In September of 2012, I went to the UK BookCrossing UnConvention, a weekend of books, authors and lots of socialising. To learn more about bookcrossing, click here. One of the authors who was going to give a talk about her books was Elizabeth Haynes. I had never heard of her – she had just published her second book when she did her talk – but I got hold of her first book Into the Darkest Corner to get an idea what type of writer she is.
One of the things I found fascinating about Elizabeth Haynes is that she writes her books during NaNoWriMo. If I remember correctly, Into the Darkest Corner was her third NaNoWriMo book and she was able to get it published. Reading the book, it is not hard to see why.
Into the Darkest Corner is the story of Catherine. When we meet Catherine, she is a timid, scared woman who is extremely OCD about locking her apartment and the route she takes to work. She does not trust anyone and when Stuart moves in into the apartment above her, it disrupts her carefully constructed life.
Elizabeth Haynes makes use of flashbacks as a device to tell the reader what has happened to Catherine to make her so frightened. Every other chapter is about Catherine in the present, the next one is of Catherine in the past. It is a very effective way of getting to know what is going on, although it does take away a bit of the suspense towards the end of the story of Catherine in the past.#
Into the Darkest Corner is very gripping. In the beginning, I found Catherine very annoying with her OCD habits and her distrust of especially Stuart. However, as I got to know her past and what happened to her, I understood her behaviour much better. Elizabeth Haynes is very good in drawing the reader into Catherine’s world and making the reader experience her fear and helplessness.
Although Into the Darkest Corner is a debut novel, it does not read like one. In her talk, Elizabeth Haynes explained that she does a lot of editing and it shows. Although the middle part of the book could use a bit more tightening up – the plot could be moved forward a bit faster – it is a very good read, and one I could heartily recommend.