Monday, August 27, 2012

#BookReview: Kept in the Dark - Penny Hancock

From the first page, readers will know there's something not quite right with Sonia.  By first appearances she's an average, middle-aged woman.  Then it becomes apparent that she's a little more than that.

When the nephew of a friend drops by her house to pick up a CD her husband mentioned at a gathering, Sonia invites him in.  Before the teen fully understands what's happening, Sonia has taken him captive in her home along the river.  Flattered by the attention initially, Jez doesn't even realize he's being held hostage.  But the days begin to add up and the lies Sonia is telling him don't add up.

Normally it would be difficult for a married woman with a child of her own to abduct someone and keep anyone from finding out, but Sonia has been in a one-sided marriage to Greg for the longest.  While he is clearly in love with her, Sonia has had no real use for him since they first married.  He provides a good home as a doctor, and his speaking engagements keep him on the road, making their union bearable.  Their adult daughter pops in infrequently, as well, so Sonia has the perfect set up.

What's not so clear is what Sonia wants from Jez.  Theirs is not a physical relationship, nor it is a mother-child relationship.  She seems to see him as her peer.  It's at those moments that her sanity is most questionable.

Though this is a noteworthy debut effort from Hancock, I found the flashbacks, which serve to explain her infatuation with Jez, to be mundane.  While they gave some insight into what drove Sonia, a fewer number of incidents would have been sufficient.  The book tended to drag at times and didn't really pick up the pace until almost halfway through.

Once the story really got going, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Sonia plays more Jedi mind games with people than Yoda.  Just when you're sure she's going to be caught, she worms her way out of the situation.  But her luck can't hold out forever, or can it?

In many ways, Kept in the Dark reminded me of Stephen King's Misery.  In Misery, Paul is rescued from a car accident by Annie and held hostage.  Though Sonia is not an adoring fan, hoping to squeeze a novel out of Jez, she's just as obsessive and just as crazy.








352pp
Published: August 2012
Disclaimer: Copy of book received from publisher, opinions are my own.

 

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