Kept in the Dark: A Novelby Penny Hancock
At the house next door, respectability can hide all manner of sins
Fans of New York Times bestsellers Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, and The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison will love Penny Hancock’s chilling debut thriller about a woman on the edge. When her/i>/i>/i>/i>/b>… See more details below
At the house next door, respectability can hide all manner of sins
Fans of New York Times bestsellers Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, and The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison will love Penny Hancock’s chilling debut thriller about a woman on the edge. When her neighbor’s fifteen-year-old nephew goes missing, Sonia is the last person that anyone would suspect. At forty-three, she is a strikingly attractive wife and mother. And like the River House, her lovely home overlooking the Thames, Sonia’s life is a picture of perfection and normalcy—until she meets Jez. From the moment he shows up on Sonia’s doorstep, the gorgeous teenage boy awakens a torrent of memories that threaten to reveal a terrifying truth. Drawn to Jez by a compulsion that she scarcely understands, Sonia takes him captive—prepared to sacrifice everything to keep him.
“An impressive debut from a writer we’re certain to hear more about…There are hints of a young Daphne du Maurier in Hancock’s cool, evocative prose as she reveals the terrifying extent of Sonia’s obsession…Beautifully worked and with a sharp eye for the menace in the commonplace, it lingers in the memory like a Schubert melody, and casts a distinctive spell.”
“This creepy, well-written debut is reminiscent of John Fowles’s The Collector…with Sonia, Hancock pulls off the considerable feat of “writing mad”.”
Pick of the Shelves 2012
“I was transfixed at page one of Hancock's twisty and tense debut, KEPT IN THE DARK. A nerve-fraying journey that will keep you mesmerized to the shocking end.”—Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of The Weight of Silence and These Things Hidden
“KEPT IN THE DARK kept me awake far into the night. Each page pulled me deeper into Sonia’s twisted narrative. The unstoppable manner, in which Penny Hancock drew me into this character’s world, as I read between psychic half-spread fingers covering my eyes, is a testimony to the author’s talent. By the end, I had no choice but to race to the finish.”—Randy Susan Meyers, author of The Murderer’s Daughters
“In British author Hancock’s stunning debut, a psychological thriller set over less than a week, a respectable married woman kidnaps a 15-year-old boy and holds him captive in her historic Thames-side London house.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Utterly compelling, and expertly written, KEPT IN THE DARK perfectly captures one woman's desperate need to love and be loved. A spot on rendering of obsession, I read the story with the lights on, and for days after finishing it, could not get it out of mind. It's that get-under-your-skin terrifyingly good."—Lesley Kagen, National Bestselling Author of Whistling in the Dark and Good Graces
“This invites comparison to John Fowles’ The Collector, but Hancock gives her narrator, Sonia, a more complex motive, crafting a narrative that grows darker as its level of tension builds. An accomplished first novel that lingers in memory.”—Booklist
“An impressive debut from a writer we’re certain to hear more about…There are hints of a young Daphne du Maurier in Hancock’s cool, evocative prose as she reveals the terrifying extent of Sonia’s obsession…Beautifully worked and with a sharp eye for the menace in the commonplace, it lingers in the memory like a Schubert melody, and casts a distinctive spell.” -The Daily Mail (UK)
“This creepy, well-written debut is reminiscent of John Fowles’s The Collector…with Sonia, Hancock pulls off the considerable feat of 'writing mad.'” -The Guardian (UK)
“A sparklingly creepy debut thriller with the most brilliant premise. When 15-year-old Jez pops round to voice coach Sonia’s to borrow some music, she can’t help herself—and she doesn’t let him leave.” -Mirror, 4-star review (UK)
“A clever, creepy thriller about misplaced affection and abduction...in clear, chilling prose.” -Marie Claire (UK)
"A gripping account of a woman on the edge, who commits appalling crimes and offers them up in a tone of quietly rational domesticity." -Natasha Cooper, author of the Trish Maguire Mysteries
“In Hancock’s debut novel, a pretty, middle-aged voice coach named Sonia invites a teen boy into her house on the Thames—and decides not to let him go. Writing about her crime in a calm, measured voice, Sonia comes across as a blend of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca and John Fowles’s The Collector, a woman as smart as she is unstable.”—People
Pick of the Shelves 2012 -The Sun (UK)
- Penguin Publishing Group
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- Sold by:
- Penguin Group
- NOOK Book
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- File size:
- 855 KB
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
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Meet the Author
Penny Hancock grew up in south-east London and then travelled extensively as a language teacher. She now lives in Cambridge with her husband and three children. Kept in the Dark is her first novel.
