I have to tell you about one of the most chilling books I have ever read! Today I will be reviewing The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor
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?
Official blurb for The Chalk Man.
When I read the blurb for this book, I instantly became ecstatic. The questions, the characters, I was itching to sink my teeth into the story. I warn you, this novel really is like nails on a chalk board- never have I been more anxious to finish a book and get to the end before the tension became unbearable!
The book is told through the character of Eddie, switching between the present and the events that happened in 1986. His gang consists of Fat Gav, Hopper, Nicky, and Metal Micky. It reminded me of a classic Stephen King set up, like in The Body (or the film adaptation, Stand by Me). Small town, strong personalities. That kind of thing. The characters were well thought out and I liked the fact we saw them through Eddie’s eyes. This gave a unique perception of a child’s POV. When a book pulls this off, it can add to the doubt in the reader’s mind as sometimes kids interpret situations in their own way. Was it exaggerated? Was it a mistake? What actually happened? I also thought that the kid’s individual plots developed well throughout the story and added to the umbrella of mystery shrouding the novel. What kept them together? What drove the apart? What’s with the drawings of the chalk men…?
When we learn about Ed as an adult, he is somewhat unreliable as even he can’t exactly recall events as he saw them. He also suffered from nightmares as a kid and struggles to remember what was real and what was fantasy. Because of this, the mystery is even more muddled as the so-called witnesses can’t even be certain. Things aren’t always as they seem, and people aren’t always who they appear to be. Ed has a hanging noose of guilt around his neck because he can’t figure out the facts. And those he can work out he’d rather forget.
The crime itself, Murder. As far as whodunit novels go, I thought every plot could have been used by now, but I was wrong. Tudor has not created a neat little packaged murder mystery, oh no. She has flipped the genre upside down, added a few nightmares, popped in the odd red herring, and twisted every hunch you have! I was genuinely freaked out, and I certainly have never looked up from a book and roared ‘WHAT THE F***************K’ quite so much!
I think a lot of this has to do with the shadowy curtain that seems to fall on the town. Who is the Chalk Man? What does he want? Why is he doing this? I thought this was a very clever way to link the present back to 1986. The fact that a mystery had been ongoing for 30 years really spooked me. Can the past ever really be buried?
So many questions that need to be answered. So little time. The Chalk Man is watching…
I had ridiculously high expectations for this novel. I saw it on Netgalley and knew I had to get my hands on it. Even more so, one of my author idols- the one and only Stephen King! – promoted The Chalk Man on twitter. It can be dangerous to hype up a book so much as sometimes the actual novel doesn’t really cut it. However, my expectations were exceeded! Remember also, The Chalk Man is Tudor’s debut novel – and IT IS BRILLIANT! Tudor is incredibly talented and my mind is blown as to how this is only her first book!
If you love getting goose bumps, having the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, or enjoy the feeling of someone walking over your grave, this book is for you. It reminded me a lot of Stephen King (which is big of me to say because I would never compare King to anyone… until now!) but Tudor adds her own unique style of writing into the mix. This devilishly thrilling read is intense, frightening, and damn right chilling. Crime fans will love, thriller fans will adore, mystery fans will devour!
I can’t wait to see what Tudor has next in store! I will be waiting (impatiently) for her next book!!!
Get your hands on a copy of The Chalk Man:
CLICK HERE for C J Tudor’s author page
C J Tudors Twitter: @cjtudor
Thank you Netgalley for my copy!
Happy reading! Lx
And be careful, you never know when the Chalk Man is watching…