The Chalk Manby Published 09 Jan 2018
|The Chalk Man.pdf|
|Publisher||Crown Publishing Group (NY)|
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?
"The Chalk Man" Reviews
I haven't felt this sure of a book's worthiness to be read since I picked up The Dry by Jane Harper back in January. I'll admit, I find myself enjoying a majority of the books that I read; I don't know if I'm just not as picky as other readers or if, after so many years of reading, I generally can tell what will tickle my fancy. That said, there are the books you enjoy, and then there are THOSE books. You know the ones I mean; the unicorns, the diamonds in the rough, the ones you'll be shoving in peoples face screaming "OH MYLANTA READ THIS BOOK! LET'S TALK ABOUT IT!!!" because it's just that good. Well, it's official-this one gets the highly prestigious Holy Guacamole stamp of approval from The Suspense Is Thrilling Me. Please, please, hold your applause.
After two close friends had read an arc of this (one of which sent me her prized copy to borrow because she's the bestest book bestie ever), I knew I had to pick it up immediately. I was nervous to get myself too hyped up over it, as I tend to become disappointed when that happens, but if there was ever a book worthy of being hyped this was it baby! I really don't want to say anything about the plot, other than it was constantly twisting and turning in ways I couldn't predict. This was a huge bonus, but I adore how this wasn't the focal point of the story; the entire plot wasn't dependent on cloak and dagger tricks yet was enhanced by the many reveals along the way. The story is told between past and present, but our narrator is one consistent voice recalling events from the past and telling the present plot, which gives a natural ease in following along. There are some graphic descriptions of violence in the act and in the aftermath, so those with a sensitive stomach may want to give this a hard pass, but otherwise I can't think of a single reason not to pick this book up if you're a fan of twisty psychological thrillers.
I struggle in believing that The Chalk Man is a debut novel for author C.J. Tudor; the writing quality is so excellent you could have told me a seasoned, bestselling author had written this and I would have believed you without question. The complex nature of the story, the insertion of comic relief and dark humor, as well as equal parts action and characterization inserted really made for the trifecta of perfect books. If I could give this novel 100 stars I would do so in a heartbeat! Sometimes you can just tell early on which books will be buzz worthy in the coming seasons, and I truly believe that The Chalk Man will be talked about non-stop by fans looking for their next psychological thriller in the crime fiction realm. Go ahead and pre-order this one, mark it on your TBR, do whatever you need to do to make sure you don't miss out on grabbing this book the SECOND it hits shelves. I'll be buying a finished copy for my personal collection as I can see this being a reread in the future for myself, although realistically I'll likely shove it at someone and make them read it instead. HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!!!!!
*Sorry, did I mention that I liked this book? Yes? Ok, just making sure. :)
2 1/2 stars. This book was okay, but maybe it was grossly over-hyped because I really expected it to be more gripping than it actually was. It's one of the buzziest books of 2018, it's set in small town England (home!), and yet it was so fricking slow.
I've just recently read Harper's Force of Nature and I'm currently starting Anatomy of a Scandal and both of these books are just way more engrossing and thrilling than The Chalk Man. It felt like one of those books where there's a premise and, after that, I sit turning more and more pages, waiting and waiting for something to happen to pull me in, to care, to want to know what's going on... and then suddenly I was at the end of the book.
For me, there was absolutely zero connection to any of the characters. The Chalk Man alternates between 1986, when Eddie and his friends leave coded messages in chalk for one another until a gruesome crime twists the symbols for a sinister purpose, and the present, in which Eddie and his friends start to receive little chalk man drawings once again.
There were a few creepy moments that were highlights, though most of them were dreams which took some of the thrill out. Eddie did nothing for me. His character was emotionally dry and it was strange how not a single one of his relationships seemed important - his friends, his mother, his lodger whom he had a crush on... experiencing things through Eddie's eyes made it difficult to care about anyone. I was detached from the characters. I was detached from the murders. I was detached from the whole story.
