Although I can’t say I found this thriller terrifying, it was certainly difficult to put down. First-time novelist Elizabeth Haynes effectively evokes suspense by telling her story in two parallel time periods—the earlier one where we have a good idea of what happens and the present where we do not.
In the present, Catherine Bailey is a terrified woman suffering from OCD and PTSD. Three years before, her abusive boyfriend Lee Brightman nearly killed her. Since he managed to discredit her with her friends before that and she had a breakdown during the trial, his punishment was light. Although Cathy has moved away from London to Lancaster and obsessively performs her security checks, she is certain that he will come for her when he gets out of jail.
Five years earlier, Cathy is a care-free young woman who likes picking up men at bars. She meets Lee, who is mysterious about his work but stunningly handsome. We readers have seen him murder his previous girlfriend at the beginning of the book, though, and Lee is soon manipulating Cathy to try to separate her from her friends.
In response to suggestions from her new neighbor, the post-trauma Cathy finally begins getting help for herself, but she is wise enough to know that there is a difference between an unfounded fear and a real fear. Of her new contacts and medical professionals, only a female police officer seems to understand that she may actually be in danger.
Haynes is good at keeping up the suspense, even for the earlier plot for which we already understand the basic outlines. Awhile back I reviewed Accidents Happen, featuring a heroine in a similar condition facing a similar threat. Into the Darkest Corner seems much more realistic in its portrayal of a person suffering from OCD and depicts its characters’ behavior more believably.