Monday, 24 September 2018

The Chalk Man

by C. J. Tudor

'A tense gripper with a leave-the-lights-on shock ending' Sunday Times

Thriller
Crime Fiction

Paperback 352 Pages
Publisher Penguin (23 Aug 2018)
ASIN B06XXSVQ9T  ISBN-13 978-1405930956

πŸ“•My Review

In 1986 12-year-old Eddie and best friends Hoppo, Fat Gav and Metal Mickey are normal kids doing everyday stuff - riding around on their bikes and hanging out at the local playground. They develop a code using chalk drawings of stick men that only they can understand. But when a chalk man drawing leads them to a mutilated body buried in the woods, their lives are changed forever.

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Fast forward to 2016 and Eddie is now a teacher in the same town where he grew up. Shortly before one of his childhood friends is found dead, he receives a letter containing a chalk drawing of a stick man. Eddie knows he must uncover what really happened 30 years earlier if he's to free himself from the past.

The flashback scenes to 1986 in The Chalk Man were immensely enjoyable. The 80's were my teenage years and I can personally attest to the author's descriptions of that period in time being totally authentic. So many great memories were rekindled.

The wonderful mix of characters drove the story forwards - their candour, camaraderie and humour simply dazzled. Considering this is the author's debut novel, remarkable skill was displayed with the complexity of this book.

I thought the plot contained a fair amount of unrealistic elements but it was highly original and entertaining. It had depth and excellent characterisation. It was engaging and intriguing. It didn't 'grip' in quite the same way other books have, but it left me with a feeling of having read something rather special.         

Barnsey's Books Rating πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—

πŸ“—The Blurb

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown and thinks he's put his past behind him, but then he gets a letter in the mail containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank--until one of them turns up dead. That's when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

πŸ“˜The Author, C. J. Tudor

C.J. Tudor lives with her partner and young daughter. Her love of writing, especially the dark and macabre, started young. When her peers were reading Judy Blume, she was devouring Stephen King and James Herbert.

Over the years she has had a variety of jobs, including trainee reporter, radio scriptwriter, dog walker, voiceover artist, television presenter, copywriter and, now, author.

Her first novel, The Chalk Man, was a Sunday Times bestseller and sold in thirty-nine territories.

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