 3.75 stars out of 5
Why I Read It: I will always read an English crime book, and this was in large print too (it makes me feel like a speed reader)
Where I Obtained the Book: At my local library.
Synopsis: Catherine Bailey has been enjoying the single life long enough to know a catch when she sees one. Gorgeous, charismatic and spontaneous, Lee seems almost too perfect to be true. And her friends clearly agree, as each in turn falls under his spell.
But what begins as flattering attentiveness and passionate sex turns into raging jealousy, and Catherine soon learns there is a darker side to Lee. His increasingly erratic, controlling behaviour becomes frightening, but no one believes her when she shares her fears. Increasingly isolated and driven into the darkest corner of her world, a desperate Catherine plans a meticulous escape.
Four years later, Lee is behind bars and Catherine--now Cathy--compulsively checks the locks and doors in her apartment, trusting no one. But when an attractive upstairs neighbour, Stuart, comes into her life, Cathy dares to hope that happiness and love may still be possible . . . until she receives a phone call informing her of Lee's impending release. Soon after, Cathy thinks she catches a glimpse of the former best friend who testified against her in the trial; she begins to return home to find objects subtly rearranged in her apartment, one of Lee's old tricks. Convinced she is back in her former lover's sights, Cathy prepares to wrestle with the demons of her past for the last time.
Utterly convincing in its portrayal of obsession, Into the Darkest corner is an ingeniously structured and plotted tour de force of suspense that marks the arrival of a major new talent.
Author Biography: Elizabeth Haynes grew up in Seaford, Sussex and studied English, German and Art History at Leicester University.
She currently works as a police intelligence analyst and lives in Kent with her husband and son.