The Tall Man, Phoebe Locke

Review Written By
Andrea Thompson

The interlaying narratives of this book relate the viewpoints of Sadie as a teen, Sadie as a new mother, daughter Amber as an adult, and also that of the film producer gradually losing faith in the value of her documentary subject.  You may find it hard to find anyone to relate to in this novel as there’s a lot of creepy characters here with healthy cases of arrested development.   

Not intending to compare this novel to the obvious (fairly recent) urban legend so judging (of course) THE TALL MAN entirely on what it has to offer as a modern work of crime fiction.   As other reviewers have acutely observed, it is an unsettling read rather than a thrilling work of fiction.   There is a lot of build up to discovery, which many readers may appreciate, or others may simply lose interest as time ticks on and not much is happening.  Hang on there till the end as there’s a bit surprise waiting for you (confession, did not see it coming).

A tale for our narcissistic times for sure, and opportunities to nudge this home are employed here in THE TALL MAN.   It is interesting to have a murder read where you don’t feel particular sympathy for anyone affected.  The use of texts between the two film female documentary makers is very effective in seeding in a little more tension and ambiguity as the film maker on the ground increasingly begins to question her subject, and the other wishes to power on with the pushing of their vulnerable subject for dramatic revelations.

Not sure of the intended market but thinking THE TALL MAN is perhaps for older edge of young adult readers.  If you like to read multi generational novels where the actions of the parents impact the future of their children, THE TALL MAN could be the one for you.  Look out for the shadows in the corner of your room…

Year of Publication

Always present, always watching.  The Tall Man comes for your daughters. What to do when you have given yourself over to the Tall Man, and then you have a daughter of your own?  You disappear.

Once upon a time there were three bored school girls enticed into giving their secret selves over to the urban legend of The Tall Man.  All thought they were special, but perhaps some of them were just buying into the theatre of it all about being ‘chosen’ by a spectral figure who needed impressionable acolytes to believe in him.  Sadie Banner knows better. The Tall Man is real, and he will come for her and her daughter.  Best that Sadie leave her family behind and try to take the attention of the Tall Man with her.

All the world seems to love a pretty killer, and no more so than the world of social media.  Tasked to film and eke what it makes the infamous Amber Banner tick, documentary makers are finding it difficult to get the very self-aware Amber open up on camera.  Amber knows that right now she is a very marketable commodity, and this is real opportunity to tell her own story.  But does Amber truly believe in the Tall Man, or not?  No one in Amber’s orbit is quite sure.

Review The Tall Man, Phoebe Locke
Andrea Thompson
Saturday, August 18, 2018

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