About Into the Darkest Corner
• Paperback: 432 pages
• Publisher: Harper Paperbacks (January 2, 2013)
When young, pretty Catherine Bailey meets Lee Brightman, she can’t believe her luck. Gorgeous, charismatic, and a bit mysterious, Lee seems almost too perfect to be true.
But what begins as flattering attention and spontaneous, passionate sex transforms into raging jealousy, and Catherine soon discovers that Lee’s dazzling blue eyes and blond good looks hide a dark, violent nature. Disturbed by his increasingly erratic, controlling behavior, she tries to break it off; turning to her friends for support, she’s stunned to find they don’t believe her. Increasingly isolated and driven into the darkest corner of her world, a desperate Catherine plans a meticulous escape.
Four years later, Lee is behind bars and Catherine—now Cathy—is trying to build a new life in a new city. Though her body has healed, the trauma of the past still haunts her. Then Stuart Richardson, her attractive new neighbor, moves in. Encouraging her to confront her fears, he sparks unexpected hope and the possibility of love and a normal life.
Until the day the phone rings . . .
This is a psychological thriller that will keep the reader engrossed in the novel until the very end. It starts with a bang and ends with chills running down your body. It’s that good! The story begins with a court hearing, then moves to a murder scene. After that, each chapter alternates with flashbacks from the past and the present. Eventually, the past catches up with her present and the story stays in the present. While it was a bit confusing at first, once the story fell into place, it wasn’t difficult to make the mental shift.
Catherine (the past) is a vibrant, confident, who loves to go partying with her girlfriends. One night, she meets Lee and they quickly develop an intimate relationship. While Catherine loves everything about Lee, with time, she starts to see a darker side to him that keeps her on her toes. Coming home to find that he’s been there, seeing small insignifcant items moved, feeling that she’s being followed, and having to tell him everything she does so that he won’t freak out on her begins to take its toll on her mental well-being. She becomes jumpy and scared that she will provoke him to hit her or become sexually violent with her.
Lee is a charmer and not only seduces her, but begins to tell her friends things that aren’t true about Catherine, to make excuses for her bruises, scratches, and somber attitude. Soon, her friends begin to believe him and she is isolated from her social circle and feels alone and unable to escape from him. Because of his charisma and line of work (special units police officer), he begins to play mind games with her and she soon realizes that her only way of escaping is leaving the country. Because of Lee’s abuse of power, Catherine is kidnapped, raped, mutiliated, and is slowly dying. However, a neighbor notices something and saves Catherine from any further torment….or so she thinks.
Present time Cathy (Catherine) is suffering from PTSD, OCD, and becomes so paranoid that she isolates herself from anyone and limits her time away from her apartment. Because of her past, Cathy doesn’t trust anyone in authority, doesn’t trust her own instincts, and is always on high alert that Lee is watching her even though he is in jail. Living in a flat with 2 other neighbors, she meets Stuart, a psychologist. He is recovering from a failed engagement, she is recovering from the trauma and abuse she endured with Lee. Both begin a very “safe” and slow relationship,with Stuart encouraging Cathy to seek treatment for her OCD. While in outpatient therapy, Cathy begins to address the trauma, learns coping skills, and slowly begins to reclaim her life. I loved the Cognitive-Behavioral techniques addressed in the book.
While this book isn’t a self-help book, it does address in detail the ways Cathy was taught to overcome her anxiety and no longer fear the unknown or the illusion of Lee. This helps Cathy handle Lee differently and the situations she finds herself in, as she reconnects with an old friend and soon has to confront her fears. This is a creepy, psychological thriller that readers may identify with. We’ve all had “bad” relationships, hopefully not near as bad as Catherine’s….but enough to make the reader sympathize with her. Lee was a charmer and the more he scared Catherine, the more turned on he becomes, which in turn equates to the level of violence he demonstrates. Abuse of power and his charasmatic attitude means that he will do anything to keep Catherine under his thumb, isolated from friends, and dependent on him. Having Stuart in her life, Cathy learns what it’s like to have a healthy relationship, slowly learns to let her defenses down around him, and begins to face her anxiety and fears.
I loved this book and read it in one day! This hasn’t happened in a very long time, but I just had to keep reading to find out what happens next. The ending was chilling and sinister because it leaves the reader wondering if Lee’s letter and “gift” is really trying to show how he is ready to take responsibility or if it’s a threat to what will happen to her when he gets out. Cathy only shows the first part of the letter to the detective and wants to hold on to the ending for herself, until she sees his “gift”. I wondered why she wanted to keep it, but it is obvious that she will always feel connected to him in some way. After mutilating her body, in my opinion, it’s the later, going along the lines, “if I can’t have you, no one else can”. In Lee’s mind, Catherine is his and only time will tell what he means by that….I look forward to hearing your thoughts about the book, once you read it!
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ELIZABETH HAYNES is a police intelligence analyst. She started writing fiction in 2006 with the annual challenge of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and the encouragement of the creative writing courses at West Dean College. She lives in a village near Maidstone, Kent, with her husband and son.
Elizabeth’s Tour Stops
Wednesday, January 2nd: Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Thursday, January 3rd: Booked on a Feeling
Monday, January 7th: Peppermint PhD
Tuesday, January 8th: Drey’s Library
Thursday, January 10th: The Blog of Lit Wits
Thursday, January 17th: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Monday, January 21st: All Grown Up?
Tuesday, January 22nd: Kristina’s Favorites
Wednesday, January 23rd: Seaside Book Corner
Thursday, January 24th: Bookworm Meets Bookworm
Monday, January 28th: Kelly’s [Former] France Blog
Tuesday, January 29th: Proud Book Nerd
Wednesday, January 30th: Literary Feline
Thursday, January 31st: It’s a Crazy, Beautiful Life
Monday, February 4th: Books in the Burbs
Tuesday, February 5th: Book Journey
Wednesday, February 6th: Tina’s Book Reviews