Monday, 18 April 2011

Review: Long Lankin - Lindsey Barraclough

Published: April 7th 2011, Random House
Pages: 455 pages, hardback
Series?: Nope, standalone
Acquired: Kindly sent for review by Random House

Summary (from Goodreads): A chilling, beautiful debut novel inspired by a haunting folk song about murder, witchcraft and revenge. Beware of Long Lankin, that lives in the moss...

When Cora and her little sister Mimi are sent to stay with their elderly aunt in the isolated village of Bryers Guerdon, they receive a less than warm welcome, and are desperate to go back to London.

But Auntie Ida's life was devastated the last time two young girls were at Guerdon Hall, and now her nieces' arrival has reawoken an evil that has lain waiting for years. A haunting voice in an empty room... A strange, scarred man lurking in the graveyard... A mysterious warning, scrawled on the walls of the abandoned church...

Along with Roger and Peter, two young village boys, Cora must uncover the horrifying truth that has held Bryers Guerdon in its dark grip for centuries - before it is too late for Mimi. Intensely atmospheric and truly compelling, this is a stunning debut.

My review: If you haven't heard me raving and raving about this book for MONTHS then, well, you probably don't follow me on Twitter. I am utterly obsessed with Long Lankin. You know how long I was waiting to read it? SIX MONTHS. I was first told about it at the first Random House Bloggers' Brunch and from that moment I was obsessed. OBSESSED. I pined for it daily until finally, in January of this year, the gorgeous ladies at Random House finally took pity on me and gave me a copy. VICTORY.

There are many, many reviews of Long Lankin out there on the Internet - all of them (well, all of them I've seen, at least) are extremely positive. Good - because Long Lankin is just exceptional. It really is. It's become a bit of a tradition here at Writing from the Tub that when I really, really love a book I don't write a standard review. I'm too excited about Long Lankin to sit and compose any sort of well-written, structured review so this is pretty much just a ramble about how much I frigging love Long Lankin and think Lindsey Barraclough is a genius. GENIUS. There will be lots of capital letters in this review (that isn't really a review). Forgive me.

I don't really want to talk about the plot here because Long Lankin is definitely one book where you want to go in blind. Don't read any spoilers, just dive straight in and FEEL THE FEAR. Long Lankin will destroy any sleep patterns you had - I promise. You'll finish up for the night with a bit of a cavalier attitude. 'Pah! Long Lankin does not scare me!' - That is what you will say. Then, half an hour later when you snuggle into bed and switch the light off... That's when it will start to sink in. That's when you'll hear something scratch against your window (lock your windows, for God's sakes. Bloody BARRICADE them). That's when Long Lankin will COME FOR YOU.

Okay, I don't want to give away anything about Long Lankin himself but... Oh dear lord, terrifying does not even begin to cover it. For me, this music video sums up Long Lankin (the character). This video has freaked me out for years and honestly, that's exactly how I picture Long Lankin. CREEPY. From 2.48 - 2.58 and 3.15 - 3.22 - THAT is Long Lankin (in my head) - seriously, just watch those two clips.

Seriously scary stuff. Now, I'm a horror fan through and through and, for me, I would class Long Lankin as a horror. A brilliantly written, psychologically harrowing horror. I want Long Lankin as a film. I need it in my life. Directed by someone awesome - Guillermo del Toro as director and Doug Jones as Long Lankin (YES). This NEEDS to happen.

Finally, I want to talk about the cover. I am in love with this cover. It's fighting with Now You're One of Us and Choker as my top cover of all time. Although it is one of my favourites, it scares the bejeezus out of me. In case you don't have a copy or haven't paid close attention to the cover, allow me. There is a HAND on the lower right hand side that will scare the actual shit out of you when you notice it. It's such a little detail that I nearly missed but makes the cover PERFECT. If you haven't noticed it yet, observe:

Okay, so you can't see it very clearly in that picture but still, it's there, trust me - that could be a head sticking out just above it but personally I think Long Lankin's a little taller, so maybe not.

Long Lankin is a book so infectious that you won't be able to turn away, however terrified you get. It certainly isn't one that you'll be able to finish and then file away on your bookshelf to never think about again. And, lastly, Long Lankin makes me proud to be an Essex girl. Hooray! Also... Long Lankin has a DEFINITE hint of Salad Fingers about him.

Okay, rave over. Now go and read this book.

First line: 'There's too much sky, and the further out of London we go, the more of it there is.'

Plot: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Cover: 5/5 (Have you spotted the hand yet? When you do, you'll shit bricks)
Total: 19/20 (A)


  1. I know that I HAVE to read this book soon!

  2. I totally agree with everything you said. And I did not see that hand... *shudders* He DOES remind me of Salad Fingers! God that thing creeps me out... And YES. Guilliermo del Toro has to direct this film. It would be awesome. It's such a good book! :D Great review ;D


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