Published: 1 February 2011
Pages: 403 (paperback)
Genre/s: Psychological, Thriller
Source: Own library
Catherine Bailey has been enjoying the single life long enough to know a catch when she sees one. Gorgeous, charismatic and spontaneous, Lee seems almost too perfect to be true. And her friends clearly agree, as each in turn falls under his spell.
But what begins as flattering attentiveness and passionate sex turns into raging jealousy, and Catherine soon learns there is a darker side to Lee. His increasingly erratic, controlling behaviour becomes frightening, but no one believes her when she shares her fears. Increasingly isolated and driven into the darkest corner of her world, a desperate Catherine plans a meticulous escape.
Four years later, Lee is behind bars and Catherine—now Cathy—compulsively checks the locks and doors in her apartment, trusting no one. But when an attractive upstairs neighbour, Stuart, comes into her life, Cathy dares to hope that happiness and love may still be possible . . . until she receives a phone call informing her of Lee's impending release. Soon after, Cathy thinks she catches a glimpse of the former best friend who testified against her in the trial; she begins to return home to find objects subtly rearranged in her apartment, one of Lee's old tricks. Convinced she is back in her former lover's sights, Cathy prepares to wrestle with the demons of her past for the last time.
I'm going to start my review with a big, bold statement - Into the Darkest Corner is probably one of the best psychological crime mysteries I've ever read. I read even read it whilst walking to work (Walking people, walking!) because I just couldn't put it down. Now, the book had been on my shelf for nearly two years, but it was as soon as I read April at My Shelf Confessions' review, that I knew I had to read it.
Into the Darkest Corner is the story of Catherine, who was once young and carefree with a large group of friends and a party-girl lifestyle, but now finds herself living in near-isolation and completely controlled by her OCD. Her obsessions and compulsions are based around her need to feel 'safe' in her own home, which makes her particularly easy to be sympathetic with, as home is where everyone SHOULD feel safe, but even with all her precautions, her life is spent constantly watching over her shoulder. But I also found myself admiring her because even with all of her rituals, she continues to try and live a normal life, going to work and trying to socialise as much as she can overcome her need to hide away from the world.
Told in flashbacks between then and now, Into the Darkest Corner gradually builds in intensity, but the tension is there right from the beginning. As things go from worse to worse in Catherine's life, there were times when I found myself getting quite angry - particularly with her friends who pretty much told her to stop complaining and be grateful that she had such a wonderful boyfriend.
The real genius of this book is that Haynes actually started to make ME paranoid too - at several points I started to question whether everything was in Catherine's head or whether characters that come into her life were actually who they seemed to be, which demonstrated how living with that much tension and fear can really play with someone's mind. And I was just reading it!
Clever, scary, intense and addictive, Into the Darkest Corner is a book that I'd push onto anyone who enjoys psychological thrillers, crime fiction or adult fiction that really sucks you into the story and doesn't let go, even after the last page.