The Best 2012 Book Recommendation So Far: Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes
August 08, 2012 | ~2 mins read time.

Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth HaynesA good friend, with whom I have traded book recommendations with since I was in Grade 10 and she was in Grade 9, sent me a recommendation on GoodReads for a book called Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes [Non-SSL link].

As usual, it was a good recommendation. Into the Darkest Corner is a story about woman named Catherine Baily, referred to as "Cathy" throughout, and it is set in England. Cathy has a severe case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (O.C.D.). She has to check the door to her flat umpteen times before she can get out to work, make sure the curtains are just so, and make sure the windows are secure; even the one in the bathroom that doesn't open and is far to small for any person to get in should it ever open. [spoilers beyond...]

Cathy had a terrible ordeal at the hands of a man, Lee, who was a police officer. He was terribly attractive, and her friends were all green with envy when she and Lee began to get serious. Then, she started having some major doubts from the outset. One moment he was attentive and amazing in bed, and the next he was a complete tyrannical nightmare.

Eventually, he contrives to trap her. She tries to flee the country, only to find out that the job she had applied to and was hired for was a ruse to test her loyalty to him. By this point, he had managed to also alienate all of her friends. She was, effectively alone, and she couldn't trust the police because he was one of them.

The book is written in an interesting manner. The chapters alternate between the past and the present. As we watch Cathy's life spiral out of her control in the past, we also see her day-to-day ordeal with battling O.C.D. It's almost crippling. (I have it, and I'm so glad that it's super-mild. I cannot imagine being nearly trapped in the house because of it.)

A new man moves into Cathy's building and he's a psychologist. Haynes has done such a good job of writing Cathy's unreasonably, though understandable, suspicious nature that I was instantly as leery of him as Cathy seems to be. It turns out that he not only understands her condition and knows how to deal with it, but he helps her start to heal.

Lee's released part-way through the book and starts up his old tricks again. This time, Catherine's got a policewoman, her new love, and a lost friend on her side. The former friend had taken up with Lee during and after he was released from prison and he had already begun to treat her as he'd treated Cathy. She leaves a note at one point for Cathy saying that she believes now.

It's a thriller that's actually thrilling, something that far too many don't manage these days. It's definitely a recommended read and the best I've had so far this year.