Monday, April 24, 2017

Audiobook Review: Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes

Publisher: Audible Studios
Pub. Date: February 22nd, 2012
Length: 14 hours, 1 minute


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. 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 . . .

What Did I Think About the Story?

Into the Darkest Corner is one of those books that seemed to always pop up on the "because you purchased this book you might also like..." list whenever I purchased or added a psychological mystery to my wish lists and, on top of that, it seemed to be well loved by those that had read it. Because of this when the ebook/audiobook combo came up on a great sale I knew I had to purchase it. From the description I knew this was going to be a case of psychological and physical abuse and manipulation but, having now read it, I'm amazed at how well the author not only portrayed the aftermath of this kind of terror but how she slowly unwound the story and kept the tension building until the very end.

The story goes back and forth, from chapter to chapter, between Catherine's time with Lee and four year's later when she's finally starting to move on with her life. This slow, deliberate release of information, especially where it deals with the development and breakdown of her relationship with Lee, made it difficult to figure out exactly what happened to Catherine at the hands of Lee and what could possibly have caused the damage she was dealing with in the future storyline. You see things start to slowly happen - things moved around in her apartment, Lee showing up unexpectedly when she's out with friends, Lee dictating what she wears and doesn't wear - and you keep waiting for the other shoe to drop and then....the story switches into the near future and you know that something absolutely horrible happened but you just don't know yet what that is. This kept me glued to my headphones in the hopes that I'd finally learn the truth. And when I was horrifying yet completely satisfying as far as thrillers go.

My absolute favorite aspect was seeing how the abuse Cathy experienced effected her psychologically. What she experienced was insidious and brutal and ended up causing her to have long term OCD and paranoia issues. I never thought about the fact that something like that could cause someone to develop severe OCD and the author did an exceptional job of detailing Cathy's rituals and showing how it not only affected her actions and feelings but those around her, especially Stuart who is a psychologist and tries so patiently to help her as a friend and, later on, potential love interest. The best parts were listening to her internally tell herself that she's being ridiculous - of course the door is locked! - but then hear her rationalize checking it one more time, then one more time again, and so on. This was just fascinating and something I was not expecting from the story.

The main narrator (Karen Cass) was great and did an excellent job of inhabiting the fun, outgoing, and promiscuous Catherine in the past as well as the withdrawn, jumpy Cathy in the present that had cut off all ties to her past and kept herself from forming any real relationships with anyone new. These are two very different personas and both came off as real and developed. Listening to this as an audiobook also made the violence and abuse, both physically and psychologically, that much more horrible and poignant and the narrator went a long way to making that the case. It should be noted that there is quite a bit of graphic violence, especially towards the end of the story, so anyone who is squeamish to that sort of this should be forewarned.

Into the Darkest Corner was a wholly entertaining if horrifying audiobook. It definitely kept me listening and made it hard to walk away as so many chapters left off on some new revelation or experience and I constantly felt the urge to try and go one more chapter. This being my first experience with this author I'm definitely interested to see what else she has to offer.

What Did I Think About the Cover?

This cover is okay but doesn't really give any feeling for the story. There's another cover that shows a door that's slightly ajar but still has the chain lock fastened that perfectly represents the OCD actions of Cathy and that always looming sense of danger.

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

I purchased a copy of Into the Darkest Corner for my own audiobook library. All opinions are  my own. You can find more information on the book, including other reviews and links to where you can purchase it, on Goodreads.


  1. Thank you for the review. I have been buying more audiobooks lately.

    1. You are very welcome, Carol! I've been buying more audiobooks too! I just don't have enough time to physically read all the books I want to, so listening to them on my commutes and when cleaning has made it easier to do more : )!

  2. I read this book as a paperback. Here's what I thought.

    THE DARKEST CORNER is quite a page turner, just as all the reviews promise. Don't be put off at first when the book has short chapters on various years, and you think the book is a hassle and too difficult to keep track of. Because that won't last for long.

    You may get sick of all the drinking and sex, but these chapters are intense, and you won't want to stop reading to see if and how Catherine escapes.

    But when a book contains sex scenes in every other chapter, that's usually a sign of poor writing. A novel isn't good if it resorts to lots of sex for lack of a good story.

    In the case of INTO THE DARKEST CORNER, Catherine's partying, drinking, and having lots of sex in 2003 to 2004 is a contrast to the Catherine in 2007 to 2008. Her behavior then emphasizes her behavior later.

    But it's also a sign of poor writing when the main character refuses to tell people important things. And that's what happens sometimes. Lucky for Haynes that she wrote such a page turner or she wouldn't get away with that cheap tactic to keep the tension going.