I have been a lover of horror fiction ever since I laid my hands on Say Cheese and Die, the very first Goosebumps book I read in the second grade. The first short story I ever wrote was horror-themed — it was titled The Haunted Library — and all these years later I’m still writing horror books for teens.
I’m always on the lookout for good horror fiction, and when I came across a blurb on the eerie-sounding Long Lankin, I knew I had to give this debut novel a try.
Long Lankin opens with a creepy poem that hangs over the majority of the book as a scary sign of things to come. What author Lindsey Barraclough does best through the pages is set an eerie atmosphere, one that puts the main characters Cora and Mimi in a setting that never quite feels right.
The two young sisters live in London but are sent off to live with their aunt Ida when their mother is sentenced to a mental hospital, and the girls soon find themselves roaming creepy places like graveyards and the gothic Guerdon Hall.
I loved all the small moments in terror, the kind that weren’t lingered on for too long, but the kind that lingered in your mind for a long time. The characters were intriguing, and the odd family backstory hanging over these two girls was well developed. The big finale, where we finally get to meet the title character, ispast-paced and exciting.
The book isn’t perfect. When the action finally starts picking up, and as we finally start heading toward the finale, Barraclough stops the rising action completely to give the readers a barrage of backstory through letters and notebooks, like we’ve suddenly stumbled into someone’s diary and can’t find a way out.
But overall this is an excellent example of YA horror fiction, and I want to find more examples of this amazing genre. This is an important genre, one that should be widely available to readers everywhere. If you like spooky stories, take a look at Long Lankin, and let me know if you’ve read any great YA horror novels recently. I’d love some recommendations!