Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes
Rating: 5 stars
So after finishing Dragonfly in Amber I told myself I couldn't immediately dive into Outlander 3 because I needed to find a book which would engage me but not cause me to be lax in my parental duties. How crazy was it then to find that only 24 hours after I'd finished Gabaldon ' s Dragonfly in Amber I had also managed to completely consume Elizabeth Haynes wonderfully addictive Into The Darkest Corner.
Having seen this book crop up recently on several friend top 10 books lists I decided to locate it in my vast Kindle library of books to be read and give it a try. "It will be nice to have something I can pick up and put down easily", I thought, how crazy was I?
The book opens in 2005 in a court transcript between lawyers and a Mr Brightman, discussing altercations between him and his ex - girlfriend. The details are sketchy and brief before the book moves to a pattern of short and snappy chapters, alternating between the time frame of 2003/04 and 2007/08. Both time periods are told through the eyes of Cathy but we are aware very quickly of the very different person she is in each part of her life. In 2003 she is lively, outgoing and vivacious with lots of friends and an active social life, beginning a relationship with a mysterious and attractive man called Lee. Jumping forward to 2007 she is alone in London, struggling with severe obsessive compulsive disorder and with an inability to form relationships with anyone due to huge trust issues.
The continual movement between both time frames leads to an ever growing sense of unease on the part of the reader, it is very clear that Cathy and her relationship in 2003 is an increasingly unhealthy and dangerous one and from her state of health in the 2007 time line we are given the opportunity for our imaginations to begin to think what may have occurred. The use of her OCD to highlight the ways in which she reassures herself in 2007 of her safety is a clever technique on the part of the writer. Not only does it add to the readers imagined scenario of what may have happened to Cathy in 2003 but it is used cleverly in the 2007/08 time frame to add an increasing suspense to the imagined danger Cathy believes she is in many years later.
This was a book literally gets under your skin, it drives you from chapter to chapter, literally till you cannot bear to put it down. You have a compulsion, almost as strong as that of Cathy's to check her door is locked, that you just have to keep going forward with her to satisfy your burning curiosity. It gives hints of the eventual story of the book but I found there were some really nice little twists in the story that I hadn't expected.
It is a truly cautionary tale, far worse than I had anticipated having read the back cover of the book. It was dark and held reminiscent ties with such movies as Sleeping With The Enemy. I hadn't read this author before and somehow having read several books that have alleged to be "the big thriller" of the year, such as Gone Girl or Before I Go To Sleep, I am amazed that this seems to have been overlooked somewhat. If faced with a choice between recommending Gone Girl or Into The Darkest Corner to a friend this would be my pick every single time. It would make a wonderful adaptation into a movie.
Truly one of the most gripping and engaging books I've ever read.