Book Review: The Chalk Man By C .J. Tudor

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The Blurb:

You can feel it in the woods, in the school and in the playground; you can feel it in the houses and at the fairground. You can feel it in most places in the small town of Anderbury . . . the fear that something or someone is watching you.

It began back in 1986, at the fair, on the day of the accident. That was when twelve-year-old Eddie met Mr Halloran – the Chalk Man.

He gave Eddie the idea for the drawings: a way to leave secret messages for his friends and it was fun, until the chalk men led them to a body.

Thirty years later, Ed believes the past is far behind him, until an envelope slips through the letterbox. It contains a stick of chalk, and a drawing of a figure.

Is history going to repeat itself?

Was it ever really over?

Will this game only end in the same way?

Released in Hardback 11th January 2018 (paperback due for release 23rd August 2018) by Michael Joseph.

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My Thoughts:

Well, everyone has pretty much heard of this book haven’t they? It has been out a couple of months now and has received praise from the likes of Stephen King (His Royal Highness Stephen King!) and Lee Child. I’ve read so many reviews of it I realise this one is likely to be lost in the crowd (who really gives a shit about me when Stephen King thinks it’s great) but because I loved it so much I am just adding my two-penneth.

Cheers to the hubby and kiddos for buying this for my Mother’s day present, books are the best presents and I love you!

After I had finished this book I immediately tweeted C.J.Tudor to let her know it was brilliant, and that I am in awe of her writing and every so slightly scared of her mind! This book is dark, creepy, messed up and genre-busting. It is a mix of old-school horror (like me, the author grew up on Stephen King and James Herbert novels), psychological thriller, contemporary fiction, supernatural, crime, literary etc etc.  I grew up telling ghost stories with friends and this a modern day version of those disturbing, creepy, tense tales. There are a lot of shocks, a lot of suspense, a lot of twists, and every character has psychopathic tendencies, you don’t seem to know who you can trust. Brilliant!

Aside from the addictive narrative, I loved how it takes you back to a childhood not dissimilar to my own (in setting and history, not the murderous horror I may add); roaming long free days on bikes and in woods, sending messages to your friends in the neighbourhood to meet up, how tales get embellished and intense, the way certain toys/games would become an obsession then fade away. You could completely see, hear and smell the nostalgic memories of that childhood, and I think it’s being taken back to that comfort and innocence that makes each shock more brutal as it comes. The wider context of the book explores what has happened many years later when the friends are adults, dealing with the aftermath of their lost childhood innocence and the irreparable damage that ripples across history.

You just can’t say much about the plot beyond the blurb, especially the ending without riddling it with expectation and spoilers, which I think often leads people on to suspecting things you might otherwise not, so I’ll leave it there. All I will say is that I think the conclusion will receive mixed reactions, like so many good thriller books do that leave you wanting more answers, or justice, or everything neatly tied up, or another layer detailed, but I loved it; it keeps you thinking and dissecting it long after, which I think is the sign of a brilliant book.

A truly marvellous debut and I really can’t wait to read more from this author.

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18 thoughts on “Book Review: The Chalk Man By C .J. Tudor

  1. I’m relived you loved this as much as I did! I was so lucky to have received a copy of this last summer, way before publication so I didn’t have any expectations of it to be honest but I was absolutely blown away! It’s such an eerie story but I love how it’s got a very Stranger Things vibe to it, with the group of friends. I can’t wait for her next book! Great review 🙂 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

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