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on June 16, 2016
I'm not going to regurgitate the story as much as I am going to explain what I really enjoyed and what I gathered from this great novel.

It's important to note that this novel is extremely graphic in many aspects. I really liked this because I found it very engaging. I find it also helps me expand the way I think and imagine things, and Haynes does an excellent job in describing every detail, providing exceptional imagery. I think some readers may be slightly repulsed while others would be riveted. So with that, this may not be everyone's book to read. But if you like graphic novels, this is a read for you.

If there is one thing I'd have to critique about the novel, it is its tendency to get a little dull from time-to-time. This is not to say the information provided during these periods was unnecessary; it just wasn't exactly thrilling. The story is told through two timelines, past and present, in which Catherine (the main character) drastically changes. It consistently swaps between past and present throughout nearly the entire novel. This allows the reader to gather intel while inquire as to what causes the this drastic change in Catherine. This leaves an exciting aspect of mystery. However, there were times where I found myself being highly engaged in the past part of the story and less interested in the present. This wasn't a huge deal but it did create a sense of dread when it swapped from past to present because I didn't want to read about the present. On the other hand, there were parts where I told myself, "I'll just read 20 pages and get back to work" and I'd end up reading 80. This was more towards the latter end of the novel for me.

One of my largest incentives when reading is to gain empathy for characters and learn how to really appreciate each and every perspective prior to making judgements. I love this because it applies to life and helps me learn valuable lessons, especially with my young and inexperienced age. Haynes does an excellent job at conjuring different perspectives for the reader to indulge in. I loved how I could relate to Catherine and sympathy in areas where I hadn't considered before. Aside from the vivid suspense, this was my favourite part of the novel.

Overall, I really recommend this novel for all those who love graphic thrillers. The character development and diverse perspectives is a necessary but not always present aspect in novels; however, in this novel, it is very present. This is a great graphic thriller that harvests many emotions!
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on July 21, 2016
An absolute page-turner! I loved the way it moved between the past and the present and the stark differences in Cathy's personalityand the reasons why they occurred. The writing's smooth and gripping and simply put - the book is a great summer read! Kind of like a made for TV movie!
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on December 2, 2012
Absolutely stunning. Haynes based a thriller unexpectedly by putting the reader in a psychopathological environment that only the greatest writers can achieve. I couldn't physically, nor mentally put this book down. From the first page to the last I read it with a debilitating sense of understanding the power of trauma's. A must!!
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on January 7, 2013
I enjoyed this book very thoroughly until about page 350.
A few things to mention:

1. I thought the plot summary sounded very much like the Sleeping with the Enemy movie, which is why I didn't buy it earlier. For those thinking the same thing, rest assured that it is NOT the same storyline.

2. I liked the format, once I got used to it. You essentially read the background and the trauma at the same time as interspersed episodes showing the recovery and journey towards a happy ending. Both parts of the story were interesting.

This book was riveting at first, but a few things detracted from it.
It started with an excellent pace, which continued to build. Reading it, you KNEW that there was going to be an action-packed, intense climax involving a final confrontation. The problem is that the last 75 pages or so, this energy and pace started to go DOWN, not UP. The suspense just subtly started to wane.

I'm going to try to explain this with no spoilers.

There was a stellar opportunity to create a very dramatic final confrontation. This opportunity was RIGHT THERE, right under the character's nose (or FOOT, rather!)... and not only does this interesting plot opportunity simply pass by.... but the ACTUAL final confrontation has ZERO excitement, pop, suspense, or anything like that. There is hardly even a ghost of a physical or emotional confrontation, and the actual ending felt like it tried to be shocking but wasn't.

For a novel that had moments of high blood pressure for the reader, all signs pointed to it going out with a bang. Absolutely not. This was highly anticlimactic.

Further to this climax disappointment.... the last 25 pages or thereabouts were filled with superfluous content. Adding another boring courtroom transcript at the end of the book (simply to balance the one at the beginning of the book, which was equally unnecessary?) added absolutely nothing to the story that we didn't already know, except a few details to make the story LESS harrowing or exciting. It was entirely superfluous and I would have removed it entirely if I edited this book.

The final outrage is that at the very end of the book the happy ending is hammered home (with redundancy, because we already KNEW that things were ending positively, so it's overkill) AND, the author brings in extraneous information about an unimportant character (just so we have happy endings all around). This is the year 2013. You cannot in all good conscience name a lesbian couple androgynous names like Sam and Jo. Seriously. How could your editor not catch this.

I feel very ripped off, as this novel had ALL the potential and makings for a great thriller and zipped along with pace and excitement for the bulk of the book, but somewhere along the way lost energy and started to fizzle.

The real problem too is that a good editor or good pre-readers should have caught all of this. This is really a waste of a great idea and a potentially excellent book. I wish the author had given it just a bit more time at the end to do her own work justice.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon July 23, 2012
It's always such a pleasure to discover a really fine debut novel and this one from Elizabeth Haynes is a zinger! Don't know what the current temperature is wherever you are, but it's mighty warm in the southwest - however, Into the Darkest Corner provides enough chills to cool anyone.

