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3.39  ·  Rating details ·  1,895 ratings  ·  363 reviews
Ceci n’est pas l’histoire d’une petite fille qui disparaît. C’est l’histoire d’une petite fille qui réapparaît... Sonia, la quarantaine, mène une vie confortable dans la jolie maison des bords de la Tamise où elle a grandi. Mais depuis que son mari, Greg, multiplie les déplacements professionnels à l’étranger et que leur fille Kit est partie à l’université, son existence ...more
Paperback, 381 pages
Published April 11th 2013 by Sonatine (first published June 21st 2012)
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Average rating 3.39  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,895 ratings  ·  363 reviews

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Krystin Rachel
Ugh, what the fuck did I just read?

This missed the mark on being a psychological thriller in a big way - it's basically borderline pedophilia fiction.


I just can't even with this shit.

I was so uncomfortable the entire time reading this. I'm still uncomfortable thinking about it to write this review.

A quick synopsis: Middle-aged Sonia - unhappily married with a grown daughter - plies 15-year-old Jez with drugged alcohol in order to make him compliant so she can hold him captive in her
Sep 12, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
What would possess a married woman with a young adult daughter to do something so despicable? That is the question i asked myself while reading what is an unnerving and fascinating read. Sonja to the outside world has a happy life, with a family of her own, a good job and a magnificent home overlooking the river Thames. But behind the scenes things are far from happy, being in a loveless marriage and having her daughter living away from home, Sonja's is keeping her sanity together by a thread.

Jan 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, mystery-thriller
A woman who is struggling to go forward in life due to events of the past haunting her consciousness and those memories are also vague and will slowly become a realization.
She starts a fixation and obsession with one man a teenager, with an objective to rekindle a long gone love and very soon her actions will come to fruition sooner than expected. The story takes you through her behavior and thoughts and bonds you with the questions what will she do next? That expectation on the forthcoming
May 31, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

Grossed me out! I understood going in that it was about a middle aged woman that kidnaps a teenaged boy. While that's kind of ew, I thought maybe it might get a Gillian Flynn type treatment. The subject matter is just so messed up, but the writing is awesome and the characters are train wrecks but you love them anyway. This wasn't that book. The main character would drug the boy then do things like lick his stomach. When she got to sucking his earlobe, that was enough for me.
Lou Robinson
Dec 19, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: london
Now here's an interesting book....if a little far fetched and 'ewww'. Why so interesting? Because it's all based round modern day Greenwich, along the Thames path, where James and I regularly walk. It was one of the main reasons I picked up the book in Waterstones, and I did love the references to places that really exist (the power station, the market, the foot tunnel, Rhodes bakery where James gets his coffee on the way to work). I now need to try and work out which house is "River House" ...more
Paul Fulcher
Dec 25, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
I am due on a 9 hour flight back from holiday, the Republic of Consciousness longlisted books that I brought with me to re-read for the shortlist judging session are so good I have devoured them all, my daughter has bagsied the Kindle and, bizarrely, there is no bookshop in the area.

It's time for the hotels 'left behind books' collection.

They had Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections but I've already made by 'most overblown novel by a US male author' award for 2017 (joint to 4 3 2 1 and The Nix) so
Melanie Wilson
At times effectively disturbing, other times it just drags and seems implausible in a way that interferes with one's ability to get lost in the story. Unfortunately none of the main characters or their lives are particularly interesting, and so the time spent on them feels wasted, and then main point of the novel seems to be how Sonia will manage to keep Jez and avoid discovery. The fact that she manages to do so for a little over an entire week is a bit of a stretch. There is a shocking reveal ...more
Feb 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, this is a terrific read. A psychological thriller, the narrative slowly and gently unfolds. The writing is precise and assured and I felt in good hands, even though the subject matter, a middle aged woman who abducts a teenage boy, is something that would usually make me feel uncomfortable. Sonia, the abductor, though clearly disturbed by events in her past, is sympathetically portrayed, and all the characters are believable. The denouement made me to gasp and I didn't see it coming at all, ...more
Lady Delacour
Stopped at 9%.
and Violent
content of
child raping child.
Listened with TTS.
Not Clean,
Foul with
Foul Language.
Sep 26, 2012 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
I won this book through a Goodreads Giveaway on June 10th. I never received the book and therefore won't be reading and rating it.
Bernadette Robinson
This was a Library Reading Group read for the group that I am in. I didn't get it finished in time and I can't really remember what the book got as an overall score. I gave the story a 4 stars or 8/10.

