In Into the Darkest Corner, Catherine's passionate relationship with Lee takes a nasty turn when she discovers his dark violent side. Things go from bad to worse when she tries to break it off with him. When her friends don't believe her and she can see no other options, she plans her escape. Four years later, Lee is in jail and Catherine, now going by Cathy, is trying to start over. She tries to keep her constant fear at bay by checking and rechecking that her apartment is safe and secure. Eventually, she befriends her new neighbour, Stuart, who encourages her to deal with her fears in other ways. As time goes by and their relationship deepens, she starts feeling a little better and is beginning trust him. It's then that she gets a phone call that changes everything.
I loved this psychological thriller. It was so good. It that had me on the edge of my seat from the beginning to end...right to the very last page. There were a couple of holes in the story, but I was willing to overlook those because I loved the premise and the style in which it was written.
The story alternates between two time frames: 2003/2004 when Catherine was in a relationship with Lee, and 2007/2008 when Lee is in jail and Cathy is suffering the consequences of his abuse, but trying to move on with her life. Haynes, the author, jumped between the two time frames quite frequently, so it always felt like the story was moving along. I loved this format. It took a little while to get used to it, but it was awesome once I figured out what was going on. This style made the story extremely intense, scary and very suspenseful. I got totally engrossed in the story to the point where I was anxious and nervous while I was reading. It even gave me nightmares. I believe this is the first book to ever do so. Despite that, I didn't want to stop reading and I couldn't wait to get back to the book each time I put it down.
The story highlighted some key issues that are unfortunately current and relevant in our society: domestic violence, obsessive/compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). That made the story hard to read at times, especially because the violence was so graphically portrayed. I don't know anyone who's been on either end of domestic violence (at least as far as I know), but it was horrible just reading about it. I think the author did a good job of answering some key questions, such as "Why didn't she just leave?", "Why didn't she tell someone?". The OCD was interesting. I don't know how Cathy was able to hold down a job without serious repercussions; I'm not sure the author explained that well enough.
The one part that bothered me in the story was that Cathy's recovery seemed a little too perfect. When she suspected that someone has been sneaking into her apartment and moving things around, she took it too calmly. I was still scared of what was going to happen, so why wasn't she? I don't want to give too much away so I'll leave it at that.
Highly recommended. I hope to read more books by this author.
For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit the HarperCollins website.
I'd like to thank those nice people at HarperCollins for this review copy.
Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes, HarperCollins, ©2011. ISBN 97800622000457(Advance Reader's Edition), 397p.