Kept in the Dark

  • Runtime: 10.3 Hours
  • Recording: Unabridged
  • Release date: 8.28.2012
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio
  • Genre: Fiction/Mystery & Detective
  • 10.33 hrs8/28/2012Unabridged
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-4708-1520-2
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A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week, August 2012

When her neighbor’s fifteen-year-old nephew goes missing, Sonia is the last person that anyone would ever 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 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.

Editorial Reviews

“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 bestselling 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

“This creepy, well-written debut is reminiscent of John Fowles’ The Collector…With Sonia, Hancock pulls off the considerable feat of ‘writing mad.’”

Guardian (London)

“A clever, creepy thriller about misplaced affection and abduction…in clear, chilling prose.”

Marie Claire (UK)

“In British author Hancock’s stunning debut, a psychological thriller set over less than a week, a respectable married woman kidnaps a fifteen-year-old boy and holds him captive in her historic Thames-side London house…Descriptions of the putrid waters of the Thames add to the gothic atmosphere.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“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.” 


“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

Author Biography

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.

Reader Biography

Rosalyn Landor has won eight AudioFile Earphones Awards and been a finalist for the Audie Award. She has worked as an actor since the age of seven, both in Europe and the United States. Her extensive list of credits includes leading roles in film, theater, and audio productions, as well as in various miniseries on all the major television networks and in such productions as Masterpiece Theatre’s Sherlock Holmes and Rumpole of the Bailey.

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