I quite enjoyed the story and found it an easy read that had me gripped and wanting to know more about what was happening.

Sonia is almost living two lives, the life of the here and now and the life she had as a teenager with all the angst that it entails. Told in shortish chapters this story
This book starts well, but then quickly deteriorates into a well-written but ultimately lifeless and icky little endeavour. The writing is brisk and clean, but the whole thing was just a bit too British for me - and this is coming from someone who has lived in England her whole life. It's a dark and disturbing little novel, but it's utterly bloodless and restrained in a way that should be more effective, but also leaves it feeling toothless and contradictory, a psychological thriller that wants ...more
One gif that perfectly summed up my feelings for this book;

So, when I read the synopsis of this book, I never thought that it can be more disturbing than it actually is. Everytime I thought okay, the character is so messed up, then she ended up surprising me by being more deranged than she already was.

This story is dark, it’s disturbing but also amazing for me. I like the storyline, I like that the author wrote from two sides of stories; Sonia and Helen. I just love a good plot twist. I like
Jenny Benn
A mildly disturbing psychological drama about a woman who becomes obsessed with a teenage boy in an unconscious effort to resolve a dysfunctional past relationship. The book begins with the boy arriving at her house to borrow a music CD from her husband. She invites him in, gets him drunk and keeps him captive in the house. The narrative revolves around her warped emotions and troubled memories. Meanwhile the boy's relatives are trying to find him and a police search is underway.

It was an
Oct 01, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, suspense, drama
I checked this book as "Its ok". I really wanted to like it, but I just could not get in to it. I finished it in the hopes that something big would happen. The description compared it to Gone Girl but I don't see anything similar there at all. No great plot twists. Remotely unlikeable characters and two person point of view is about all they have in common. The story follows a woman who is obviously sick in the head, basically kidnaps a boy because she quickly becomes obsessed with him and he ...more
Linda Hardy
Nov 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a story, Sonia is middle aged, husband often works away, daughter away at university, she takes an interest in 15 year old music student Jez, he arrives at her house to borrow an album, but Sonia decides to not let him leave, read the lengths she will go to stop anyone finding Jez including murder, scary story in a way, makes you think what tips people over the edge into doing something like this.
Fifi LaFleur
It's an ok read. There is really nothing very likeable about the two characters that have voices in this book. One is having a psychotic break and the other an intensely self absorbed midlife crisis about 10 years too soon. The teen involved is ridiculously naive and I don't entirely believe him.

I thought it was interesting and while I guessed the main plot line from the start, the journey with this nut bar who utterly rationalizes all her terrible decisions is kind of fascinating.
Apr 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Effectively creepy story of a woman (the narrator) who takes a 15 year old visitor hostage. Some genuinely suprising developments, including a couple of reveals in the last couple of chapters. Nice change to usual whodunnit thrillers. I think you'd enjoy this if you liked The Girl on the Train.
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourite-books
I read Penny Hancock’s debut novel Kept in the Dark in one breathless gulp. I absolutely couldn’t put it down. I love it when that happens.

