1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Into the Darkest Corner (Paperback)
Four stars for this debut novel because it is unputdownable, brilliantly atmospheric and a convincing portrayal of Catherine's personal descent into the hideous spiral of domestic abuse and its aftermath.
However, there are a number of significant plot holes and this took the edge off the book for me. It's vital to the story that Cathy's long-standing friends desert her. This they do in a heartbeat following one word from Lee (who, charming as he is, they barely know), despite the fact that Cathy is clearly acting oddly and has recently confided in them that Lee is too intense. Would ALL her friends really abandon her just like that? One even tells enormous lies about Cathy in a witness statement and, though we see this friend succumb to Lee herself eventually, at the witness statement stage she could not possibly have been so much in his power that she would do that. The OCD and violence in the book are vividly given to us in absolutely forensic detail. Surely we could have had a more thorough and convincing explanation of the breakdown of every single one of Cathy's friendships?
Also, Lee gets a surprisingly short sentence - partly, apparently, because he manages in court to portray Cathy as a mad woman. Yet the injuries from the final attack as it is described would have been absolutely horrific. It is clear to us that he nearly kills her - regardless of her mental state at the time, how is that passed off as self-harm or the result of her violence towards him? Plus, she is discovered moments after the attack by a neighbour who has seen Lee leave the house with blood on his shirt.
Finally, Lee says no-one raised the alarm about Naomi. No-one? Really?
Miss Haynes' attention to some details - the OCD and the actions of an abuser and his victim - is fantastic, but the overall story arc needs a bit more of the same treatment.