Kept In The Dark by Penny Hancock(1 out of 5)

Like the next guy(or gal), I’m a huge fan of the psychological thriller. Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson- was the last one I read that absolutely stunned me. I had high hopes for this novel, but instead I was bored and beyond creeped out.

Sonia is a 40-year old wife living in a house that is the envy of the neighborhood. There’s an entire half a chapter in the book devoted to those who are raving about the house. What else don’t they know? That behind that wall of envy is a woman who’s going through one mother of a mid-life crisis. Her marriage seems one-sided and cruel at times. You don’t feel a lot of sympathy for Sonia’s husband Greg. If anything, he’s the root of the issue(s). One day Jez, a teen boy visiting from out of town, drops by to borrow a vinyl record from Greg’s collection. Sonia decides he’s not leaving and imprisons him in a room not used often. Why?

Jez isn’t having it, but Sonia starts slipping him drugs she stole from her sick mother, so he’s there and down for the count. Helen, his mother’s friend and also a friend of Sonia’s, starts suspecting all is not kosher in the house on the Thames, and after figuring it out and confronting Sonia, pays the ultimate price. Throughout this all, Sonia continues to regale us with tales from her dark past, and a young man named Seb who broke her heart, and spirit, and who-it’s quickly obvious- is who Jez is replacing, at least in her twisted mind. You wonder if Sonia is suffering from empty nest syndrome, or menopause issues, or just emotional abuse at the hands of her noncommital husband, but what’s obvious is this- she’s a very sick lady who needs help. Does Jez escape with his life? Does Greg? Does Sonia get help? Incarcerated? Does she survive? There’s all sorts of twisted elements to this story- emotional abuse, suicidal thoughts, sexual feelings for a young boy, and you can’t quite sort through the jumble to get into the story. It felt like a muddled mess.

Penny Hancock’s writing is incredibly heartfelt- you really do feel as if Sonia is reaching out to you from the pages, and it is the sort of book that written with such ferocity as it is, really does get under your skin. You are sufficiently creeped out. I was TOO creeped out. I couldn’t get past her character flaws, and the joys she takes in tying the poor kid to the bed, etc. Too freaking creepy for me.

~ by generationgbooks on January 5, 2013.

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