Wildfire Books June 2018
A senseless murder.
A terrifying legend.
A family haunted.
1990: In the darkest woods, three girls for looking for the Tall Man.
2000: A young mother disappears, leaving behind her husband and baby daughter.
2018: A teenager girl is charged with murder, and her trial will shock the world.
Three chilling events, connected by one shadowy figure.
the tall man
I love creepy reads containing themes of urban myths and this is one of those books! I must confess here also, there is a bit of me that doesn’t wholly disbelieve the stuff of urban legends and so a different kind of creepiness slips in, this book got me a little jittery, a small nightmare and spooked by noise… sounding like your thing? Read on!
A film crew are making a documentary about Amber Banner a notorious teenager who just got off a murder charge. We learn about Amber post trial through this medium. Her mother Sadie left when Amber was 10 days old, she returned when Amber was sixteen this aspect of the story is told from a number of perspectives and details the events leading up to the murder. Sadie and Amber’s father – Miles met at university, Sadie fell pregnant, chapters interspersed through the book help us to understand Sadie’s circumstances. Italicised blocks of text detail three girls in the woods, seeking out the Tall Man, a murky and mysterious character, an urban legend, he can make you special, or he can kill you… who are these girls and where do they fit in? Finally diary entries add another voice, but again who is it and what do they know?
Sounds confusing, yes it does, but it wasn’t, this was a story that unfolded as the reader progressed. I had to sit with not knowing, a lack of clarity about what had happened, but that was fine, within the pages of this book there was a lot of secrecy and unknowns and the storytelling fitted with this. The story itself, is the film crew seeking to gain Amber’s trust and hear her story. Events are alluded to but the reader has to wait until the final pages for everything to be pieced together. There were aspects of the book that I had worked out, but equally there were a number of events that kept me guessing.
This was a decent read, the plot was strong and concluded well. The writing felt original and dynamic as the story weaved together, written primarily in the third person but told through different times and people. What really stood out for me though was how creepy I found this book, and I am still struggling to understand exactly why. I woke with a start one night and at another point, I thought I heard whispered voices, spooky right!
I do like an urban myth and while this one is largely fictional the read was entertaining and highlighted how kids can freak each other out and get caught up in certain behaviours when thinking it is driven by a scary, legendary character, talked about, rumours flying, gathering momentum. Until it becomes real!
An entertaining but scary read, recommended by me! Thank to Jenni and Wildfire Books for sending me this review copy earlier in the year.
What do you think? Will you be reading this one? Let me know in the comments.