Thursday, April 2, 2015

Elizabeth Haynes - Into the Darkest Corner

Catherine has been enjoying the single life for long enough to know a good catch when she sees one. Gorgeous, charismatic, spontaneous - Lee seems almost too perfect to be true. And her friends clearly agree, as each in turn falls under his spell. But there is a darker side to Lee. His erratic, controlling and sometimes frightening behaviour means that Catherine is increasingly isolated. Driven into the darkest corner of her world, and trusting no one, she plans a meticulous escape. 
Four years later, struggling to overcome her demons, Catherine dares to believe she might be safe from harm. Until one phone call changes everything. This is an edgy and powerful first novel, utterly convincing in its portrayal of obsession, and a tour de force of suspense.

Comment: I decided to get this book after seeing it featured in one of the forums I participate in. The blurb seemed intriguing and despite not know the author I thought it would be a good way to start reading her work. I got the book months ago, it waited on the pile but I grabbed it to end the reading of March. I'm glad I picked it up, all things considered because I liked it.

This is the story of Catherine, a young British woman who has a life her own way, not caring about much except her freedom and the time she spends with her friends and meeting new guys. One day she met Lee, a wonderful guy, and her life was exciting but it soon changed into something completely unexpected. After a conclusion to their relationship that left Catherine with deep scars, she is leaving a different life until the day a phone call makes it all change again.

I liked this story. I liked how it starts quietly and increases its intensity again and again until the end.
Another thing I liked about this story is the graphic text and how it's presented. This book doesn't have chapters, the plot develops through two time lines, both told in the first person by Catherine.
Catherine is telling her story in two different years.
There's 2003 when she is carefree and meets Lee and then there's 2007 when we see her again with a different live, different take on everything and wanting only peace and quietness.
The two time lines go along side by side, meaning we see the action take place on both times one at a time. There's an entry in 2003 where we follow the younger Catherine and then an entry in 2007 where we see her as she is now. Usually the entries match in terms of days and months but not always.
I liked this new way of going through the lot development, I've seen in happen but not one after the other during the whole book.

Of course this story isn't a happy romance. This is a thriller and the main issue to be dealt here is a very serious and real problem. I'll try not to give up spoilers but I assume it's obvious there's a situation of an abusive relationship in the middle of this all. Until how far I won't spoiler it but it's not easy and some parts are hard to imagine and read about.

There are some interesting concepts to think about in this book. 
First there's the OCD and PSTD examples. Catherine suffers from both and I think the author did a good job of showing how Catherine lived in 2007 with both of those things to the extend of her whole day being dedicated to them in their own way. The OCD in particular is heavy on Catherine's routine and she dedicates a long time to check things, to count steps and to do things over and over because it makes her feel safer. When something isn't what is used to be, she can't help but check again.
I think this is a goo way to show how OCD can disturb someone life.
Another interesting concept is the idea of being desperate and we see Catherine dealing with it and how that affects her behavior, her relationships and her peace of mind. The biggest interest in this novel is surely the psychological element in everything and in that aspect, the book was very successful.

I think the plot took a bit too long to build up but in a way it was necessary because it helped to show how certainly these kinds of relationships don't go wrong after just one day or one week, it's something that starts slowly and might build up for a long time before changing.
There's a sort of desperation and suffocation that comes with it and we see Catherine going through it and trying to cope, trying to be sane and to escape and how that all ends is a shock.

I liked the story a lot. There are many scenes where little details would catch Catherine's attention and that meant trouble. We don't pay attention to daily chores or never thought about certain things in a serious way, like, say, cutlery drawers, but for Catherine that started her problems and originated from a very sick game and situation. Again, I think the author's work on the details, the growing despair was vividly told and one important thing wasn't forgotten, which is how society believes what is shown and how people we trust don't always believe in us in some specific situation if led wrong by others.

I really think the author thought about several elements that make a good thriller. Of course Catherine does get a break but I don't know if it's right all the time. Anyway, I'm glad she could manage to have a life as normal as she could, I liked we saw her getting help and how she could get better even if it took time.
All in all, this book is powerful, gripping and full of details and things that we feel so focused on, it's hard to let go of the book. I recommend it to everyone who likes thrillers and suspense stories.
Grade: 8/10

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