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'Darkest Corner' a grim psychological thriller

The Associated Press
Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 12:29 AM

"Into the Darkest Corner," by Elizabeth Haynes (Harper)

A young woman with a severe case of obsessive-compulsive disorder reflects on why she cannot feel safe anymore in Elizabeth Haynes' gripping psychological thriller, "Into the Darkest Corner."

Catherine Bailey believes that Lee Brightman is the perfect guy. He's handsome, charismatic and attentive to her wants and desires. But when they start dating, Brightman begins to show signs of jealousy. Then he forces Bailey to submit to his will, both physically and psychologically. Her friends don't believe her when Bailey tries to tell them about Brightman's true nature. She tries to run, but he captures her. She is saved from death at the last second, and he is sent to prison.

Fast-forward three years as Bailey is trying to live her life without terror. Every night she spends several hours making sure her doors and windows are locked. Her upstairs neighbor has guided her in taking steps for counseling. Just when her mental state begins to change, she receives a phone call telling her that Brightman is being released from prison.

The narrative switches between meeting Brightman for the first time and the relationship that follows, along with her life three years after Brightman was sent to prison. Haynes puts the reader into Bailey's mind and the result is a grim, dark and extremely difficult story. The feelings of isolation and helplessness ooze off the page.

"Into the Darkest Corner" is a compelling first novel.

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