Saturday, October 1, 2016

Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes


Into the Darkest Corner

by Elizabeth Haynes
Published: June 5, 2012
Genre: Thriller | Crime
Length: 416 Pages

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 behavior 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 neighbor, 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.


My Review



I have to say that when I first started reading this book, I was quite sure I wasn't going to like it. The story starts out somewhat abruptly and confusingly with a portion of a trial transcript that details the testimony of Lee Brightman regarding his relationship with Catherine Bailey, in which you get some tantalizing hints that the gorgeous and charismatic Mr. Brightman might not be telling the entire truth. Now here I'll admit that, even though this part was a little confusing, it was still compelling, and I was drawn in despite myself. Also, as I got deeper into the story, I would have to stop and go back to re-read this portion again.



So then, after the transcript, the story jumps to a graphic murder scene from the past (once again something I went back to) followed by another scene that jumps once more to the present and it continues that way throughout the book. This type of narrative is unusual and takes a bit of getting used to, but once you settle into the flow, the story grabs you by the collar and yanks you into a dark world of domestic violence, paranoia and heroic survival. It will also give you an up close and personal viewpoint of the causes, symptoms and treatment of OCD and PTSD, all of which are painfully (almost to the point of ad nauseam) illustrated throughout the book by one-time party girl turned obsessive-compulsive woman Catherine Bailey.

In my opinion, this book does not read like a debut novel. Regardless of the rather (ever-so-slightly) predictable ending, it's a well written, riveting, psychological thriller which, once you get past the first few pages, you won't be able to put down. And since Elizabeth Haynes is a police intelligence analyst, her deft weaving of technical knowledge has helped craft Into the Darkest Corner into an absolutely read-worthy book.

About Elizabeth Haynes

My name is Elizabeth Haynes and I’m a writer living in Norfolk, in the East of England.

I’ve been writing stories as long as I’ve been able to write. I remember my stories being passed around the playground at school, who knows – somebody reading this may remember that too. You may have chosen to forget. I bought a second-hand electric typewriter when I was about thirteen, possibly from a jumble sale, more likely from the Friday-Ad. It was supposed to be portable but I could barely lift it. I spent many a happy rainy weekend hammering out masterpieces on it, not having any clear purpose in mind, it was just something I had to do.

In October 2005 a friend introduced me to National Novel Writing Month ( www.nanowrimo.org ), the site I’d been waiting for all my life. It’s an annual challenge to write 50,000 words in the month of November. There is no grand prize other than the right to call yourself a novelist at the end of it; no reason to do it other than for the sense of achievement you get afterwards. The novel doesn’t have to be good, it just has to be written. And who knows, at the end of it you might have something worth editing. The whole point is just to get over writer’s block, to get over the self-doubt – to carry on even thought it feels like what’s being written is rubbish.

In 2005 I wrote a laughable serial killer-thriller in which the characters consisted entirely of people I knew. I also had two characters called Simon, which was a huge mistake. I thought I’d been extra clever, since in real life we all have friends with the same name, don’t we? But it doesn’t happen in novels, for a good reason. It’s horrendously confusing, and of course can’t be easily fixed by using Find/Replace!

Nevertheless, I did it – I wrote 50,000 words in a month, the story had a beginning, a middle and an ending (although a hard disk failure meant I lost the last 5,000 words – learn from me – back up, back up, back up.)

In 2006 I had a pretty decent plot and some good characters. By the end of November I’d written more than 50,000 words and I was less than half way through the actual story.

In 2007 I cheated and carried on writing the 2006 novel, which hadn’t been touched for a year. I don’t recommend cheating at NaNoWriMo, in whatever form. It’s not nearly so much fun. In any case, I got to the end of the month and I was up to 130,000 words and still hadn’t finished it.

In 2008 I wrote the first draft of Into the Darkest Corner. I enjoyed writing it, and at the beginning of December I thought my 56,000 words weren’t half bad. I left it alone for a few months and then started tinkering with it again, adding some scenes and moving other bits about. Two of my friends were badgered into reading it, and to my surprise they both liked it. I started wondering if it might actually be worth trying to edit it, to see if it was something I could actually send off. Unfortunately I’m useless at editing, so I got some help from Greg Mosse, who very kindly put me in touch with Myriad Editions, and after that things got very exciting indeed.



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