Catherine Bailey is living the perfect single life, doing her rounds of the club and party circuit in Lancaster, with good friends in tow. It’s Halloween, 2003 and they find themselves at trendy nightclub ‘The River’ where one of the cute doormen catches Catherine’s eye. She sees him again a couple of weeks later, and then again a week after that, and it seems that gorgeous Lee Brightman is making an effort to seek her out. Slowly, a friendship develops and she and her friends can’t believe her luck at having met such a perfect gentleman. He’s good looking, sexy, charismatic, an all-around great guy.
The friendship inevitably becomes a steady relationship. Catherine is thrilled, and willing to overlook the strange hours and disappearances that seem to accompany his secretive work. But slowly, almost imperceptively, Lee’s increasingly erratic behaviour reveals that he is not all he appeared to be when they first met. He’s moody, he’s controlling, and eventually he’s violent. He’s clever and manipulative and knows exactly how to isolate Catherine until she has no-one but him to depend on. Can she escape?
The story is structured in alternating chapters between 2003-2004 and ‘present day’ 2008-2010 and is a brilliant construction of the repercussions of severe psychological damage on both the victims and their perpetrators. It will have you on the edge of your seat, and you’ll be tempted to check your doors and windows a bit more often than you used to!
One of the central points of the story is OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), and I found that this was dealt with sensitively and thoroughly, with very clear indicators showing how it develops and advances and why.
So, my rating is 4 stars. One of the reasons I didn’t give it 5 is that I would have liked a more in-depth explanation of what exactly Lee’s job was. It’s only touched on quite peripherally, and I wanted to know more of that aspect and how it may have affected Lee’s personality (disorder!) and subsequent behaviour.