The novel plods along, revealing things that made no impact on me. Even the "twist" is not really a twist for anyone who [spoilers removed]. The slowness gradually fades into an anticlimax and the book peters out. It's an interesting idea that Tudor had, but unfortunately that never translated into a compelling story for me.
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After hearing so many great things about “The Chalk Man” I decided I had to read it. This book was very hyped up and I hoped I wasn’t expecting too much. I went into it with an open mind and hoped for the best. I am happy to say that I really enjoyed it.
The book has a rather morbid opening, a gruesome discovery in the woods. I was immediately intrigued.
1986 - Eddie and his friends always met up on Saturday but THIS Saturday was different …the FAIR was in town. The fair had always been special but this was even better because it was the first time they were allowed to go on their own. No parents or other adults with them --- in their words… “it was going to be Ace”
“I could already hear the thump, thump of the fairground music, and smell the burgers and candyfloss. Today was going to be perfect”
But what starts as a wonderful day at the fair…ends in tragedy. It was the last normal day for all of them. The terrible day at the fair showed Eddie just how fast life can change.
“I understood how things can change in an instant. All the stuff we take for granted can just be ripped away”
But there was even more horror to come…
Life goes on and everyone does their best to put that day behind them. But it’s always there in the back of Eddie’s mind. When one of Eddie’s friends receives a bucket of chalk for his birthday, the boys are far from impressed. However, they soon find a good use for the chalk. It’s a great way to leave private messages for each other. But then the chalk figures start appearing on their own…
2016 - Eddie (Ed) is now forty-two years old. He’s tried hard to put the past behind him. Then a letter arrives from an unknown sender. When Ed sees what is inside the envelope he hopes it’s a joke or a prank. But it soon becomes clear that it is not a joke. It seems the past doesn’t want to be left behind. For Ed to truly move on it means he somehow has to figure out what really happened all those years before.
So many secrets…
“Everyone has secrets, things they know they shouldn’t do but do anyway. Mine was……
NOPE! I am not going to finish that sentence. You’ll have to read the book if you want to find out.
I find it hard to believe that “The Chalk Man” is C.J. Tudor’s debut novel. She knows how to write a story that pulls the reader in. There was so much going on, alternating between 1986 and 2016, different story-lines almost. But everything comes together. Some parts were a bit gruesome for my taste but I found the rest of the story made up for it.
I thought that this was a well-written read with a unique story-line, compelling situations, and some great twists. I really wanted to find out how everything was going to come together but I had to stop myself from jumping ahead as I found I almost missed a few things that the author strategically slipped in here and there. There were a few things I wished I had answers for but overall, I thought it all came together well. And that ending? I NEVER saw it coming.
Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.
Now This is How You do It!!
C.J. Tudor has written One of the Best Thrillers of the YEAR my friends. If there is one mystery you decide to pick up - it should be this one!!
Reminiscent of Stephen King’s The Body - known to most people as the movie Stand By Me - “The Chalk Man” is a story about 5 young friends: (four boys and a girl), who go through an experience at the cusp of adolescence, something fierce and terrifying. Something that haunts them for the rest of their lives.
As kids in 1986, they live life freely: hanging out at the playground, riding bikes, sending coded messages to each other using different colored chalk. And then they discover something and it’s bad. It changes everything.
Fast forward to 2016 and everyone is quite grown up. Eddie known known as Ed, (one of the kids who made the discovery) is a teacher, living in the house he grew up in. The past haunts him, as it does the rest of the friends who stayed behind, including Gav and Hoppo. If only the past stayed in the past. Yet bad things: they keep happening. And somehow, Chalk Men keep appearing and Ed can’t figure out how or why. He knows it means something. He and the gang have to figure it out even if it’s the last thing they want. And even if it spells trouble.
