Into the Darkest Corner, by Elizabeth Haynes.
My weekends are a curious mixture of relaxation and stress. Some weekends are good; others, not so. Certain dates are good. I can only go food shopping on even-numbered days. If the 13th falls on a weekend, I can't do anything at all. On odd-numbered days, I can exercise, but only if it's cloudy or raining, not if it's sunny. On odd-numbered days, I can't cook food, I can only eat cold things or heat stuff up. - from the ARE of Into the Darkest Corner -
Catherine Bailey is young and carefree in 2003 when she meets Lee Brightman, a handsome and charismatic man who instantly sweeps her off her feet into a passionate and steamy love affair. But before long, Lee's true personality reveals itself. He is controlling, intense and sometimes violent. His job is full of dark secrets. When Catherine decides to end the relationship, she discovers the true extent of Lee's obsessive desire. She turns to her friends ... who do not believe her.
Fast forward to 2007 London. Lee is serving time in prison and Catherine (now Cathy) is trying to keep her anxiety and PTSD under control through obsessive-compulsive behaviors that keep her from forming relationships. When a psychologist named Stuart moves into her building, Cathy begins to see a future for herself for the first time in years. And then the phone rings.
Into the Darkest Corner is the debut psychological thriller by Elizabeth Haynes about obsession, domestic violence and obsessive compulsive disorder at its extreme. Haynes lays out her story in a nonlinear fashion, moving from Catherine's past to her present in alternating narratives. The result is a slow unfolding of terror and a glimpse into how Catherine has ended up compulsively checking her doors and windows every day. There is never any real mystery as to what has happened between Catherine and Lee -- the tension comes not from the past, but from what will happen in the future.
I found the first 200 pages a bit plodding, but I am glad I hung on and kept reading. The second half of the book picks up considerably and had me flipping pages quickly as I raced to the finish. Elizabeth Haynes shows just how easy it is for a woman to get caught up in a domestic violence situation, but she also examines the courage it takes for women to move forward after being in an abusive relationship.
Into the Darkest Corner is for those readers who enjoy psychological thrillers.
Three and a half stars out of five.
FTC Disclosure: The publisher sent me this book for review on my blog.
Catch all of Wendy Robard's reviews in her fabulous blog, "Caribousmom".