Published by Harper on January 2nd 2013
Genres: Thriller, Suspense
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When young, pretty Catherine Bailey meets Lee Brightman, she can't believe her luck. Gorgeous, charismatic, and a bit mysterious, Lee seems almost too perfect to be true.
But what begins as flattering attention and spontaneous, passionate sex transforms into raging jealousy, and Catherine soon discovers that Lee's dazzling blue eyes and blond good looks hide a dark, violent nature. Disturbed by his increasingly erratic, controlling behavior, she tries to break it off; turning to her friends for support, she's stunned to find they don't believe her. 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—is trying to build a new life in a new city. Though her body has healed, the trauma of the past still haunts her. Then Stuart Richardson, her attractive new neighbor, moves in. Encouraging her to confront her fears, he sparks unexpected hope and the possibility of love and a normal life.
Until the day the phone rings . . .
Initially, I thought I was going to love this book …
and I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy Into the Darkest Corner; the story should have continued – more on that later. Typically, I need about a day or two to allow a book’s ending to sink in. Having just finished Salt to the Sea – as you know from this post – I was still emotionally recovering. I thought for sure I would need time before picking up another book. Into the Darkest Corner has attempted to lure me in for the last year. I would have obliged but found other books I was more intent on reading. The day I finished Salt to the Sea, I read the synopsis for Into the Darkest Corner again and instantly began.
Until the day the phone rings…
How could you not?
Is that not gripping you?
The plot is compelling, and the characters are believable.
Watching Catherine go from outgoing party hopper to an anxious and OCD riddled victim is all too believable. As her relationship with Lee begins and develops, the signs that prelude his manipulative and controlling behavior is terrifying. From his obsession with her clothing to his need to stalk her every movement – the emotional and physical damage that Catherine endures is heartbreaking. Haynes portrays the simplicity to which a relationship can appear all too perfect and how quickly it can unravel.
I pulled the curtains open a little in the front room and as I did so I thought I saw something outside…A bulky shape, like a man, standing in the dark space between the front of the house and the garage. I waited for it to move, for my eyes to adjust to the light and tell me what it was. It didn’t move and the more I squinted at it the more I seemed to remember that there was a bush there, a tree, something…I got myself undressed and put on some pajamas…turned on the light by the bed and pulled back the covers. That was it, then. Lying under the duvet, glaringly colorful against the clean white sheet, was a photo…a printed digital photo, of me.
Doesn’t that make your heart beat just a little bit faster?
Mine is. The themes of betrayal and manipulation consume Catherine and at times, me. You get a sense of what it feels to be alone. It’s unnerving how a person can make someone feel so small. There were moments that I grew tired of Catherine’s obsessive behavior with “checking,” but you find that it’s necessary to understand the complexity of her state-of-mind. Haynes had me guessing what would happen next and whether the main point was all a ruse. I was all in; worried for Catherine’s safety. The writing within this novel creates and maintains an air of suspense. Being that Into the Darkest Corner is Haynes’s first novel is unsurprising, but I feel that it was well written and stimulating. Haynes portrays a gripping mixture of excitement and distress that carries the reader forward and wanting to know more.
And then it ended.
I wasn’t expecting this book to end on such a flat note. The resolution was a bit disappointing because I feel that either the book should have been longer or made into a duology. The ending seemed rushed. There wasn’t enough focus on Catherine’s healing period, especially with as much emphasis placed on her OCD behavior. I give this book a 3 1/2 out of 5 stars because there were aspects of this book that I enjoyed, but there were also pivotal points in the story that were lacking. When the story ended, I felt dejected that it was just over. What I would give to sit with Haynes and ask her my questions revolving around her characters, to gain insight into the resolution, and whether there is a plan for a second book. One can only hope. I am interested in reading more of her work, the Briarstone Major Crimes Series specifically. The last novel, Behind Closed Doors, is a suspense/mystery novel that puts focus on human trafficking, and I’m interested to read her take on this issue.
If you have read any of Elizabeth Haynes novels, let me know your thoughts and any suggestions you may have.
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