Book Reviews

‘Into the Darkest Corner’ by Elizabeth Haynes

Book jacket of 'Into the Darkest Corner' by Elizabeth Haynes

‘Into the Darkest Corner’ by Elizabeth Haynes

Sorry, we didn’t see you there – we’ve been too busy quivering in a corner and glancing behind us as we walk.

With Elizabeth Haynes’ debut novel, ‘Into the Darkest Corner’, prepare to be reduced to a nervous wreck, prepare to fully appreciate the meaning of the phrase “our heart was in our mouth”, and prepare to lose any semblance of a social life whilst the book remains unread.

The story is written from two points of view – the new nervous and paranoid Catherine Bailey and the old charismatic and sociable one. 

Despite being happy as a free singleton, Cathy meets and immediately falls for Lee, a confident and attractive security guard. Pretty soon everyone is under Lee’s charm, but it doesn’t take long for Cathy to feel trapped and frightened in a controlling and dark relationship with a man who’s outward persona doesn’t match his reality. Despite telling people how she feels, no-one believes her, and when Lee goes too far one day and ends up in prison, Cathy runs away to a new life in the busy world of London. This isn’t the end however – even from behind bars Lee still haunts her preventing her from living a full life, and when she receives a notice of his release four years later it’s not long before the old terrors come back in force.

World of Books has nothing but good things to say about this thriller. Right from the electric prologue through to the gripping ending, we were on tenterhooks. This book demonstrates the idea of “not-being-able-to-put-it-down”; indeed, it was suggested at one point that we had it glued to our fingers!

Haynes’ portrayal of obsession, whether that’s Lee’s murderous and manipulative obsession, or Cathy’s out-of-control OCD, is 100% believable. Cathy as the main protagonist is constructed in such a way that although the reader acknowledges how ludicrous her obsessive actions are, such as her 50th check of the front door, they also completely sympathetically understand and mentally enact the routine alongside her.  Equally, the reader is repulsed by Lee’s predatory control over Cathy, wanting to shout out a warning when he comes near. When Cathy becomes agitated during the story, so does the reader, when Lee is angry in the story, the reader becomes nervous – not an easy feat with simple words on a page.

It’s interesting to note that before writing this book, Haynes worked as a Police Intelligence Analyst, an experience we’re sure echoes throughout the story, particularly in the little details. And for any aspiring writers out there have hope! – Haynes only began to write the novel in 2006 for the annual NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) novel-writing competition.

Without giving too much away, this book is not for the squeamish of heart. And if you’re of the romantic sensibility, then we’ll warn you now that there are no completely happy endings, such is life at its darkest. It’s definitely on the World of Books recommend list – so give it a try (but have a pillow ready to hug perhaps…)

Picture of author Elizabeth Haynes

Author Elizabeth Haynes

Watch out for the World of Books interview with Elizabeth Haynes which will be posted in the coming weeks!

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