“The Chalk Men” reads like an old school mystery.. I felt like I was back in the 80’s, living life, hanging out with my friends after school.. everything felt really familiar - well, except for the bad stuff that kept happening to Eddie, Gav, Nikki, Hoppo and Mike. Yeah that stuff? It never happened to me. (LOL!!)
This book wowed me big time. I couldn’t tear myself away. The characters, they felt like friends. Each one vivid, rich, alive... And what the kids discover? All I can say, I don’t know how they slept at night.. How it impacts them as adults and what happens to them then? Unfrakkinbelievable. C.J. Tudor knocked me for a loop. I didn’t see it coming. And I tried, believe you, me.
So what else can I tell you? This is a suspense novel you absolutely MUST-READ. If you don’t, you are missing out on one of the best mysteries out there.
This was a traveling sister read. It included Brenda, Norma, Lindsay, Diane, Melisa and Rita.
Thank you to NetGalley, Crown Publishing and C.J. Tudor for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Published on NetGalley, Goodreads, Twitter and Facebook on 11.4.17.
*Will be published on Amazon on 1.9.18.
For a debut novel this is astoundingly good, and it has the feel of a classic novel. It expertly moves between two timelines, events that occurred in 1986 to the present. Set in the small town of Anderbury, 4 friends, Eddie 'Munster' Adams, Fat Gav, Metal Mickey, Hoppo and Nicky are 12 years old, whiling away the summer holidays getting into mischief on their bikes, having fun, evolving secret communications through chalk men symbols and in search of excitement and adventure. A series of mishaps, tragedies and a macabre murder is to mar and haunt their lives. The narrative is delivered from Eddie's perspective whose mother is a doctor performing abortions which attract vociferous and nasty protests led by a local reverend and his supporters. Eddie's father is a writer for whom dementia takes hold early, leaving Eddie worried that he too will fall victim to it. Eddie becomes a teacher, with a penchant for the drink, still close to Fat Gav, now in a wheelchair, and Hoppo. He is in his forties, still living in his parents home, with a young lodger, Chloe, for whom he harbours an unseemly covert attraction, and the ageing process has not been kind to him. He is visited by the past and the dead, and experiencing vivid nightmares. The friends receive through the post ominous reminders of their youth with the menacing figure of the Chalk Man. And once again murder takes place, leaving Eddie feeling that he has no choice but return to the past to find out who killed the Waltzer girl, Elisa.
Tudor paints a picture of Anderbury, a town with some nasty characters, full of lies, secrets, rumours, seething resentments, violence and hypocrisy. Nicky has bruise after bruise appearing on her body and she lives in fear of her fire and brimstone father. Bricks are thrown into Eddie's home, and disturbing packages delivered, as his mother is hounded by anti-abortionists. The Waltzer girl suffers horrific injuries that Eddie witnesses at the Fair, her life is saved by the heroic Mr Halloran, with the help of Eddie. Mr Halloran, an English teacher and artist, saves Eddie from Sean, Metal Mickey's brother, and his bullying and brutal gang from a horrific scenario that takes place in the woods. Mr Halloran is held hostage by his feelings for another, which Eddie becomes privy to, an ominous portent to the tragedy that is to follow. In the present, Eddie meets with Metal Mickey who has a proposition for him. Eddie's journey into the past takes him deep into his own psyche, and a town reluctant to face the truth about its past.
This is a dark and atmospheric coming of age novel, beautifully written, tense and suspenseful. Tudor has the reader gripped with his artful and distinct characters, making them never less than compelling. You feel that the group of boys and Nicky feels vibrantly authentic and the creation and development of the character of Eddie is genius. Anderbury is a reflection of many a small town, and the undercurrents of feelings that swarm in such places, the pettiness, the rumours, the conflicts, the poverty, and the need to preserve secrets and reputation. A stolen bike and the giving and placing of a ring highlight the law of unintended consequences. A fantastic must read novel which I highly recommend! Many thanks to Penguin Michael Joseph for an ARC.