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Publisher's Summary

You don't find him...he finds you.

The Tall Man is an addictive and unforgettable blend of psychological suspense and spine-tingling chills that will be perfect for fans of Stephen King, Ruth Ware and Sarah Pinborough's Behind Her Eyes. If you love Stranger Things, prepare to be haunted by The Tall Man

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.... 

©2018 Phoebe Locke (P)2018 Headline Publishing Group Ltd

Critic Reviews

"The must-read summer chiller." (Daily Express

"If you read just one psychological thriller this year - make it The Tall Man." (CultureFly)  

What members say

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Simon
  • 10-06-2018

The Curse of the Publisher

"Perfect for fans of . . .", why do they do it? If anything is setting up an author near the start of their career to fail it's this kind of blurb. Yes there are clearly parallels here with Stephen King's "It" for example but it's really not even attempting to reach those levels of horror. Of course it's to drive more sales for the immediate book but it really doesn't suggest they are looking after the long-term interests of the author.

As it happens though there was quite a lot I liked about this book even though I don't think it fully delivers in the end. It's a clever split timeline concentrating on; events in Amber's mother's childhood, the present day following a film crew making a documentary about Amber and the crucial period a couple of years ago when things came to a head. I suspect that because the book does jump around quite a bit it actually works better in print, you certainly have to concentrate on the audio to keep up.

That said, my first experience of the wonderfully named Tuppence Middleton was a pleasant one. She delivers a smooth and eloquent sounding performance throughout.

Personally I don't think this quite delivered on the clever set up even if it does include some interesting characters. It is far from a bad book and I think some others may like it more than I did. Problem is, if you tell readers you're going to deliver something and you deliver something else, and even then it's something that has its faults on top of that then those readers are not likely to feel positive about it. For a better example of how this kind of book can work I'd suggest The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • lisasarcy
  • 10-06-2018

Such a disappointment

About three quarters of this book is gripping, it seems to be a blend of supernatural tale and very human secrets. Quite refreshing.

About three quarters of the way through it seems to stop caring if you are still reading/listening, and stops being all the interesting things it had been. Instead, it becomes laboriously anxious to up the ‘tension’, descends to poor cliches forced confessional scenarios to explain itself.

Very disappointing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Alice
  • 01-07-2018

Captivating and Creepy

I couldn't stop listening. CreepyAF. The last few chapters left my jaw on the floor!

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  • Melanie Garrett
  • 10-06-2018

Loved, loved, loved this....

The Tall Man is a bravura debut by Phoebe Locke, who has us in the palm of her hand straight out of the gate. The present-day storyline takes us behind the scenes of a documentary being made about a notorious murder. Think Making of a Murderer and/or any of the Serial podcasts, only set in the UK. To my mind, it is this documentary-within-the-novel side of it which lends itself so beautifully to Audible. (Having said this, the prose itself is so elegant, I was very glad to have also picked it up on a Kindle deal, so that I could Whispersync back and forth at will.)

When the story opens, it has been two years since Amber Banner’s murder trial and yet, for the film crew we are embedded with, there are still as many questions as answers. Top of the list for us as readers is, uhm, okay, so who exactly did Amber kill?! I just LOVED this about it. By expertly withholding this major piece of information until the dénouement Ms Locke had me spinning all manner of (scary, implausible, circumstantial) theories as I raced through.

I am spoiler-averse, so I can’t say much more about the plot other than, at the heart of the novel is the urban legend about the Tall Man who comes from the shadows to take daughters away. The prose is confident and controlled, with an atmosphere of dread and darkness running through the piece. Things aren’t quite as they seem or, indeed, as they should be. This is a world for fans of Stephen King and Michael Marshall Smith, peopled with characters Kate Atkinson could feel proud of, where everything we need to make up our minds is delivered in glances and glimpses and the gradual accumulation of perfectly chosen details.

My favourite character is Greta, a film producer, and the moral compass of the piece. This over-the-shoulder view of a someone who feels squeamish about her own front row seat to the aftermath of the murder trial offers Ms Locke plenty of scope to consider how we consume true crime as entertainment, endlessly feeding our insatiable need to be on the inside. It’s clever stuff and invites us to question the motives of our own relentless curiosities. Is it okay to wallow in the details of a notorious crime as long as we didn’t commit it? Even if every retelling exhumes the privacy of victims and their loved ones before killing them one more time?

I loved the dénouement and the way the different timelines suddenly came together in a way that was much more harrowing than I had foreseen. This is a novel about what lurks in the shadows, and what are shadows if not shades of grey? Not everyone who is bad is all bad. Then again, anyone who seems too good to be true might just be human semtex. Perhaps best not to be standing too close when their secrets suddenly end up floodlit.

I didn’t know who was dead until right near the end. But what I do know is #TallMan will be huge. Taller than tall. One of Summer 2018's great triumphs!