When her neighbor’s 15-year-old nephew goes missing, Sonia is the last person that anyone would ever suspect. At 43, 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 she has worked a lifetime to forget. Drawn to Jez by a compulsion that she scarcely understands, Sonia takes him captive - prepared to sacrifice everything to keep him.
Evocative of thrillers by Chevy Stevens and Sophie Hannah, Kept in the Dark is a haunting debut novel about obsession, desire, and the potential darkness in us all.
Penny Hancock lives in Cambridge, England, with her husband and three children. She is a part-time primary-school teacher at a speech and language school and has traveled extensively as a language teacher. Kept in the Dark is her first novel.
©2011 Penny Hancock (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“It’s such a thrill to read a book as deliciously dark and richly evocative as Kept in the Dark. From the first page to its shocking finale it draws you into its world and won’t let you go. A wonderful debut…I took Kept in the Dark on my travels, thinking it would last me a couple of weeks. Two days later I’d finished it, having stayed up all night, and was telling everyone I met they had got to read it. Brilliantly written and totally gripping. I loved it.” (S. J. Watson, New York Times best-selling author)
“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.” (Daily Mail, London)
“A sparklingly creepy debut thriller with the most brilliant premise.” (Daily Mirror, London, four-star review)
Wow, this really is one of those books you cannot put down. I found myself going everywhere with my headphones on, and being pretty grumpy with anyone trying to talk to me, while "Kept in the Dark" was playing. While I felt I knew where this was ultimately going, the fascination of experiencing the whole situation, and the many unexpected happenings while things got worse and worse, kept me completely glued to Hancock's book.
Being a big Tim and Jeff Buckley fan, the use of them throughout the book worked very well for me, as I found myself picturing both sixteen year old characters looking like the beautiful Buckleys,Tim, and his son, Jeff; who both died so young. I will admit to playing, "Once I was," and, "Lilac Wine," on the MP3 player frequently, between listens to this book. This certainly helped bring me back into the emotional days of my own long lost youth, sigh. For me, this familiarity with the musicians being made reference to so frequently, moved me into an empathetic mind set with the main character, so whenever she would start stepping into worse and worse territory, I really wished I could stop her....but I sure couldn't turn it off!!
Besides all that, the author fills the book with less than positive characters and relationships that are painful, in a realistic, Harold Pinter sort of way...not uplifting, but the sort of thing that will make you shake your head in recognition. The reader cannot help but understand just how the main character, Sonia,, gets buffeted onto the path of confusion and secret desperation she is eventually inescapably mired in.Hancock really has a handle on how memory and the power of the past and place really starts to take hold,and often in a less than healthy or realistic way, as one moves into middle age and feels themselves heading into the years one never quite pictures themselves being!!
The narration of, "Kept In The Dark," by Rosalyn Landor, is effective, convincing and enjoyable. She does an excellent job of male voices, and particularly the teenage boys, Seb and Jez. I love a narration that allows me to forget there is only one person reading to me, and Landers accomplishes that.
I very highly recommend this one...it is not a pleasant ride, but the revelations and horrific decisions made along the way certainly kept me hanging on, to the very dark end. Look forward to Penny Hancock's next one!
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