Friday, November 25, 2011

Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes .

Meet Cathy Bailey, is she a mad woman or a victim? Cathy has developed OCD an Obsessive–compulsive disorder and has a vigorous checking regime. Into the Darkest Corner sees the author use the first person narrative very well. Elizabeth speaks the voice of Cathy so well that you can really take her character on board although you will doubt whether she is a victim or simply losing the plot. The suspense in this novel is good and demonstrates how people can so easily doubt other people's claims. This book deals very well with anxiety, Obsessive–compulsive disorder and mental health issues.

Elizabeth sets the scene and moods very well, for example at location 180:

All I could think of that night was dancing until I was numb, smiling and laughing at people with my new best friend, dancing in that red dress until I caught the eye of someone, anyone, and best of all finding some dark corner of the club and being fucked against a wall.

Elizabeth also writes with slight humour, for example at location 658:

For a first time, it wasn’t very special. He smelled of engine oil and tasted of day-old instant coffee; his face was rough with stubble and he was heavy against me, but still I wanted him badly. Although he seemed to have forgotten that it might be an idea to use a condom, I wasn’t about to stop him now; it was fast and awkward, a tangle of legs and arms, and clothes still getting in the way. His breath was coming fast and rasping against my throat, and a few minutes later he pulled out of me and came over my belly.

Elizabeth explains the emotions of how Cathy really feels, for example at location 1047 when her doctor says:

‘You know yourself that there’s no logical reason why you need to check things more than once. You complete these safety behaviours because of the way you feel, not because something has physically changed to make things unsafe.’

There is nothing offensive in this book, the hardest paragraphs being at locations 3458:

With a sigh, he sat back heavily onto the sofa, his jeans now at mid-thigh, his cock hard – as though the sight of me broken and bleeding was turning him on – and told me to suck.

...and location 3963:

‘Fucking shut up,’ he said, ‘it’s good like this, you’re going to love it.’ While he fucked me, he took away the air from my lungs, my fingers at my throat, trying to relieve the pressure, the air burning my lungs, the roaring in my ears signalling that I was going to lose consciousness in just a matter of moments. Then, still fucking me hard, he’d ease the pressure and I’d cough and gasp, dragging air into my lungs. The only way to stop him was to give in. I screamed, as loud and as hard as I could, tears racing down my cheeks. I’d almost seen death. I was utterly terrified and screaming was almost involuntary – so I screamed. He didn’t try to stop me, didn’t put his hand over my mouth again, and just let me scream. It did the trick. A few seconds later he pulled out of me and jerked off over my face.

I did not like the structure of this book, it really spoilt the book for me. Into the Darkest Corner begins with a court transcript, then rolls back to an event in 2001. From then this book alternates between 2003 and 2007, constantly rolling backwards and forwards a gap of 4 years in Cathy's life. Finally there is another court transcript and an ending. This novel is set in Lancaster in 2003 and London in 2007. I found it very frustrating the back and fore between Lancaster and London, 2003 and 2007 as the story of Cathy unfolds. In the Afterword, Elizabeth tries to explain this time-shifting:

How did you decide on the structure of the novel?

The structure was mainly to help prevent boredom and writer’s block. It’s very useful to have two stories on the go – if you’re bored with one, you just move on to the other.

Elizabeth is not good at geography as demonstrated at location 4018:

Lee was all the way back in Lancaster, I thought. He thought I was at work. He was five hundred miles away, and even if he found out I was gone now, I’d be safe on the plane by the time he got here.

...Lancaster is actually 242 miles from London, not 500.

The ending of Into the Darkest Corner is okay though. This novel is available as a Kindle ebook of 992 KB and was published in 2011. It is Elizabeth's first novel and I will not be trying another. I can't understand how this book has become an editors pick for 2011 on Amazon. I think this book is POOR and I suggest people give it a MISS. I think this book FAILS and I shall only vote it 2 stars on GoodReads . There are far better crime thrillers out there for you to enjoy.
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