Into the Darkest Corner
by Elizabeth Haynes
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Source: Netgalley for Review
Synopsis from Amazon:
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 behaviour 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 neighbour, 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.
Intense. Gripping. Suspenseful. Emotional. Terrifying. I could go on, but those are some of the words that quickly come to mind upon finishing Into the Darkest Corner. The story is told side-by-side in two alternating time periods, 2004 and 2008. The Catherine Bailey of the past and the Cathy Bailey of the present. We meet Catherine in 2004, an outgoing party girl who loves to have fun, is carefree, a bit promiscuous, and always looking for a good time. In 2008, we meet a very different Catherine, who now calls herself Cathy. Cathy has OCD and obsessively checks locks on doors and windows, she must make tea at certain times of the day, and she can only eat foods on particular days. The contrast of the personalities is startling and heartbreaking. We are left to wonder – what happened to the vivacious Catherine of 2004?
Turning back to 2004, Catherine meets Lee Brightman at a club and they begin a romantic relationship. Their affair is wild and carefree, but soon turns dark and ominous. Catherine’s friends chide her for her claims that Lee is not what he appears to be. They feel she has found the perfect man, so what is her problem? They do not see behind closed doors – that he breaks into her apartment and moves things around or leaves things behind, that he begins to rape her, or that he follows her wherever she goes.
In 2008, Cathy meets Stuart, a new tenant in her apartment building. Stuart also happens to be a psychologist who begins to help Cathy in very small ways, first by referring her to a doctor to help her with the OCD. Cathy has a difficult time accepting Stuart at first, but they slowly begin a friendship. She has a very hard time trusting people. But then, Cathy begins to notice that things are moved around in her apartment and she is convinced Lee has come back for her.
Switching back and forth, from past to present, we relive Catherine’s relationship with Lee as it turns from newfound love to abusive obsession and we see Cathy in the present as she slowly begins to break free of the emotional barricades that have trapped her for so many years. A rock-solid debut that will keep you turning the pages until long into the night. It is hard to believe that this is the author’s debut novel and that she initially wrote it during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)! Very cool.
Caution: This book has strong language and some descriptive sex and abuse scenes.