Thursday, October 16, 2014

Book Review: "Into the Darkest Corner" (Elizabeth Haynes)

Never underestimate the potential of someone to stay with you, psychologically terrifying, long past the end of your acquaintance.

Psychological thriller Into the Darkest Corner, by then-debut author Elizabeth Haynes, catapults the reader immediately into the world of protagonist Cathy Bailey. Cathy is plagued by PTSD, nightmares, insomnia, and out-of-control obsessive-compulsive disorder because of a horrifically abusive and controlling past relationship.

Her abuser, Lee, is soon to be released from his tenure in prison, and Cathy suddenly and reluctantly becomes the object of interest (professionally, at first) to her neighbor, Stuart, who turns out to be a clinical psychologist much like those from her past who never believed that she was the victim. When Lee is finally released, Cathy's new life and fledgling healing from her past starts to shatter all over again as he goes right back to stalking her, intent on either possessing her wholly, body and soul, or killing her so no one else can ever have her.

Suspenseful is too tame a word for a work like this one. Author Haynes elected to splice Cathy Bailey's two stories --- her present with the significant part of her recent past --- and telling the two tales alongside one another serve to heighten the tension even further, as the reader learns something about the way Lee worked in the past and then realizes that he's trying to do the same thing in the present day.

Readers also can't help but sympathize with Cathy, whose coping mechanisms with her past trauma leave much to be desired from a medical and psychological standpoint, but which make her a genuine, believable human figure, three-dimensional and likable from the start. Her foil, Stuart, as stable, rational, and consistent as she is not, balances her compulsive emotional tendencies, and their dialogue exchanges are especially realistic.

It's also likely that I identified so closely with this book because I was once in a situation similar to Cathy's. If not for the miraculous and unearned support of friends, family, mentors, and counselors, I might have ended the same way after a frightening, controlling relationship in my own past.

Prepare for long and sleepless nights as you race through this brilliantly crafted novel to its heartbreaking conclusion.

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Title: Into the Darkest Corner
Author: Elizabeth Haynes
ISBN: 978-0-06-219725-2
Purchase here:

Disclaimer: The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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