Thursday, August 4, 2011

It Ran Out of Steam!

Into the Darkest CornerInto the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I don’t like stories where ladies go out to a disco for a good time “dancing in that red dress until I caught the eye of someone, anyone, and best of all finding some dark corner of the club and being fucked against a wall” and I like it even less when it’s from ladies who are personnel officers. Sluts who give interviews and hand out important jobs are certainly not by cup of tea. Indeed had I known that there was going to be an abundance of this type of language in the book, I simply wouldn’t have bought it.

However I’d bought it for a song, and whereas some people don’t mind throwing things away which they don’t use, I am not of that ilk. Neither was I going to waste my precious breath complaining to Amazon until they relented to give me my 99p back.

The story opens with a court scene with the two major players, the accused Lee Brightman and the – alleged – victim Cathy Bailey (really! couldn’t the author have picked another surname?). The dialogue doesn’t pick up very well on the Kindle so we see:

MR ---------------------------------------------------------------------

MACLEAN ---------------------------------------------------------------------

MR ---------------------------------------------------------------------


MR ---------------------------------------------------------------------

MACLEAN ---------------------------------------------------------------------

MR ---------------------------------------------------------------------

BRIGHTMAN ---------------------------------------------------------------------

with the dotted lines being the dialogue. Took a while untangling the skein there. Not a good start at all, so combined with my opening paragraph, which runs on with little if any separation, so it can be tricky seeing who’s saying what. And what is being said is pretty boring.

Nonetheless there were a few things which began to intrigue me slightly: Cathy can only go shopping on even days. She has to check the locks on all her apertures when leaving the flat, starting with the outer window and ending with the front door, and in the right order too. This twanged deep sympathy notes within me from my own past and furthermore when coupled with the realisation that Cathy was entering into an abusive relationship with Mr Brightman, chords in the minor key vibrated inside me, and I was siding with our heroine, desperately hoping she wouldn’t come to too much harm ~ even if she remained a committed two-dimensional character throughout the narrative.

As everything boiled up to a seething climax I sided with Cathy, urging her on to biff, bonk and humiliate and torture the nasty man with everything she’d got. I was jumping up and down clenching my little fists and cheering at the end as loudly as if Tottenham Hotspur had just scored a goal when, all off a sudden:

The tale ended.

We were 91% of the way through the book. The tale had ended. This is the bit where the audience rises and walks out of the cinema, with 9% of the film left to run. I don’t. I have to remain in the cinema until the last credit has been shown, the projecting equipment switched off and the lights have come back on. So I read and read and read, wading through the incredibly dreary bits. The new lover-boy, Stuart, is a one-dimensional being. He is quite attractive for me, but only because “he smells of hospitals”.

The dreary dialogue ends with yet another terribly-formatted court room scene, and after all that an incredibly boring spiel from the authoress relating what gave her the idea, and how she had started to form and draft the book.

Ms Haynes works for the Police Force, as I understand it. If she attends to her work with the same care she writes her novels, I’d begin to get a little concerned if she were to be in charge of my patch.

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