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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…


“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

‘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, the Guardian

‘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

‘This psychological thriller…builds to a brutal climax…’ – Australian Women’s Weekly

Penny Hancock was born in London. She is the author of internationally bestselling novels and writes articles and short stories...