At the house next door, respectability can hide all manner of sins.
When her neighbors 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, Sonias life is a picture of perfection and normalcy - until she meets Jez. From the moment he shows up on Sonias 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.
"Starred Review. Stunning...Despite Sonias twisted actions and her sensual feelings about Jez, Hancock is careful to show that shes not a sexual predator. Descriptions of the putrid waters of the Thames add to the gothic atmosphere." - Publishers Weekly
"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 Sonias 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 doesnt 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
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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.
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