Book Review: Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes
July 10, 2012 17 Comments
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Number of pages: 416
First published: 2011 (UK edition, this USA edition, June 2012)
I got this book: from Harper for review
Extra: See my review of Dark Tide by Elizabeth Haynes
Into the Darkest Corner: What it is about
This book has two timelines. In one (2007/2008) we encounter a young woman, Cathy Bailey, who is obviously very traumatised by something that happened to her in the past. As a result of this, she has developed Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. She checks her apartment for signs of disturbance when she arrives home and makes sure to leave it in a certain state when leaving again. Because she can’t be sure she really did a proper check, she may check up to six times to be absolutely sure. She spends a lot of time on this, and doesn’t have a social life, until she meets her new upstairs neighbour Stuart, who she feels safe with. He pushes her to find help for her illness.
The other timeline (2003/2004) sees Catherine as a very outgoing young woman, spending way too much nights out on the town. Life is one big celebration. When she meets Lee Brightman, they fall in love and slowly but certainly, she falls under his spell. But he turns out to have a violent side, which is slowly uncovered. And during the story, we find out what he did to Catherine to make her into an OCD patient.
In the current time (2008), Lee is released from prison, just as Cathy is getting less anxious about life…
Into the Darkest Corner: What I thought
This was not a thrilling thriller, but a very good read! I was never about to “check the locks on [my] doors and windows […]” as Karin Slaughter suggests on the front cover. Nonsense! When, finally, Cathy does have something real to worry about, she’s become such a strong person that she isn’t all that scared any more, and with her, neither was I. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any scary moments in the book, there were, but I never wanted to hide under the covers.
I found Cathy’s OCD very believable and extremely fascinating. The idea that someone knows what they’re doing is nonsensical but not being able to stop themselves. Spending hours upon hours checking that her flat is safe, getting exhausted from all this and still not being able to give up. It’s amazing that someone would do that.
I was surprised that Cathy was happy to accept her new neighbour as a person she could trust. I think I’d be paranoid about everyone that I didn’t know. I’m still not sure if this was a flaw in the story, or whether it was very well possible that someone like Cathy would accept her neighbour as a (kind of) friend. Whether she was right to trust him, you need to find out for yourself!
The book was built up very well. First we don’t know all that much about what happened in the past, but bit by bit more of Lee’s behaviour is revealed and it becomes clear why Cathy is so scared of him. In the current time, it’s great to follow Cathy and I hoped she would recover from her illness to the point where it didn’t control her whole life. And of course, as a reader you hope Lee won’t find her and/or some other nasty man will repeat history with Cathy.
Not a thriller, but a very good read. Recommended.