If you have ever wondered how an independent, fun loving woman ends up in a violent relationship, read Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes.
Catherine's voice is engaging from the start as she talks about her need to repeatedly check the locks on the entrance doors to her flat whilst also acknowledging the ridiculousness of her situation.
'I checked the flat several times, each time getting it slightly wrong. the more times I did it, the more tired I was getting. Sometimes I get stuck like this. Eventually I physically can't check any more.
'And a small, small voice of reason at the back of my head, trying to be heard above the cacophony of self-reproach, was screaming this is not normal. '
These detailed descriptions of Catherine's routines build up the tension as she slowly reveals why she is so obsessed with checking the locks. The author uses two different time frames to highlight how much Catherine has changed. The Catherine in 2003 is a very different woman to the frightened one in 2007.
The 2003 chapters detail how Catherine first met her abuser. Their relationship quickly becomes intense over a period of days as he constantly tests Catherine's boundaries, to see how much she will accept. It's easy to understand as an observer how Catherine blinded by lust (love?) misses the warning signs.
As the mind games continue Catherine finds herself in the position of being manipulative. This is not uncommon when a woman starts to develop low self-esteem in an unhealthy relationship.
There's a scene when she puts on a red dress to capture her abuser's attention, and it succeeds, but she is left feeling used and thinks 'this is crazy. What am I doing?'
This psychological thriller is fast paced and chilling, with a realistic twist. The impact of OCD and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder on victims of abuse is sensitively handled and believable. Lock all your doors and settle down for one of the most gripping reads of the year!
Publisher: Myriad Editions