Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough

Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough is based on an old English ballad about the bloody murder of a woman and her baby by, depending on the version (there are several), a man or a boogeyman. Barraclough went with the latter and created an intensely creepy and atmospheric tale set in rural post–World War II England.

When Cora and her younger sister Mimi are sent by their father to live with their strict and eccentric Aunt Ida in a creepy old manor in a backwater English village, it’s quite clear from the start that Aunt Ida is not happy to have them in her home. Cora strikes up a friendship with local boys Roger and Pete and the three begin to slowly make sense of unspeakable family secrets that Aunt Ida seems determined to keep hidden… Frightening secrets concerning the abduction of children and an ominous monstrosity named Long Lankin that lurks in the marshes and seems to have taken a special interest in Mimi.

I use the word “slowly” above for a reason in describing the rate at which Cora, Roger, and Pete attempt to make sense of things… While I would never describe any part of the book as boring, it does take a while for the story to really gain momentum and for various plot items to fall into place. Also, I found myself on occasion becoming a little confused trying to keep track of the various characters. Having said this, when things finally kick into high gear, patient readers will be rewarded with an edge-of-your-seat climax that makes it nearly impossible to put the book down. I might also add that the monster, Long Lankin, is especially disturbing and gruesome and definitely not something you would want glaring at you through your bedroom window…Yikes! :@

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