Book Review: Into The Darkest Corner (#Thriller re: #OCD #PTSD, Domestic Violence)

Catherine has been enjoying single life for long enough to know a good catch when she sees one. Gorgeous, charismatic and spontaneous, Lee seems almost too perfect to be true. But there is a dark side to him and his erratic, controlling and sometimes frightening behaviour means that Catherine is increasingly isolated. Driven into the darkest corner of her world, 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…

Author Bio: Elizabeth Haynes is a police intelligence analyst. She started writing fiction in 2006 thanks to the annual challenge of National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo) and the encouragement of the creative writing courses at West Dean College. She lives in a village near Maidstone, Kent, with her husband and son. Into the Darkest Corner is her first novel.

Into the Darkest Corner on Amazon

A Few Reviews

 From its uncompromising prologue – a young woman being bludgeoned to death in a ditch – Haynes’s powerful account of domestic violence is disquieting, yet unsensationalist. This is a gripping book on a topic which can never be highlighted enough. —Guardian 

A very impressive first novel. The pain and frustration of OCD is brilliantly evoked and I winced every time Cathy embarked on yet another ritual. The contrast between Cathy’s two lives is cleverly drawn and the hesitancy in her new relationship is very believable. This is a fantastic personal read with plenty for a reading group to discuss. NewBooks Magazine 

Within ten minutes I couldn’t put it down. I’ve always said that I would never be caught in an abusive relationship, as I’d be out of it at the first sign of a problem but after reading this book I realised that it really isn’t that simple. There’s a superb picture of the burdens of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). It’s not enough to check once that the door is firmly locked. What if you didn’t lock it properly? There’s real dramatic tension in this book and when I got to the end the first thing that I did was to turn back to the beginning again. —The Bookbag

A tense and thought-provoking début novel with dark moments. Its portrayal of obsession is one that will send a shiver down your spine and you’ll hope that you are never in that position. But don’t look for a “pat” ending – it seems that things never end the way one hopes! This debut novel by a police intelligence analyst is certainly well worth the read. —Shotsmag

Okay, so you know by now what it’s about and who wrote it. You have a read a few magazines saying how great it is too. All good – Even better – look at that price, especially on Kindle. What are you waiting for. My review? Oh yeah. Well here it is….

My Review:

This book was informative and entertaining. The heroine is riddled with insecurities, OCD check-lists and panic attacks. I admired her however, for holding down a responsible job and getting on with her life after such tragedy, which only becomes clear in the latter 3rd of the book.

You read both 2003 and 2008 simultaneously, so if you have issues with that, it could drive you balmy. I didn’t. It was fun to get both versions of this heroine at the same time. It meant you really felt for her, understood her and rooted for her. The ex is a real villain too, dressed in sheep’s clothing of course, as the best ones always are. It raised uncomfortable questions about domestic violence, and shows that it’s not just an event, but a type of infestation or fungus. One that, once it has taken hold of a relationship, buries all that was once good about it, until there’s nothing but bad. And one can only survive it by gaining one’s freedom.

Yes, scarily dark and deep. But there’s a little romance too, which was a blessed relief from the tense and gripping undercurrent of fear. I’m not a huge fan of romance, but it added something to round off the story, to give us hope while in the darkest corners of this book, and it was not at all over-done.

The ending comes together a tad too conveniently, but it didn’t spoil the overall story one jot. If it hadn’t ended like this I may have gone insane. Yes, you get that involved with the heroine.

In all, this is a damn fine debut and an interesting read from both a dramatic point of view, and a mental health one, as it incorporated lots of well researched symptomology into characterization, as one of the main story-lines was Catherine’s OCD and it’s debilitating effect on her life, post abuse.

So it entertains and informs, which can’t be bad.

I gave this 4/5 (UPDATE 2014: I still think about this book while I’ve forgotten a ton of others, so I’ve gone back and rescored it a 5/5.)

**If you’ve read this, or are interested by this review, or the themes it presents (OCD, PTSD, domestic abuse/violence, panic disorder, book genre),  do leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts.**

Elizabeth Haynes is a police intelligence analyst. She started writing fiction in 2006 with the annual challenge of National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo) and the encouragement of the creative writing courses at West Dean College. She lives in a village near Maidstone, Kent, with her husband and son. Into the Darkest Corner is her first novel. Visit her website at www.elizabeth-haynes.com.

What do you think?

  1. Shah-

    My problem with issue books is that the sufferer is always portrayed as the villain. It doesn't sound like that is the case in this one at all.
    It sounds like a great way to shine the light on OCD and it's trappings and abusive relationships. Great review! I'm loving seeing book reviews on the blog!

    I thought it was funny the one magazine reviewer said I always say I'd never be in an abusive relationship. We all say that, but abusers are manipulative and trap you long before you know what they are. I though so too, until it was too late. Thankfully it wasn't that physically violent.

    If you can find Tabitha Suzuma's older books try A Note of Madness and A Voice in the Distance. They are a Book one and two about Bipolar Disorder. I have them but haven't had a chance to read them.
    Stuck on review books.

    Heather

  2. Thanks for a great comment Heather, and for the heads-up for two more books! Will go look into them now actually. I do intend to try do more book reviews. I read so much, I should really do more. I usually only review those which have affected me in either a positive or negative way. Most books I read tend to be in mid-line, so I enjoy them but I'm not passionately bothered about them one way or another. ;D

    Shah .X

  3. Erin, it was a fascinating book. I've not read enough books like this. It was well written and a good thriller, but it was her attention to detail and research regarding mental health and post traumatic stress disorder and panic disorder which I admired most. It was entertaining, but also educational. Shah .X

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