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Friday, 2 September 2016
Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes
Reviewer: Gillian Hamer, author of The Charter, Closure, Complicit, Crimson Shore & False Lights. (www.gillianhamer.com)
What we thought: As a both a reader and a writer, I believe, characterisation is one of the hardest things in novel writing. And it’s characterisation that really brought this book alive for me. There’s a real art to creating a character who first off is a believable as your own sibling, and yet still allow the reader to discover the ‘real’ side of the character at the same time as the narrator does, without resorting to clichés or tiresome flashbacks.
I’m also not a huge fan of novels that portray women as weak victims, but although there are some brutal images here, it’s hidden and masked in the depth of the story and the people. Elizabeth Haynes has created here an excellent portrayal of one women’s desperate journey into an abusive relationship, but it’s also the story of that same women’s redemption and a lesson on how to confront your darkest fears and come out fighting into the light.
When Cathy Bailey meets and falls for the cool and handsome Lee Brightman she believes she is old enough and wise enough to know how to spot a bad apple. But is she? Cathy is one of life’s sparks, vivacious, outgoing and flirtatious - and sees no need to change. Lee is strong and silent, mysterious about his job and protective in the extreme. But there’s a strong connection and for a while Cathy’s life is bliss. Her friends are jealous and her future suddenly looks a whole lot rosier. But then odd things begin to happen, like items moved or missing from her house, like the increasing sense she’s being followed. By the end of the book Cathy won’t be the only one who has to check her front door is locked six times.
Cleverly narrated in two POVS – past and present – we follow Cathy’s journey right through to the chilling climax. Another art the author has mastered here is to engage the reader with the character, and I really felt myself drawn to Cathy, sympathising with her and willing her to get the future she deserved with the new man in her life, Stuart.
I found this book gripping and raced through to find out how the story would end. If it doesn’t make you look over your shoulder at least once while you’re reading it – then you’re doing something wrong!
You’ll enjoy this if you like: CL Taylor, Gillian Flynn, Clare Mackintosh
Avoid if you don’t like: Domestic violence
Ideal accompaniments: Extra strong double G&T
Available on Amazon