How can a debut novel be a second helping you ask? Fittingly in two respects: 1) It’s the second novel I’ve read by the publisher. I thoroughly enjoyed Isobel Ashdown’s Glasshopper
18 months two and a half years ago. (How time flies!) Delighted to say I enjoyed this just as much and will, as a result, keep a closer eye on Myriad. 2) It’s the second novel on this year’s TV book club list that I’ve read too. The Sister Brothers was the 1st.
Before I launch into my short review of this book – what to say without giving the plot away? – a quick word about the TV book club. I do wish they’d spend more time talking about the book in question and digging deeper into its literary merits. More time is spent talking about some “celebrity” biography than the book that’s meant the raison d’etre of the show.. As a result I’m in no rush to keep up with it. I’d feel cheated if I read a title just because it was on their list
The fact is I read this because a) it’s been in the TBR for a year now. (Exactly a year in fact. It was Myriad’s 2011 anti-Valentine’s day release) b) it won 2011 the Amazon Rising Star Award and c) it coincidentally appeared on the TV Book Club List. Proving that sometimes a book must work really hard for me to pick it up!
Now there are loads of reviews detailing the unputdownableness of this book and you won’t find me disagreeing. It’s a scorching read despite the unpleasantness of its domestic violence theme and the bad language. Yes, here we have that rare phenomenon – I continued reading despite the foul language of its heroine and her pals … and the fact that I didn’t much like Catherine or her loose living. It just goes to show the author’s absolute control over the pacing of the novel. In fact, I thought she made it hard on herself by revealing Lee’s true nature in the prologue and creating a dual narrative, one in which we know what is to come and the second in which Cathy (her post-trauma identity) is dealing with the aftermath. That structural choice ensures that we are not completely sickened, that we are strong enough to cope, because, believe me, it is bad. It also ensures that we turn the pages because we want to know if Cathy manages to escape the psychological legacy of her experience and the resumed threats to her physical safety.
That said, it is a bit repetitive. But if I’ve learnt anything from Cathy, it’s that OCD is a repetitive affliction. So severe are her symptoms, however, that I couldn’t believe that she would be capable of holding down the job she has. No employee is that tolerant. Nor do I believe that she would have made it through ***that*** interview. There are a few more implausibilities here and there, the biggest being that I don’t accept Stuart would have chosen to mix business with pleasure in the way he does.
Even so, these plot weaknesses matter not one jot. Into the Darkest Corner had my heart rate pounding in places. As the tension grew, the pages turned of their own accord (as they do). All in all a very satisfying psychological thriller.