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)
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.
I'll admit that I'm normally a sucker for more obvious tropes in my thrillers. With no immediately discernible evil psychopath and no readers claiming it to be disturbingly dark and gory, had this book not been reviewed so well, I may have passed it by. The remarkably believable character development and internal monologues are what immediately grabbed me about Into the Darkest Corner, and the narrator was positively brilliant, a perfect voice for the protagonist.
I love books!
A debut novel so a first time author for me. It had great critical acclaim so I had to give it a shot. It was really intense, a page turner that was so intense you sometimes had to take a break from it. It was very sexually explicit. You'd hope there aren't really people like this in the world but i suppose there are. Will look forward to the next book by E Haynes.
The story trajectory is set up in the first few chapters, so there is no major reveal to keep you on the edge of the seat. The author keeps it interesting with character development and story details. It's not perfect - the main character's mental health changes were implausible and overdone - but I found it an enjoyable and intelligent book overall and recommend it.
I'm trying to wean myself and learn to function without earbuds for more than ten minutes at a time. It hasn't been easy. I lose balance...
Not my usual genre. But a good read for a long drive and overall a nice setup. Since the book starts with a murder, the end does take some time to unravel (which is nice). Most of the story is about this girl finding her strength amid serious domestic abuse. There were times when the plot was a wee bit thin on "why don't you get out," but mostly it's a good yarn and well read.
It was ok. I listen while I work, so it was time well enough spent. But, it did not make me sit in my car because I could not turn it off like some books I've listened to.
The audible recording is in two parts. The story took almost all of part 1 to develop. In part two we start to get into the "thrilling" parts, but it never did build up as expecting. Part of the story was pretty predictable.
heavy accents, acceptable
I'm not sorry I purchased it, but it did not live up to the reviews I read.
The biggest challenge of the story was to convey the flip-flop between time frames of the story - It was partly told in the past and partly told in the present. I thought that perhaps some voice differentiation, or inflection may have helped to distinguish what was then and what was now. If you happen to miss the date in the intro to a section it could become confusing.
It wasn't the best, but was no where near the worst. It ended up being a pretty light read.
I enjoyed the book overall. The plot was pretty good, the reader was very good, and the ending was consistently satisfying. Of course, it is not easy to read about a woman being abused and not leaving immediately. But our main character was likable, and so I made it through the parts that made me squirm.
I would definitely recommend this book, and I do look forward to the next book that the author writes.
Yes, I felt as if I was living her life and constantly wondering about everyone that came into her life. I felt her terror and waited in suspense with her ont he other side of her door.
The personality behind the words, the life that was ripped from the woman can be heard instead of just read. And once some words are said, they can never be taken away. I felt her pain and understood her complications and truly could see how you could become the person she was.
I understood how broken a person could become after the worst things that could be done to another human were done to her, and knowing that you still have to play the game with your tormentor...so when he beat her and she had to comfort him afterwards...it hit home.
After all the hype, I was expecting more "gripping". The one thing that really didn't ring true was the neighbor that happened to be a psychologist well versed in OCD and that, with all the girls in London he could have dated, he falls for one with so many problems? The last few chapters were semi gripping but I thought the story itself took too long to tell.
"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 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!
"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.
"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.
"Bit too brutallyexplicit for me"
I thought the story content was very well decribed, having had a friend with OCD I know how accurate it was. I just found the sexually explicit description a bit too much. Possibly because it was read by a woman so nonchalently, I appreciate the subject matter required descriptions of violent sex, but I really don't want to hear it., so it was a bit of an uncomfortable listen for me.
I didn't finish it because of that, because you know who did what to whom from the outset I felt no need to put myself through it... sorry
IF you want to hear how people suffer with OCD it is very well decribed though!
"Meanders all over the place"
The story jumped backwards and forwards. Was not sure whether I was more annoyed by the pathetic heroine or the author.
Written in a straight line so that the reader had a chance to follow the plot. Make the heroine less " really annoying".
The main characters - expected to hate him but after 5 chapters he had only been in the prologue. She I really hated very early on, her ACD was very annoying when read out. Think tap tap ad naseum.
Do not bother it does not convert well to an audio book.
"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.
"Great Story - Shame about the second narrator"
Possibly - although I only tend to listen to audiobooks once
This was an excellent story. You are drawn into Catherine's world and her fears. At first the shift in two time frames can be a bit hard to get into but once you have figured it out it works well. I found myself willing Catherine on and had to keep on listening to find out what happened next. The book does get very dark as it goes on and it becomes more and more clear why Catherine has ended up as she had.
Karen Cass is an excellent narrator. I found the use of a second narrator (David Thorpe) for just the start and end very off-putting and un-necessary. Particuarly at the end, it was very "jarring" to have another voice appear after so long of the one narrator. I don't understand why it was decided to present the book in this way as it wasn't needed and detracted from the story in my opinion.
Yes. Two points - when Catherine's friends fail to see what is happening and when she makes her attempted escape to New York. Without giving anything away, you could feel the desperation and how she found herself "In the darkest corner."
An excellent audiobook and well worth the listen. Don't be put off by the second narrator - it doesn't spoil the book.
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