Into the Darkest Corner - Elizabeth Haynes BLURB: Catherine has been enjoying the single life for long enough to know a good catch when she sees one. Gorgeous, charismatic and spontaneous – Lee seems almost too good to be true. And her friends clearly agree, as each in turn falls under his spell.
But Lee’s erratic and sometimes controlling behaviour makes Catherine feel increasingly isolated. Driven into the darkest corner of her world, she plans a meticulous escape.
Four years later, and struggling to overcome her demons, Catherine dares to believe she might be safe from harm. Until one phone call changes everything…
This is a dark, disturbing and extremely accomplished first novel from Elizabeth Hayes.

REVIEW : The book opens with in May 2005, with a transcript of a scene set in Lancaster Crown Court. Lee Brightman is giving evidence against Catherine who he says had some emotional problems and was violent towards him. He confesses he did hit her, once in ‘self defence’. At once we have a sense of how their relationship ended. The author then cleverly weaves Catherine’s story between two timeframes: her time with Brightman in 2003/4 and later in 2007/8.

Catherine, pre Lee, is vivacious and outgoing and anything but a victim and her descent into a life abuse and isolation is shocking and so believable. She is reduced to a lonely, terrified woman with OCD and PTS, constantly in thrall to her checking the security of her home and restricting her life. As a reader you engage with Catherine right from the beginning as she talks about her compulsive need to check the locks on the door to her flat over and over again whilst acknowledging how ridiculous it is.

Gritty, tense, compulsive reading, you actually can feel your anxiety grow as you read certain passages and you have no idea how this will end. The pacing is superb with the author slowly building a feeling of unease, tension and suspense until you are almost as wound up as Catherine.
This is an edgy and powerful first novel, utterly convincing in its portrayal of obsession, and a tour de force of suspense.

One of my books of the year