Haynes has crafted an excellent psychological thriller with an emphasis on OCD and the dreadful toll it takes. The author's job as a police intelligence analyst in which she explores criminal patterns and behavior has given her rare insights. Thus her characters are authentic, quite believable, often frighteningly so.

Catherine Haynes is a bit of a party girl, so it's not surprising when she's out one evening in Lancaster, England, and meets Lee Brightman. Sparks fly and instead of the usual one-nighter Catherine thinks she has met someone who might be permanent. How permanent she has no initial idea. Lee is not only great looking but attentive, a real charmer. How lucky can a girl be? Not very.

Shortly after they become serious and start making plans for a future together she begins to have questions - he has never told her anything about himself, not even his job. Plus what she once thought of as his attentiveness soon becomes oppressive - she feels she's being scrutinized at all times and he begins telling her what to do. It becomes progressively worse when in the name of what he calls love he monitors her every move, and has fits of temper.

Coming home late one evening Catherine is greeted with the back of his hand, and that first blow soon escalates into a fierce cruelty. She manages to escape Lee but just barely and he's jailed for almost killing her. But, her life will never be the same again.

Some four years after the beating that almost took her life she has assumed a new identity but is consumed by obsessive-compulsive syndrome - repeatedly checking the locks and windows of her flat, unable to engage in casual conversations and prone to sleeplessness, panic attacks. Despite what her life has become she is alive - but what if Lee were to be released from jail?
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Well, last week I gave you a title I thought you should add to your must read suspense list this summer. I'm sorry, but you'll have to add Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes to the list as well - it's a remarkable debut novel and a fantastic edge of your seat read!

The book's prologue opened with a court transcript that piqued my interest. Mr. Brightman is being questioned about his relationship with a Miss Bailey.

Into the Darkest Corner is told from two time periods 2003 and 2007. It took me few pages to work out that the two time frames are told from the viewpoint of the same person - Catherine Bailey in 2003 and Cathy Bailey in 2007.

In 2003, Catherine is a young, full of life woman who meets Lee, a bar doorman, one night. He seems like the perfect catch - attentive, good in bed, handsome, thoughtful and more. But, in 2007, Cathy is tormented by extreme anxiety, panic attacks and OCD. She can't stop checking her doors, windows and locks. What in the world happened between then and now? Maybe Lee wasn't quite the catch he seemed to be.....?

Haynes employs a highly effective technique, unravelling the two stories in alternate chapters. The danger in 2003 is insidious, slowly building towards a climax, with the tension ratcheting up and up. I liken it to a scary movie at the theatre. I wanted to yell at Catherine 'NO, trust your instincts - get out of there!' In 2007 Cathy is struggling to cope with life when.........

Into the Darkest Corner does deal with quite serious subjects. Haynes does an insightful job in depicting obsessive compulsive disorder and domestic violence.

I never read other reader's reviews until after I'm finished my own. I was honestly surprised to find there were many readers who did not like the book. I myself found it to be a riveting psychological thriller that kept my interest until I turned the last page. (Actually I had a hard time not skipping to the end midway through just to see what happened) Into the Darkest Corner was Amazon UK's Best Book of the Year for 2011 and film rights have been sold.

Recommende by this lover of suspense fiction.
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on November 28, 2012
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It is very suspenseful, I could scarcely put it down. The domestic violence is hard to stomach at times, but it is a necessary part of the story, indeed, a brutal reality of life that the author bravely confronts. She manages to spin a story that is thrilling, heart wrenching, and uplifting all at the same time.
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I read this book during a couple of morning and evening rush hour commutes on the train and man, did it make me constantly look behind me to make sure no one was watching/following me. I really did feel like the main character while reading this. I constantly felt paranoid. This book definitely taught me that maybe it isn't so easy to leave an abusive relationship as some might think. You always hear stories about women who stay with their abusive partners and you think to yourself, "Why don't they just leave?". I think after reading this book, a lot of people can begin to realize sometimes it just isn't that simple. The only complaint I have about this book is the writing style. It's a little to poor in quality which is a shame considering the storyline is amazing.
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on September 13, 2012
This was the best book I have read in a long time. I could not put it down!Others reviews have given a synopsis of what it's all about so I won't go into that here, but just wanted to say this is well worth reading. I couldn't wait to pick it up each day. Highly recommend.
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on March 29, 2014
A psychological thriller about a young woman who fell for an abusive man. Lee took total control over Catherine's life, making it more and more difficult for her to leave him. The story is told from her present world...a world of obsessive compulsive behaviours, brought on by the psychological and physical fall out from Lee...and this alternates with her past, the time she was with Lee and the tale of his abuse.

This is a horrifying story yet I couldn't put it down. It is harsh, gripping and frightening. I had to keep reading to see if Catherine would make it through to the other side. Would she finally get away from Lee? Can she overcome her OCD?

A really good read.
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