AMAZON BOOK OF THE YEAR 2011
WINNER OF AMAZON RISING STARS 2011
AMAZON EDITORS' CHOICE BEST CRIME NOVEL OF 2011
LONGLISTED FOR CWA JOHN CREASEY (NEW BLOOD) DAGGER 2011
Catherine has been enjoying the single life for long enough to know a good catch when she sees one. Gorgeous, charismatic, spontaneous – Lee seems almost too perfect to be true. And her friends clearly agree, as each in turn falls under his spell.
But there is a darker side to Lee. His erratic, controlling and sometimes frightening behaviour means that Catherine is increasingly isolated. Driven into the darkest corner of her world, and trusting no one, she plans a meticulous escape. Four years later, struggling to overcome her demons, Catherine dares to believe she might be safe from harm. Until one phone call changes everything.
This is an edgy and powerful first novel, utterly convincing in its portrayal of obsession, and a tour de force of suspense.
©2012 Elizabeth Haynes (P)2012 Audible Ltd
"Check the locks on your doors and windows and surrender to this obsessive thriller." (Karin Slaughter)
“This intense, gripping account of domestic violence and its aftermath is utterly unputdownable. A stunning debut.” (SJ Watson)
“From its uncompromising prologue - a young woman being bludgeoned to death in a ditch - Haynes's powerful account of domestic violence is disquieting, yet unsensationalist. This is a gripping book on a topic which can never be highlighted enough.” (Guardian)
“A very impressive first novel. The pain and frustration of OCD is brilliantly evoked and I winced every time Cathy embarked on yet another ritual. The contrast between Cathy's two lives is cleverly drawn and the hesitancy in her new relationship is very believable. This is a fantastic personal read with plenty for a reading group to discuss.” (NewBooks Magazine)
“Within ten minutes I couldn't put it down. I've always said that I would never be caught in an abusive relationship, as I'd be out of it at the first sign of a problem but after reading this book I realised that it really isn't that simple. There's a superb picture of the burdens of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). It's not enough to check once that the door is firmly locked. What if you didn't lock it properly? There's real dramatic tension in this book and when I got to the end the first thing that I did was to turn back to the beginning again.” (The Bookbag)
“A tense and thought-provoking début novel with dark moments. Its portrayal of obsession is one that will send a shiver down your spine and you'll hope that you are never in that position. But don't look for a "pat" ending - it seems that things never end the way one hopes! This début novel by a police intelligence analyst is certainly well worth the read.” (Shotsmag)
“Our South coast-based book group had been starved of a good book for a month or two, so it was with some excitement that we stumbled across the buzz on Twitter about Elizabeth Haynes' compelling debut novel Into the Darkest Corner. Thankfully starvation swiftly changed to gluttony when we got our hands on the book, as this is a compulsive thriller with sufficient twists and plot turns to keep the most action-avaricious of readers satisfied.” (Bookgroup.info)
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
The reviews that talk about the confusing nature of the back and forth in time are correct. But if you will just keep in mind that 2008 is current and 2004 is looking back you will be fine. And the confusion is well worth it. Stick with it for an hour and it won't be a problem after that. This was a great book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The narrator can make or break a book and this one is excellent. The suspense at times had me afraid to drive! Because of the back and forth in time, you know what is coming and you stay braced for it. Go for it - it is quite long and I still did not want it to end!
"Threatening, menacing, chilling and so possible!"
The narration was excellent with all the accents very authentic. The phrasing during moments of terror or pleading were excellent. It took a little while to get into the story and it was difficult to understand why we had to listen to the repetetive processes of the main character until we discovered why. At times I was puzzled as to why Catherine went from a trembling mess to someone that was able to confront dangerous situations without letting anyone know where she was going or a phone call to the police. Apart from this, the story was very convincing, very modern and at times difficult to listen to, such was the terror portrayed by the narrator. Would thoroughly recommend it.
I loved this book. the author really built the suspense up throughout starting with seemingly innocent events happening to the main character by her new boyfriend which she shrugged off and made excuses for until she was totally under his control. I also loved how the book was split into alternative chapters four years apart, telling of her life from when she first met him to a few years later trying to move on and come to terms with the hell he put her through. highly recommended.
"Elizabeth Haynes is ALL STARS"
I am falling in love with this writer. She writes contemporary fiction with a real twist, i.e., not your standard dribble. This book is full of suspense. The research into her characters was excellent and I really believed in the characters although sometimes it was a little uncomfortable for my tastes but for this writer I will persist. Loved Revenge of the Tide too even more.
"Gripping, harrowing and tense"
This is without doubt the best book I have ever listened to and would highly recommend it. It is a gripping, harrowing, tense listen that portrays the absolute hell experienced by a sufferer of domestic violence. Every time I thought I knew what was happening and where the plot was going there were further surprises. This book completely took over my life for a few days and I absolutely applaud the author.
"Outstanding - Gripping to the very last moment"
When the story began with the description of someone with OCD going through one of her rituals, I wasn't sure if I wanted to listen to the rest of the book for fear it would be more of the same. I am so very glad I did - it is one of the most gripping and thrilling books I've listened to in ages. The character's progress throughout the book is realistic and very inspiring... I thoroughly recommend this - and I can't wait to listen to more from this author. And the main narrator was excellent. I don't think the second narrator was necessary at all.
"un put downable"
Anyone who has had any encounter, either personal or via a friend in this situation, will see how cleverly this book has been written. How manipulative the abuser can be, conning the friends onto his side, starting with something small and how quickly the control can take over. The abuse does not have to be so physical, mental control is just as bad and I think she portrays this brilliantly and the tension when he is released, is he, isn't he.....
"I just didn't get it.."
I was expecting great things of this book but for me it just didn't deliver, in fact I only finished the first part because I couldn't bear any more narrative around her "going out with her mates". I seemed to listen to it for hours on end and didn't even reach the point where she "plans her meticulous escape". This book needed to get a move on, it was way too slow for me...maybe if you stick with it it will improve, not my cup of tea I'm afraid.
"A bit disappointing"
We got this on the strength of David Thorpes narration, sadly he only does the last 15 minutes of courtroom dialogue.
A not very engaging book, you might like it, but find something else to read first.
"A real page turner"
A dark, atmospheric tale revolving around the issue of domestic violence. It had me on the edge of my seat. Well written with believable characters and situations. This is the first book I have read by this author and I must say I am a fan! Five stars from me.
I feel misled by the critics' plaudits: this book is just dull - any tension there might be is drowned in the interminable detail. Of course, the reality of domestic abuse must consist of a long slow descent to the unbearable - but the way this was strung out over the two time periods - and, worse, the lack of any wit or invention in the language - was just tedious: I got through part 1, then could no longer be bothered. The main character is so vapid that the initial sympathy wanes swiftly. And the narrator does not help: her version of the Lancaster accent simply does not have the depth to convey any real emotion at all. And please , please, Audible - if the vast majority of a book is read in one voice - do not give us a sample in another, vastly more amenable voice, which lasts but the first 15 minutes - even more misleading!
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