KEPT IN THE DARK
Hancock’s fiction debut is hard to categorize. While it contains suspense and gothic plot twists, the story is, at heart, one of a woman’s psychological unraveling and the impact her impulsive act has on two families. While some plot points may be hard to swallow and the ending vague and unsettling, Hancock is adept at characterization. You’ll go deep into the mind of the disturbed anti-heroine and feel sympathy for her and for her all-too human neighbor.
Sonia, a middle-age housewife and voice coach, lives in her family home on the Thames. She seems the picture of normalcy until her neighbor’s 15-year-old nephew, Jez, drops by. The handsome and sensitive youth stirs something in Sonia, and she decides to keep him — literally. She drugs and trussses Jez, concealing him from her often-absent husband and grown daughter, who lives elsewhere.
The strain of hiding him brings up troubling memories for Sonia, and this only increases when her husband and daughter return for a visit. Then Jez’s aunt, the hard-drinking Helen, stops by to ask Sonia for her help. (PLUME, Sep., 352 pp., $15.00)