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This is a super-creepy and atmospheric book that takes places on the Thames outside London. The main woman in the story reminded me of Amy in Gone Girl, that is, she is a psycho, but what she does makes sense and she gets away with things. It's very disturbing at times on many levels. Very well written, original and still resonates with me.
3.5/5 Kept in the Dark is British author Penny Hancock's debut novel. Forty something Sonia lives in a beautiful home on the Thames River in England. She is being pressured by her family to sell the house now that her children are grown, but she is quite resistant to this idea. Their constant pressure seems to have widened a crack in Sonia's psyche. Fifteen year old Jez comes to the door of River House to take up an offer from Sonia's husband to borrow some music. He's not home, but Sonia invites him in anyway......and decides that he won't be leaving. He is a beautiful boy and she decides she will be the one to protect him and keep him safe. So she drugs him and locks him in the music room..... All of this happens within the first few chapters of the book. So, we know the crime early on. The question is will Jez escape? And why is Sonia doing this? We get little glimpses into her past as the book progresses, revealing more and more of a relationship that was distinctly unhealthy. What drove this book for me was Sonia's rationalizations and thought processes. Hancock has written wonderful dialogue for Sonia. She is able to completely twist the situation around in her mind - she is truly only doing her best to help this poor boy - completely obliterating the fact that she is the one putting him in danger. She can't understand why Jez is not more grateful. The crime Sonia has committed is horrifying, but is Sonia herself who is gave me that creepy, unsettled feeling in my stomach as I read. There is a twist at the end, that I did suspect was coming a few chapters before. Hancock employs a first person narration style for Kept in the Dark. It's unusual as the entire book is told from the criminal's point of view and we never really get to know the victim at all. We know Jez wants to escape, but only from what Sonia tells us. Readers looking for an action packed book won't find it here. Instead the book moves at a slower pace as Hancock deliberately and deliciously builds the story bit by bit. Hancock has penned an interesting debut. I would pick up another book by this author - her next is scheduled for the first half of 20
Interesting book, quick read. Liked how things were revealed in the book through flashback memories, but was disappointed in the last chapter of the book. Just felt like the author could have added more.
*This is an advanced readers copy* librarything giveaway 4 Stars When fifteen year old Jez goes missing family relationships that were already crumbling reach their limits obscuring realities about the disappearance. The family’s neighbor and friend Sonia, who can’t let go of her past lost love, is looking to fill an emptiness that has deepened since her daughter has gone off to college. Jez could be the answer to Sonia’s problem and her way to never have to let go of all that she has lost and all that is trying to be taken from her. First of all, I almost didn’t enter this giveaway because of the description but I am glad that I did. Are parts of this hard to read? Absolutely! There were times when I didn’t think I could possibly go on and would take a step back for a couple of days. If you can get around some of the actions of Sonia (it is hard to do) the plot is actually multifaceted and riveting. That said, there is only one likeable character and that is Jez, but unfortunately the only perspective given of him is through the other characters so that is why this didn’t get five stars from me. Reality slaps the face with this sort of book. Even though it is a work of fiction stuff like this is happening in our real world and I always appreciate that. This author is very brave in putting these words on the page. I have seen some of the negative reaction but I applaud her because something like this happened somewhere yesterday, is happening right now, and will happen tomorrow. Yes, I recommend this one wholeheartedly!