Catherine has a compulsive disorder. Although lucky or unluky for Catherine, she has met a guy. His name is Lee. What started out as a good relationship, soon turns violent. Lee beats Catherine to an inch of her life and leaves her for dead.
Lee is sent to prison. Catherine starts a new life and changes her name to Cathy. Cathy gets a new tenant in her building. His name is Stuart and he is a doctor. Stuart is trying to help Cathy with her disorder. In the meantime, Stuart would like to start a relationship with Cathy. This will be hard as Lee has been released from prison and is coming for Cathy.
I have seen this book making its way across the world wide web. I knew I had to check it out. The opening scenes with the court room script was good. I thought with this that the story was going to so somewhere good. Unfortunately for me the characters did not do much for me. I felt the story was slow to get going in the beginning and the flashing back and forth was not as smooth as I would have liked. It read kind of like little snippts or dreams of Catherine's. Now, this may have been what the author was going after, which in this case, it worked. My problem was that I was suppose to like Lee in tbe beginning and understand how Catherine could fall for him but I did not see this. All I could see was the signs that he was bad news for her. Of course, this can be blamed on the fact that she was in love, which the saying goes " Love is blind".
Catherine did not have much of a personality for me. She was kind of bland. I don't think it was her compulsive disorder that can be faulted for why she felt the need to check all her locks double and triple times. Or why she had the feeling that someone was watching her. Catherine was right that someone was watching her...Lee. I can not blame Catherine for having her guard up. If I went through what Catherine did with Lee, then I would have my guard up too and it would be protected by my two friends...Smith and Wesson.
The relationship between Catherine and Stuart seemed one sided in the beginneding with Stuart taking the lead. The psychological thriller aspect that I thought I was going to get with Lee stalking Catherine was more on the quiet side until the last half of the book. Overall, a galant effort for Elizabeth Haynes and her first novel.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Elizabeth Haynes grew up in Seaford, Sussex and studied English, German and Art History at Leicester University. She 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. Into the Darkest Corner is her first novel; it was named Amazon UK’s Best Book of the Year 2011, film rights have been sold to Revolution Films, and rights have been sold in twelve countries and counting. Haynes lives in a small village in Kent with her husband and son. Visit her website at http://www.elizabeth-haynes.com/
A Q&A with Elizabeth Haynes, author of INTO THE DARKEST CORNER
WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION FOR THE BOOK?
It was a dream: I dreamed that there was a man who I knew was bad, but nobody believed me. All my friends were falling for him and the more I tried to tell them he was nasty the more they accused me of being petty and mean. I wanted to write a story about how it feels not to be believed, to the extent that you even doubt yourself. This was the germ of the idea that became Into the Darkest Corner.
At the same time, in my job as an intelligence analyst for the police, I was working on analysis looking at domestic abuse and was struck by how many of the victims did not fit into the stereotypical image of the domestic abuse victim. I wanted to show how easy it is for people to become trapped in an abusive relationship and how difficult it is to escape, especially when you are not believed. After her terrible ordeal, Catherine suffers from OCD and PTSD and I did a lot of research into these conditions.
HOW DID YOU COME TO WRITE INTO THE DARKEST CORNER?
I wrote the first draft in 2008 as part of National Novel Writing Month, which is an annual challenge to write a 50,000-word novel during the month of November. Nano, as it’s called, is an experience shared with hundreds of thousands of other participants around the world and so it’s very different from the usual way of writing a book.
HOW HAS YOUR PROFESSIONAL LIFE SHAPED YOUR WRITING?
I work as an intelligence analyst for the police, a job that I feel has been sadly overlooked by crime writers! It’s a civilian role which involves analyzing crime and intelligence in order to determine patterns in offending and criminal behavior, which can then be used to direct resources effectively. It’s the ideal job for a writer, because it requires a degree of creativity, the ability to think beyond the available intelligence to ask the eternal question, “what if…?” I’ve learned many things through my job, including that individuals often behave in the most unexpected ways; that things you’re told can’t always be relied upon; and that two apparently honest and trustworthy people may have completely different interpretations of the same situation or conversation.
ARE ANY OF THE NOVEL’S CHARACTERS BASED ON PEOPLE YOU HAVE KNOWN?
Not directly. Some of them have characteristics of people I know, of course, and physically some of them may bear a passing resemblance to real people. Some of my friends suggested names for characters, including my friend Naomi, who wanted the dubious honor of being “first corpse.”
HOW DID YOU DEVELOP YOUR CHARACTERS?
Once I’ve found each character’s “voice,” they almost develop themselves. After a while they become real people to me, and then they just pester me to tell their stories. I do get a sense of disquiet if I’m heading in the wrong direction with one of them. People are often surprising, even imaginary ones.
DID YOU WANT TO PRESENT THE MALE PROTAGONIST, LEE, AS A SYMPATHETIC CHARACTER IN SOME RESPECTS?
I wanted the reader to be able to see why Catherine fell for Lee in the first place. As well as being cruel and manipulative, he himself is damaged and has an element of vulnerability. From his point of view all his actions are motivated by love. What he does to Catherine is inexcusable, but like many violent people he is a victim too, at least in part: a product of the betrayals of his past.
HOW DID YOU CREATE AND MAINTAIN THE BOOK’S DRIVING SUSPENSE?
I didn’t have the whole story mapped out from the start, so a lot of the twists and turns were a surprise to me when they came along. Every time poor Catherine started to relax or feel safe, I’d ask myself ‘what’s the worst thing that could happen to her?’ and then just see how she’d react to it. Some bits of it gave me goose-bumps, and those bits mainly stayed in.
DID YOU FEEL A RESPONSIBILITY TO GET THE DETAILS OF WHAT HAPPENS IN THE NOVEL RIGHT, FOR EXAMPLE REPRESENTING OCD IN A CERTAIN WAY?
Yes. OCD is a condition that takes many different forms and I don’t think any two experiences of it will be the same. I’m lucky to have a very good friend from university days, Alexia, who is a consultant clinical psychologist. She was able to suggest some useful books to read, two of which I would particularly recommend to anyone who would like further information about OCD: Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder by David Veale and Rob Willson, which provides a useful insight into treatment options; and The Boy Who Couldn’t Stop Washing by Judith L. Rapoport, which tells the stories of a number of people of all ages with OCD of various kinds.
WHAT MAKES INTO THE DARKEST CORNER RELEVANT TODAY?
Every day, women, men and children are threatened, seriously injured or killed by violent partners or ex-partners. The issue of stalking and harassment is very real and very current. It’s easy to say that something like this would not happen to you, that you would be able to avoid this situation, but I wanted to show with the book that it can happen to anyone.
WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I’m always clipping things out of the weekend papers. I have files full of stories about people and situations that have sparked off some idea or theme I’ll probably never write about, but every so often I’ll go back through them and see if anything leaps out.