I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for debut thriller The Tall Man today – I was intrigued by this novel as soon as I heard about it, and it did not disappoint.
A SENSELESS MURDER. A TERRIFYING LEGEND. A FAMILY HAUNTED.
1990: In the darkest woods, three girls devote themselves to a sinister figure.
2000: A young mother disappears, leaving behind her husband and baby daughter.
2018: A teenage girl is charged with murder, and her trial will shock the world.
Three chilling events, connected by the shadow he casts.
He is the Tall Man. He can make you special…
I find urban legends fascinating, and so the idea of a novel based around a mysterious figure known only as “The Tall Man” made this novel hugely appealing when I first heard about it.
The Tall Man takes daughters
The Tall Man is held responsible for the disappearances of missing children and can be summoned through various rituals of which no one seems entirely sure of the exact details. This gives the novel a supernatural vibe, which I realise won’t appeal to everyone, but I thought that Locke was very clever in the way in which she based her story around this figure whilst always leaving open the question of his existence and whether he is to blame for what happens in the story.
I enjoyed the structure of The Tall Man which takes the form of a documentary on Amber Banner, recently accused and acquitted of murder, the trial becoming such high profile that Amber has acquired (temporarily at least) celebratory status. The reader follows the crew filming the documentary, and I loved being a fly on the wall in the interviews with Amber as well as the behind the scenes access with the crew. There are also diary extracts, and flashbacks to 1990 which I particularly enjoyed, and which add to the story brilliantly. The Tall Man is a novel in which what happened takes as long to be revealed as why it happened, in that Locke very cleverly only reveals who was murdered towards the end, and I loved this slow reveal of exactly what was going on.
I found the characters in the novel to be largely unlikeable. Amber is milking her fifteen minutes of fame for all its worth, and the reader gets an insight into how those making the documentary will manipulate the people they are interviewing in order to put on the best possible show and to achieve the best possible ratings, consequences be damned. The only one who really shows any kind of moral reservations in this is Greta, who spends the novel trailing Amber around and being largely unhappy with the approach taken by her boss, although she does go along with it. Whilst I didn’t particularly like the characters, I thought that they worked brilliantly for this novel, and by not liking Amber, I was able to view her case objectively.
As the end of the novel approaches, the various narratives come together brilliantly, and whilst being kept in the dark for much of a novel can sometimes be an issue (for this reader at least), I didn’t mind it at all here – I desperately wanted to know what was going on and I loved the hints that Locke dropped throughout. I would say that if you feel bereft of information then it’s worth persevering with The Tall Man, as the denouement is brilliant, and took me completely by surprise.
The Tall Man was published by Wildfire on 14 June, and I think this will be a huge hit over the summer. Many thanks to the Anne Cater and Wildfire for the review copy, and the opportunity to take part in the blog tour.
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Make sure you check out the other stops on the blog tour: