The Tall Man – Phoebe Locke

*I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley.  The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*


35442765Blurb:   YOU DON’T FIND HIM… HE FINDS YOU.


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…


On paper (or Kindle) The Tall Man is just my kind of book.

This is psychological suspense with shades of the occult and paranormal.  A thrilling crime mystery, lots of secrets, and haunting glimpses of a dark shadowy figure with a giggly, ghostly child-partner.

The plot unfolds in three different timeframes:  flashbacks to 1990-2000, showing Sadie’s childhood forays in search of the titular Tall Man and her later teen marriage and pregnancy; a present-day 2018 following the rise to fame of Amber, 18 and charged with murder; and flashbacks to 2016 that slowly work to tie the two stories together.

There are twists and shocks along the way that I just did not predict, and the climactic finale left me reeling, as the pieces all finally dropped into place to reveal the ‘true’ picture.

The author cleverly weaves ambiguity into the paranormal aspects and you could read this as a story of criminal mental illness or occult horror, or both, depending on your preference.  More than these though, the author also delivers an in-depth delve into dysfunctional relationships, covering familial, romantic, platonic and collegial with equal facility.  There were times when I forgot that I was reading a crime novel and then got suddenly Woman-in-Black’d by an icy breath and a special whisper!

My only criticism here is that with so many characters damaged or defensive, I felt they resisted my empathy and therefore I felt emotionally detached from the story as it unfolded.  I was fascinated and desperately wanted to understand what was happening / had happened, but I wasn’t invested in the outcomes for the characters and therefore held back from going all-in whilst reading.

I would definitely recommend this book to readers of psychological crime and psychological horror too.  Maybe in daytime, or with the light on.  You know, so he doesn’t find you…


   It was the way she had looked, he realised.  She had been afraid, he had seen the – yes, OK – terror pass across her face.  The nakedness of it was perhaps what had frightened him so deeply, and yet it was more than that; it was something else that he had seen there too.  It came to him as the band began their second song and he saw Sadie glance again at the trees:  recognition.  Familiarity.  Sadie had been terrified, yes, but it was not as new to her as it was to Miles.

– Phoebe Locke, The Tall Man


pro_reader.pngPhoebe Locke is the crime-writing pen name of author Nicci Cloke.  Find more from her at her website here or follow her on Twitter here (Phoebe Locke) or here (Nicci Cloke).

The Tall Man is out on Amazon right now!




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