Sonia lives in a house next to the Thames. Her husband, Greg, is a lecturing neurosurgeon; her daughter, Kit, is a student at university and Sonia herself is a vocal coach. From the outside looking in, it would appear that Sonia has it all. It’s pretty obvious, though, that Sonia isn’t entirely sane. When the nephew of a friend drops by to pick up an album,
Jul 26, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My Rating 3 / 5
Format Paperback

I’m very torn by this book. I read a couple of reviews before I started reading and it was billed very much as an atmospheric thriller. That it is.

It is also very creepy and frankly odd. The story follows Sonia who develops an obsession with her friends nephew, Jez. She keeps Jez against his will and the story begins to unpick Sonia’s history.

She’s clearly a troubled woman, and much focus is given to her relationship as a child with Seb. I have to say I worked out
Okay this is really creepy. What this woman is doing. I don't want to know any more.

A disturbed middle-aged woman named Sonia talks 15-year-old Jez into having a drink with her, and then another. He becomes drowsy and falls asleep at her home – the River House. Now awake, knowing his love for music, she encourages him to check out her husband's music equipment and his music room in the attic space of the house. Desperate to keep her with him, she locks the door behind her as she descends the
Kayla Ashley
I won this book from a first reads giveaway here on goodreads. Unfortunately, I will NOT be reading or reviewing it any time soon because I never actually received it! I won it on June 10th, and it's now September 26th so I'm pretty sure it's not coming. I e-mailed Penguin (they hosted the giveaway) about it a couple of times and I don't know why but no one's gotten back to me. I'm a little sad because I was sooooo excited to read this. Oh well. I just wanted to explain in case anyone wondered ...more
Ann Marie
Not the authors fault - I was expecting something way more attaching...mostly I just shook my head thru this one...crazy lost soul holds teenage boy captive...she drugs him, ties him up, moves him into a dark cold garage and for suck on his toe?...seriously messed up...something about a brother and a crazy mother and a detached a child this nut job has a crush on her older - all these years later she feels the need to replace him...I don't know...I wanted to ...more
Aug 05, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was not sure about this at all as I felt that the story was quite unlikely. I am still not sure but I warmed to the book a little more near the end. the end however i felt was a bit loose. I felt it was quite tense but I also felt that considering how inept the heroine was at covering things up it was pretty unlikely that the police had not discovered her keeping Jez, I can't believe they are that inept.
Melanie Macleod
Jul 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite good and intense, could feel myself reading quicker. Def good read if you like suspense thrillers. She does a really good job of having you feel for all the characters. Everyone is flawed. And that feeling of youth and missing being young. Really good read. Qam you will really like this one I think. x
Nov 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I read this book because it was recommended for people who were fans of the book Gone Girl, and I am definitely in that category. Kept in the Dark wasn't quite as good in my opinion, but almost. The revelation at the end was a big surprise to me. Definitely a page turner, and hard to put down, especially for the last twenty-five pages or so.
Daren Kearl
Jan 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A gripping read. Keeps you turning the pages wanting to know what's going to happen next. The first person narrative of a mother who kidnaps a teenage boy due to early psychological trauma which gradually gets revealed, works really well and for the most part makes you feel tugged between sympathy and "mad bitch". The final reveal towards the end was a surprise I didn't see coming.
Jul 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book started off a bit slow but I was soon gripped.....very disturbing main character Sonia - but you kept wanting to read what happened next and willing her to get caught. The tension was such that I did not guess the twist at the end! My only disappointment was the last chapter - what really happened? It's one of those stories that leaves you to draw your own conclusions..... Aaarrgghhh!
Renita D'Silva
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could not out this book down. It just flowed so nicely and I absolutely did not see the twist at the end coming. Would recommend it to all lovers of crime/psychological thriller. Reads like Liz Jensen and Rosamund Lupton.
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Penny grew up in South East London and then did an English degree in Newcastle Upon Tyne. For several years she taught English as a foreign language in Italy, Greece and Morocco. She then took a PGCE, got a job as a Primary school teacher in an inner city London school, and moved into her partner Andy’s short-life house in East London, which is now part of the hardcore under the M11 that links ...more