When young, pretty Catherine Bailey meets Lee Brightman, she can’t believe her luck. Gorgeous, charismatic, and a bit mysterious, Lee seems almost too perfect to be true. But what begins as flattering attention and spontaneous, passionate sex transforms into raging jealousy, and Catherine soon discovers that Lee’s dazzling blue eyes and blond good looks hide a dark, violent nature. Disturbed by his increasingly erratic, controlling behavior, she tries to break it off; turning to her friends for support, she’s stunned to find they don’t believe her. Increasingly isolated and driven into the darkest corner of her world, a desperate Catherine plans a meticulous escape. Four years later, Lee is behind bars and Catherine — now Cathy — is trying to build a new life in a new city. Though her body has healed, the trauma of the past still haunts her. Trusting no one, she compulsively checks every lock, every window, and every door of her apartment, and varies her route home each day. Then Stuart Richardson, her attractive new neighbor, moves in. Encouraging her to confront her fears, he sparks unexpected hope and the possibility of love and a normal life. Until the day the phone rings. Mesmerizing, skillfully drawn, vividly cinematic, Into the Darkest Corner is an ingeniously structured and plotted tour de force of suspense that marks the arrival of a major new talent.
Amazon Best Books of the Month, June 2012: Many times as I was reading Into the Darkest Corner, the refrain from that old R&B song kept replaying in my head: "It's a thin line between love and hate..." Apologies, as it'll now be stuck in yours for the next couple of days, but Elizabeth Haynes' highly suspenseful and cleverly crafted psychological thriller will haunt you for much longer. In it we find our obsessive-compulsive heroine, Catherine Bailey, checking and rechecking her door locks six times, eschewing red clothing, shopping only on certain days--clearly something horrible has happened, and Haynes masterfully teases out the disturbing details, which involve a Jekyll and Hyde boyfriend. As the story unfolds, it provides subtle insight into why, despite red flags and bruises, someone would stay in an abusive relationship, and it makes you root for Catherine all the more to overcome the psychological fallout. If you're a fan of cinematic showdowns, you won't be disappointed. But the quietly powerful moments in Haynes' narrative resonate even more, as she illustrates that one of the bravest things someone can do is lock the door behind her, maybe five or six times, and step out into an uncertain world again. --Erin Kodicek