Labor Day is right around the corner, but there is still time to fit in one more book before summer ends. I was hoping to read the hottest book of the season, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, but my name is still pretty far down the waiting list for the number one best-seller. So I decided to seek out a substitute for Gone Girl, something dark, a real page-turner, a thriller.
I found the perfect end-of-summer thriller - Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes. Picture a young, pretty English woman, Catherine Bailey, who meets a handsome, sexy man, Lee Brightman. It seems like the set-up for an ideal affair, but Catherine soon discovers Lee has a darker side concealed beneath his gorgeous exterior. He becomes increasingly controlling, unpredictable, even violent in his behavior, but she finds no one believes her when she tries to seek help. Finally, driven by desperation, Catherine plans her escape.
Four years later Lee is in prison, and Catherine has moved to London, transforming herself from Catherine into Cathy with a new job and a new life. She is still traumatized by her past though, obsessively checking all the locks, windows and doors of her apartment every day, planning her escape route, changing her way home each day and, most importantly, never trusting anyone. But then a new tenant moves in upstairs, Stuart Richardson, and Cathy finds herself beginning to hope again that she will have a normal life, that she will love again. Until the day the phone rings…
Haynes cleverly structures the book so that the action flashes back and forth between the present and past, escalating the tension and suspense as she reveals the extent of the psychological and physical injuries suffered by Catherine as her relationship with Lee develops and implodes and the slow process of recovery from such a dysfunctional relationship. Just the descriptions of Catherine’s OCD checking of the locks on each and every door and window of her apartment before she leaves and when she returns gives me an extreme case of anxiety.
If you’ve ever wondered how bad a bad relationship has to get before a woman leaves, Elizabeth Haynes leaves you in no doubt about when a woman should run, not walk, to the nearest exit. Read Into the Darkest Corner so you, too, will know the answer to the question, “Why didn’t she just leave him?”