Haynes, Elizabeth - 'Into the Darkest Corner'
This beautifully dark and disturbing novel is, amazingly, the first book by Elizabeth Haynes. It is seamlessly put together and the clever juxtaposition of chapters from the present and the past keeps the reader on the edge of their seat - you know Catherine is going to survive whatever happens to her four years ago but at the same time you wonder how she will manage in the present, given the emotional mess that she is in. It's impossible to guess the ending of the book and the storyline digs deep into your psyche, teasing you and tempting you to check that your own doors and windows are locked and secure…
Four years ago Catherine was a confident, attractive young woman. She loved to get dressed up and go out with her pals, drinking far too much and sleeping with whatever random stranger caught her eye. Everything changes when she meets Lee. Lee is gorgeous. Every girl's dream; Lee is tall, handsome, rugged and mysterious. Catherine falls for him hook, line and sinker, and it seems that he feels the same for her. Her pals love him too and everything looks peachy. Except not everything is going well in paradise. Lee becomes increasingly moody and violent but Catherine's friends don't believe her and she is totally alone, withdrawn into herself and planning her escape. She knows that if she makes a mistake he will kill her.
Switch to the present and Catherine is a changed woman: greying, nervous, insecure and scared, with OCD that has her constantly checking her doors and windows to make sure that she is safe. Trapped in her own personal hell she meets Stuart, her new neighbour, who points her in the direction of therapy and she begins to make steps down the road to recovery. Everything starts to fall apart, though, when the police telephone her to let her know that Lee has now served his three-year prison sentence and is about to be released. All looks bleak, as it seems certain that Lee will come looking for her, despite her new address, life and job. Can she stand up to her terrors and finally defeat them, or will Lee manage to finish what he started four years earlier?
I love this book. It has just the right mix of terror, paranoia and "things that go bump in the night" to keep you looking over your own shoulder for your own past demons. Elizabeth Haynes is a very talented new face in the murky world of crime fiction and definitely a name to look out for in the future. Very highly recommended.
Amanda C M Gillies, Scotland