The Chalk Man

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Childhood games, sinister chalk figures, a tragic accident and a gruesome murder. Reminiscent of The Body, this is a dark, atmospheric small-town crime novel with an exceptionally creepy premise and well-drawn characters.
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This book was everything I expected it to be. And now you ask: why didn't you give it 5 stars? Truth is, the book is divided in 1986 and 2016 interchangeably and reading about the 2016 situation wasn't always my favorite. Like one of my favorite booktubers said this is a mix between Stranger Things and IT. The whole vibe around it, the misterious town with the outlaws, their curiosity and great narration leaves you at the edge of your seat. This is a very quick read despite being quite a chunky novel but if you have the opportunity I think you should give it a try. Hear me out, this book is going to be turned into a movie. Video review soon.
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There has been much said about 'The Chalk Man' and he may even turn into urban legend!! *shivers!!*

It's 1986 and Eddie and his friends are young teenagers living their youth; enjoying their languid days of summer haze and exploring through woods on their bikes. It all feels carefree and unhurried. Until one fateful day .... when everything changes. Mr Halloran comes to town. A strange, enigmatic figure that draws much speculation but remains elusive. The boys communicate with each other by leaving drawings of chalk men outside each others' homes. Different colours representing each different lad. Cut to twenty years later and Eddie receives a letter containing a chalk figure. Now a full grown man what could the message mean and did his friends receive the same letter?

The story is told in alternating chapters cutting from 1986 to 2016 from Eddie's viewpoint with the chalk drawings being much of the focus. I loved the chapters from the 80's. Tudor perfectly captured those teenage memories that will resonate with so many, myself included. I also remember long hazy summers and hours spent on bikes and exploring. Often going to places where we really shouldn't have ...... I'll er leave it there .....*coughs*

The Chalk Man is a thrilling retrospective read that I truly enjoyed. Does it live up to the hype? Yes, in some respects; no in others. Much has been made of this novel and I possibly expected more than it gave. But when all is said and done ..... I would still highly recommend it.

Thank you so much to those involved for my ARC. The Chalk Man will not be forgotten in a hurry!
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Thank you to Netgalley, CJ Tudor and Penguin Michael Joseph for my ARC of The Chalk Man. 

Title: The Chalk Man 

Author: CJ Tudor 

Publication Date: 11th January 2018 

Page Count: 280 Pages 

Quote: 'He had this knack, that most adults don't, of making you answer him honestly.' 

Rating: 5* 

Summary 

Eddie and his friends; Fat Gav, Metal Mickey, Hoppo and Nicky are 12 years old in 1986 when their quiet life in a small English market town is turned upside down when they find the dismembered body of a teenage girl in the woods. 30 years later they've gone their separate ways but somehow the past comes back to haunt them. 

Through Eddie's eyes we revisit the summer of 1986 and all the things that went wrong, the secrets that were kept and the lies that were told, and slowly the mystery of who killed the girl begin to unravel. As Eddie says, 'to assume is to make an ASS out of U and ME.' 

Review 

The Chalk Man is an excellent thriller, told from the POV of an unreliable narrator we flick between past and present as Eddie and his gang's stories unfold. This creates an excellent cliffhanger at the end of each 'section' making it impossible to tear yourself away from this book. 

The characters are all very interesting particularly Eddie, thoughtful and intuitive it is he who questions the past and pays attentions to the niggles in his mind. The Chalk Man is one of those rare books where the twists and turns seem complex until the answer is revealed and you realise how obvious it was all along. In other words, a perfect slow burn thriller. 

I always think there's something about a thriller which focuses on the past rather than the present, something rather juicy which really makes you get your teeth into it. The Chalk Man is one such novel.
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I was excited to read this book which had a lot of hype surrounding it.  Personally, whilst well written, it didn't quite do it for me.  Perhaps it was the gruesomeness at the beginning which upset me, I just don't know.  I fully understand why so many will love it though.  My thanks to the publisher & NetGalley for the advance reader copy.
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to review an advance copy of this publication.
An impressive debut that merits four stars in my opinion. Not exactly sure what it lacked to stop it getting that fifth star as can't quite put my finger on it.
Story is set over two time periods i.e 1986 and 2016 when the main characters were children and then obviously adults. Good strong characters and a few twists along the way kept my interest all the way through. No hesitation in recommending.
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The Chalk Man

I loved this novel.  It could rival Agatha Christie in that the writer released little bits in a very natural way that leaves the reader guessing until the very end.

The novel switches between the now, where Eddie is a teacher but still living in his childhood home to 1986 and forward when there were major events in the town.  

The swiches are natural, in a stream of consiousness style, releasing details bit by bit making this a very easy read.

You have to read to the very end to find out what really happened when Eddie was a child.

