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Extended Audio Sample Kept in the Dark, by Penny Hancock Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (613 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Penny Hancock Narrator: Rosalyn Landor Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “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

  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week, August 2012

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Chris Chalmers | 1/22/2014

    " loved it. whizzed through it, totally compelling. greenwich, suburbia and the thames all beautifully realised. best novel i've read since AD Miller's Snowdrops. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Addie | 1/19/2014

    " What an odd, disturbing, surprising and well written story. Totally caught me off guard. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Julie Haydu | 1/14/2014

    " If it weren't for the great endorsements on this book from authors I admire I would not have picked it up. Definitely a page turner, but the characters were flat and the story would have worked much better if I had any sympathy at all for Sonia. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Concetta | 1/13/2014

    " The best book of the year so far for me - i finished it in half a day. "

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About the Author

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.