Tuesday, 4 September 2012
Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes
Psychological thrillers are not something I am generally familiar with, I chose to read this one as I wanted something fast, gripping and escapist to stop me thinking about going back to work! And Into the Darkest Corner certainly did what I had hoped it would; it sucked me into the story and had me turning the pages as fast as I could to find out what would happen to Cathy. I am very fortunate to have never experienced domestic violence but for the millions of people across the world who have, Into the Darkest Corner will definitely strike a chord. Haynes does a good job of portraying how abuse and control slowly creep in, how Lee slowly isolates Cathy from everyone around her so she has no way of leaving him. He charms her friends to the extent that no one will believe how horrific his behaviour really is. At first Cathy doesn't even notice the small signs of abuse and the build up is realistic to the extent it's sometimes painful to read. You want to jump into the book and shout at Cathy to run away without looking back.
Into the Darkest Corner has an unusual structure. Short sections about Cathy's relationship with Lee are alternated with sections about Cathy's life much later on. Although this removes some of the tension as we immediately know Cathy survives it also creates tension as the later version of Cathy is clearly physically and emotionally damaged. She suffers with OCD, particularly relating to checking her flat is secure, is constantly looking over her shoulder for Lee to hunt her down and is unable to properly take care of herself or enjoy life. She's covered in scars and for the reader the questions from the opening sections are 'what happened to Cathy to leave her like this? How did the relationship finally end?' Wanting to find out the answers to these questions kept me reading as quickly as possible, this book was never boring.
The writing in Into the Darkest Corner isn't fantastic or particularly beautiful, but that isn't what this book is about. It's all about the story and suspense and fear and these parts are executed very well by Haynes. Anyone who enjoys thrillers would appreciate this book, particularly those who liked S.J. Watson's Before I Go To Sleep as there are lots of similarities in style.
Source: Kindle (personal copy)
First Published: 2011
Score: 4 out of 5