Elderly (1932), retired university professor, degrees in engineering and economics.
This is a real page-turner. If you like a good suspense story, you will want to read this one. For a first novel Elizabeth Haynes has written an awards winner. She handles dialogue like a veteran writer. Her choice of time technique to tie major strands of the plots together is effective and fits the elements of the story perfectly. It is especially well suited to portray the development of the psychoses of the two primary characters.
In addition to being a really good read (listen), it aroused my curiosity about the mental/emotional conditions suffered by Catherine and Lee. I knew almost nothing about OCD; I did not realize how painful and destructive it is. The descriptions of the behaviors of Lee raised questions read about too often in news reports about the impact of the constant high level of stress has on police officers and their families.
A good book poses questions, offers something to think about and entertains. This is a good book. Enjoy.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
In response to reviewers who commented on the story's predictability, this is more of a psychological thriller than a real mystery. We know from the beginning who was harmed and who did the crime. The story gradually unfolds the details of how the crime occured and the consequences very effectively through the parallel time lines and stark personality changes of before and after the trauma. The Catherine of the early years was flawed and a little hard to like, but the Cathy of the later years, while difficult to deal with locked in her OCD purgatory, was one to root for to come out of her dark into the light of the truly living. As readers, our perceptions are challenged by the very flaws and weaknesses of both versions of Catherine. There were a few spots in the narrative where I needed to suspend belief a bit regarding what choices key characters made in what they did or did not communicate, but not enough of a flaw to downgrade my rating.
The strength of the writing and the dialogue ensured that I believed this story. I believed Cathy's fear, her need for control. I believed Stuart's concern and I definitely believed Lee's evil. The extremely well done reading by Karen Cass made these characters real. True enough, the subject matter is dark - no feel-good cheerleading going on here, but happily there are some unexpected little shots of humor tossed in for balance. And the ending was well handled - the destination worth the journey. There was no standing on the outside passively watching - I was fully pulled in right through to the end.
Okay -- it's a great book, if you can get past the first four hours or so. I was almost ready to give up -- even checked, midstream, to see what other readers were saying. How could they have liked something so boring? I had almost completely run out of patience with hour after hour of tales of working girls drinking themselves into oblivion at night, looking for someone to "shag", then struggling to work in the morning, hungover. Way too much of that. We get the idea. I also spent time pondering why it is that women who like the bad boys of the bunch, are surprised to find out that they're really ... uh... bad? Seems to be a syndrome.
But all was redeemed as the end of Part One loomed. The story took off, and from then on, I was hooked. Very good -- lots of 'hold your breath' moments, lots of interesting twists. I'm now sitting here, knowing that whatever I choose to listen to next won't be as good.
Special kudos to the narrator, Karen Cass. I don't recall listening to anything she's read before, but I will definitely seek her work out. She was absolutely perfect for this book, but I suspect she'd be great at other British novels, too. Really an excellent job -- just flawless. She did a lot of make this book the gripping listen that it was.
I enjoyed this book, the first half giving you little tid bits of what had happened and what maybe coming further into the story.
The second half of the book moved along at a fast pace, and the tension mounted. It was a bit predictable but nevertheless still enjoyable.
The narrator Karen Cass was great to listen too and did the voices very well. I was never confused as to who was who.
Good book for a beach listen.
I was nearly halfway through this novel before my "real" interest was piqued. I think that the narrator's voice kept me listening for a while with only half an ear to what she was saying. I kept tuning in and out (waiting for some action to start) until I realized that a good portion of the story was being told in flashbacks. The story was constantly going back and forth in time. The flashbacks were done in a way that helped the listener understand and "expect" certain kinds of things to happen in the future. The story depicted the frustration, burdens and struggles of a woman with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) coupled with the pain and misery of domestic violence.
The prologue sets the stage of what's to come, even though the first few chapters were repetitious about a group of working girls going out after work and drinking themselves into a state of insensibility, then looking for someone to "shag," and then struggling to get to work the next morning. When the story really got going, there were sufficient drama and tension which helped to move the along, and motivated me to continue listening.
I was satisfied with the ending and remember thinking that the story had a rough start but ended well, and I liked it!
I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?
This book held my interest throughout. The story line is engaging, I wanted to get back to the story to find out what happens next. However this author lacks "chops". Her style is a bit sophomoric . Ms. Haynes presents the reader/listener one dimensional characters that are there only for the plot if that makes any sense; the characters have little else going on. I also feel that this book would benefit from more/better editing. BUT...I liked it anyway.
I wanted very much to get into this book, and to follow all the hype, but...
While the topic and premise for the story are "spot on", I as a reader usually like to hear more from, and more about, the characters in terms of backstory, interests outside of the primary story arc, life trajectories, all in all just more context. But not TOO much - just a Goldilocks version. This book is the pared-down Baby Bear version, and reading "Darkest Corner" is like looking through a peephole into various aspects of relationship dysfunction and violence. I can't seem to get the whole picture, can't get any peripheral vision here.
Also, the story is carried almost exclusively by dialogue - perhaps would make a better play than novel - and as a personal preference I like more description of location and characterization; at least a sense of place to set the scenes and create a relatable ambience. Here in the "Darkest Corner" the characters seem flat, uninteresting in themselves and for the most part uninterested in themselves, and they are laid out only as game pieces in the advancement of an ominous situation. What can you do with a story with primary characters whose chief activity is hanging out in pubs?
This kind of situational story has good potential, especially the detailed snail's pace advancement of the plot lines, which makes for gripping intimacy and creates visceral reactions in the reader. Unfortunately, well, I have to say this came off as bare bones, just not enough.
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
This is a difficult book to listen to. Perhaps it's better in written form, where the reader can constantly skip back to re-check the dates for clarification. Here, the back-and-forth-in-time structure of the whole thing is simply confusing.
Although the topic is timely and taken seriously in the plot, there is really nothing unexpected or particularly surprising that happens. It is simply the story of terrible things that happen to not very appealing people. There are many better thrillers out there; I don't recommend this one.
Personally, I found this novel talked to me as a woman in a past stage of my life. I am so glad that books like this are being written so that women can "come out of the darkest corner" and have the courage to point a finger at their abusers! the whole book was beautifully written with tenderness and never straying away from the sweet character of the main person, yet the OCB was well scripted into the story. The whole tale was gripping and held you right to the end with an unexpected twist. An excellent book, well recommended to both men and women.
Which came first... the books or the glasses?
This was a real "page-turner" as they say although of course I was listening to it. The narrator is first rate. I felt like she could have been in my living room telling me about her life. That's how good she was and how real it seemed as she was relating the story. I highly recommend this book.