The Chalk Man

The Chalk Man

A Novel

Book - 2018
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A riveting and brilliantly plotted psychological suspense, this razor-sharp debut will keep readers guessing right up to the shocking ending.

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy little 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 each other as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing will ever be 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 his other friends got the same messages, 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.

Expertly alternating between flashbacks and the present day, The Chalk Man is the very best kind of suspense novel, one where every character is wonderfully fleshed out and compelling, where every mystery has a satisfying payoff, and where the twists will shock even the savviest reader.
Publisher: [Toronto, Ontario] : Doubleday Canada, [2018]
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780385690072
Branch Call Number: TUD
General fiction T PBK
Characteristics: 280 pages


From the critics

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Mar 19, 2019

CJ Tudor’s The Chalk Man was disappointing despite its promising premise. Set in a small fictional UK town, mysterious chalk drawings foreshadowing murders appear immediately before the gruesome crimes are discovered. At the center of the novel is a group of kids (It/Stand By Me/Stranger Things-style) living through these events in the 80s and trying to piece things together in present time.

This “horror/thriller” is mostly boring and very slow as no crimes even happen in the first 100 pages (out of a 277-page book). Once things finally start happening, it’s all very choppy with too many of the mysterious events crammed into the last part of the book. It’s also not well-written. I get that half of the book is told from the perspective of a 12-year-old but the pseudo-intellectual philosophizing was too much after lines like “secrets are like a**holes, we all have them,” “death is final,” and “Rumors are like germs, they spread and multiply” appearing in most chapters. Deep. What was most annoying, however, was that most of the book felt like an It rip-off. For those familiar with Stephen King novel, The Chalk Man features an identical replica of The Losers Club fully equipped with “a hot tomboy redhead girl,” “the nerdy kid,” a character called “Fat Gav,” and some psychotic bullies. Reading this book, I couldn’t help feeling that I’ve already experienced a far more compelling version of this story before.

Mar 19, 2019

very good read although the ending is quite contrived. good characters, very good plot. While it could be put in the mystery genre, it is not the usual police detective type.

Nov 19, 2018

Best book I’ve read in a while. I’ve seen reviews that said the ending wasn’t believable, etc. but this is fiction! If you’re looking for a thriller that keeps you hooked from page one, that has twists and turns and an insane final revelation (in my opinion), then read this book. The second I finished, I immediately called my sister to tell her to read it. Five stars!

Jul 31, 2018

A decent book I guess. Certainly not the next great British mystery. I reread the last 3 pages to make sure I had read it correctly the first time and really to try to figure out why it was important to include that part. I would read her next one I think.

Jun 16, 2018

Great premise, interesting collection of well-designed characters, and strong writing throughout -- there is no doubt that first-time novelist Tudor has the chops to build a great novel. But plot and story, story and plot. They just don't hold up in this first book, and in the end cripple what started out as a compelling read. By the midpoint I was down to two possible solutions, neither of which was particularly intriguing (I was also correct, which is disappointing in and of itself). By the end, when the previously announced twist announced itself, the reading experience was more about commitment to reaching the end than anything close to intrigue or even curiosity.

JenniferG_OshLib Jun 11, 2018

I give this book a solid 3.5 stars. There’s a subtle creepiness to it that runs all the way through the book. Sometimes you feel like you know the answers, and then sometimes you don’t. That’s what makes it a good mystery. I suppose some readers will figure it out, but I didn’t. Ed is an interesting character—I sympathize with him, but another part couldn’t figure out why he just wouldn’t move on. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys slow-building mysteries with a good twist.

May 19, 2018

A good read I thought, hard to put down from start to finish. Puts me in mind of Stand by Me, the movie. A very teenage boys adventure come to life.

Apr 24, 2018

Good read, interesting plot, the characters are well written, growing up from age 12 to 42. I thought this story had a message that implied that no-one is perfect! The main character had flaws that I did not like, but he was still very interesting. Everyone in the story had some imperfections! Some of the flaws were more serious than others. Some bloody and gruesome scenes.

Apr 09, 2018

First off, the focused reader ought to sense the complete effort the author has made to create a memorable, one-off book, not some cookie-cutter product coming down a publisher's conveyor belt. The Chalk Man: an offbeat novel of depressive anxiety in a generic English village. Amazingly, whether by design or otherwise, with apparently no sympathetic characters (except, perhaps, Halloran), C J Tudor nevertheless crafts an absorbing page-turner, with the lead protagonist (Eddie) narrating in the fashion of a coroner's inquest into assessing life's meaning. The recounting of events encompasses nothing indecipherable or metaphysical, but, in lieu of a linear chronology, a parallel 1986/2016 construct is utilized which proves very apropos for framing an understanding of experiences that manifest themselves in an evolutionary fashion. This comprehension is pivotal. As the author states: "For who are we if not the sum of our experiences, the things that we gather and collect in life?", and the memories they engender.

Mar 30, 2018

I really enjoyed the book until 3/4 of the way through, and then the story became tired and drawn out. The ending left much to be desired, and was unsatisfactory. Some questions remain for me, and although I enjoyed most of the book, would not necessarily recommend this book.

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