‘He comes to me when the chatter of school children has died away.’

‘This is a silent time, almost as if the river and I are waiting.’

One winter’s afternoon, voice coach Sonia opens the door of her beautiful riverside home to fifteen-year-old Jez, the nephew of a family friend. He’s come to borrow some music. Sonia invites him, pours him a drink – and realises she can never let him leave.

Haunted by memories of an intense past relationship, Sonia is filled with an overpowering desire to keep Jez hidden and protected from the outside world. It is though her own life depends on it. And outside, on the shores of the Thames, long held secrets are coming in on the tide…


‘A gripping account of a woman on the edge, who commits appalling crimes and offers them up in a tone of quietly rational domesticity’ N.J Cooper, August 2011

“It’s such a thrill to read a book as deliciously dark and richly evocative as Tideline. From the first page to its shocking finale it draws you into its world and won’t let go. A wonderful debut…I took Tideline 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.” SJ Watson, author of BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP

‘TIDELINE is very clever and very chilling, and the surprises keep on coming until the very end… It is incredible that such a gripping thriller can also be so compassionate in its dealings with its characters’ Julia Crouch, author of CUCKOO

Pick of the Shelves 2012 – The Sun

‘A clever, creepy thriller about misplaced affection and abduction…in clear, chilling prose’ Marie Claire, December 2011

‘This creepy, well-written debut is reminiscent of John Fowles’s The Collector, but with the genders reversed…The efficacy of this sort of psychological thriller depends largely on the plausibility of the main characters, and with Sonia, Hancock pulls off the considerable feat of “writing mad” convincingly enough for us to understand the logic of her actions.’ Laura Wilson, Guardian, 30.12.11

‘An impressive debut from a writer we’re certain to hear more about if she can fulfil the promise of this first thriller…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.’ Geoffrey Wansell, Daily Mail, 06/01/12

‘This psychological thriller…builds to a brutal climax…’ Australian Women’s Weekly, Feb 2012

‘I am struggling to think of a thriller or crime novel that has thrown me into its story in such a gripping, and also rather disturbing way so instantly in quite some time…If you love a good, gripping tale with thrills and spills and one of the most morbidly fascinating (scary and disturbing) protagonists then Tideline is a book you need to pick up pronto. Much recommended.’ http://savidgereads.wordpress.com

‘This psychological thriller…builds to a brutal climax…’ Australian Women’s Weekly, Feb 2012

‘KEPT IN THE DARK kept me awake far into the night. Each page pulled me deeper into Sonia’s twisted narrative.  The unstoppable manner, in which Penny Hancock drew me into this character’s world, as I read between psychic half-spread fingers covering my eyes, is a testimony to the author’s talent. By the end, I had no choice but to race to the finish.’ Randy Susan Meyers author of The Murderer’s daughters

‘I was transfixed at page one of Hancock’s twisty and tense debut, KEPT IN THE DARK. A nerve-fraying journey that will keep you mesmerized to the shocking end. Heather Gudenkauf – New York Times bestselling author of THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE and THESE THINGS HIDDEN

‘Utterly compelling, and expertly written, KEPT IN THE DARK perfectly captures one woman’s desperate need to love and be loved.  A spot on rendering of obsession, I read the story with the lights on, and for days after finishing it, could not get it out of mind.  It’s that get-under-your-skin terrifyingly good.’—Lesley Kagen, National Bestselling Author of Whistling in the Dark and Good Graces

‘This 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.’ – Michele Leber, Booklist Review, 11.06.12

‘Stunning psychological thriller’- Gabe Habash, PW Picks: The Best New Books for the Week of August 27, 2012

Writing about her crime in a calm, measured voice, Sonia comes across as a blend of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca and John Fowle’s The Collector, a woman as smart as she is unstable. Her story isn’t creepy enough to keep you up all night, but it casts an appropriate shadow for summer’s end.’ Josh Emmons, People Magazine, 24.09.12