Review: Into the Darkest Corner — Elizabeth Haynes

Read: 59
To Go: 41

Book List:
51. The Overlook — Michael Connelly
52. Chasing The Dime — Michael Connelly
53. Sweet Talk — Julie Garwood
54. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin — Louis de Bernieres
55. Tolstoy and the Purple Chair — Nina Sankovitch
56. Close Your Eyes — Amanda Eyre Ward
57. The Last Coyote — Michael Connelly
58. The Emperor of Paris — C.S. Richardson
59. Into the Darkest Corner — Elizabeth Haynes

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.

The time it took me to read Into the Darkest Corner was not reflective of how much I loved it. If I’d had the time, I would’ve sat down and spent an entire day reading it; it was just that good. But life has been…hectic, to say the least.

Anyway, now that I’ve read it I get to sing praises. Into the Darkest Corner was quite the chilling page-turner. Every time I got a chance to curl up and read it, I didn’t want to put it down and return to real life! It was a very convincing portrayal of an obsessive, abusive relationship — and frighteningly so. I felt myself getting scared along with Cathy when I saw the warning signs pop up in the beginning of her relationship with Lee. And Haynes spared no detail; the book’s most climactic scene was heartbreakingly brutal, and totally unforgettable — it almost brought tears to my eyes.

What spoke volumes, I think, was how hard Cathy had to work to be believed about the abuse she was suffering — both by her friends and in court. Her friends refused to accept that she wasn’t in a good relationship, and later believed her to be psychotic. During the trial her sexual history and other deeply personal facts were brought out as if to prove that she couldn’t possibly have been harmed by Lee — or, worse, that she deserved it. And it’s certainly no secret that cases like Cathy’s are the norm, not the outliers. It’s impossibly difficult to get a conviction on a sexual assault or rape charge.

On a more personal note, I actually felt I could relate to Cathy. She suffers from extreme OCD, and spends hours every day checking her doors, her windows, the positioning of all her possessions, to prove that Lee hasn’t been in her apartment. I certainly don’t have that particular problem, but I saw a bit of myself in her compulsive checking. Some of the scenes with her checking (and then becoming frustrated with feeling like she needs to check) were the most poignant for me; I know what it’s like to be cognitively aware that you’ve done everything right — your door really is locked, your drapes really are shut — and yet still feeling the need to go back and do it all again, just to be sure.

Amazing book. Gripping. And, on an unrelated note, can I have a Stuart for myself?

Next book: I’ve got a bunch, so I’m really not sure yet. But I think the reviews will pick up a bit in October, since school isn’t going to be as hectic as it was this month.

– Kelsey

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