Nothing is as it seems, people are not as they appear.  ‘Never assume,’ my dad once told me. ‘To assume makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me”.’

I received a free copy from net galley.com for my fair and honest review.
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With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
The Chalk Man is a crime novel that felt very refreshing. Yes, there are murders. but instead of being primarily focused on a police investigation, it is about how a group of friends who are connected to both murders in the 1980s and modern-day cope.
It is a book that I want to review without giving away any plot details. There is little detail in the synopsis and I feel that this is the best way to approach the novel.
Strong friendships feature especially when Eddie is twelve years old. There are first signs of love and loyal friendships but there is also insecurity and mistrust. I enjoyed reading about Eddie’s childhood, his attempts to avoid doing everything that his parents advised, the antics the group of friends got up to, the bullying from older children and the guilt felt over events that no twelve-year-old should ever have to think about.
Combined with the life that Eddie has in modern-day, fear of being like his father, disappointment with life and loneliness it is much more than just a crime novel. He is, however determined to find out what happened years earlier and why they appear to be happening again.This is a novel where every character had a personality and they all coped with life differently and the best way they could. Even if people got hurt. It’s also about secrets, some of which don’t get revealed until near the end.
An astonishing debut.
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When I picked up this book, I was hoping that it would be in a similar vein to Stephen King’s The Body or IT and TV show of the moment, Stranger Things - a group of adolescent friends, who make a terrifying discovery and then have to deal with the repercussions of it throughout their lives.  However for me, this story lacked the heart and emotional connection of both the books and TV show. 

I really didn't care for this book. I'm not a big fan of colloquialism in books, and this seems to be the author's favoured style, however to me it made the dialogue seem less believable, and stilted at times. I also found the story hard to connect with because of the time jumps, it made everything seem much more disconnected.

That's not to say it's without merit, the writing on the whole is good, and people who appreciate informal writing and speech will no doubt enjoy the interactions between the friends. However, it just wasn't for me.
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This book had so much going on, it was something else!!  I literally couldn't put it down and read it in one day.

I loved it,  especially the ending which tied everything up. 

I can't wait for the author to write a new book, hopefully in the very near future!!
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The chalk man is a fantastic debut by C.J. Tudor and I will be keeping my eyes open for her in the future.
The chalk man is told entirely in first person narrative, this being Eddie, the book switches from 2016 to 1986 which worked really well as you found out more and more about Eddie and his gang of friends. Eddie lives in a little village called Anderbury, it is the summer holidays when we first meet him in 1986 and he and his mates are just 12 years old, trying to fill the long days with stuff to do that kept them out of trouble and away from the bullies. They devise a code with chalk, each friend is a different colour and they draw stick men, this initially works well until one day the stick men lead them all into the wood and find a dismembered body hidden around the wood under piles of leaves.
I loved this book the pace was just right, the mystery and suspense was just right and the I loved that the suspense was just so that when Eddie goes into the woods I definitely got a child up my spine!
Eddie thinks the past is behind him but 30 years later a friend turns up and it all comes to a head. This is a brilliant crime thriller with a touch of coming of age as you do see the earlier years through the eye of a child but there are similarities that stay with Eddie 30 years later.
I would like to thank Netgalley and Penguin UK - Michael Joseph for this ARC I received in exchange for an honest review.
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Compellingly creepy. 

‘This particular route is dark, overgrown with tangled knots of lies and secrets, and full of hidden potholes. And along the way, there are chalk men.’

This really is a fabulously terrifying debut. It weaves effortlessly between 1986 and 2016 as Eddie tells his dark and twisty tale. At times I felt nostalgic for my childhood, at other times I was very thankful that this wasn’t my childhood! The innocence of youth breathes another dimension into the horror of events as they unfold, whilst the 2016 story adds another layer to the fear that skitters over your skin. Yet you can’t help but continue to turn each page.

Enjoy every single exquisitely written word but be warned, once you are introduced to the Chalk Man you may not be able to forget him! 

Thank you so much to the Publisher and to NetGalley for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review, highly recommended.
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A really enjoyable read. Intriguing storyline, interesting characters, and very well written. Highly recommended!
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The Chalk Man is C J Tudor's debut novel and what a way to start. This is on my small list of favourite books ive ever read. Definitely recommend this fantastic psychological thriller *****
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I have heard so much chatter about this book I wasn’t sure whether it would live up to the hype, or be a load of tripe…I’m really pleased to say that it cut the mustard for me, and kept me guessing right until the very end. 

I was captured initially by the cover, but when teamed up with the synopsis my interest was piqued. I love a good thriller to get engrossed into and as my first of the new year I was excited to get started. 

The book flits between the past and the present, and we meet a group of friends who hung out together as kids, and experienced something horrible that would come back to haunt them in the present. I don’t want to say too much about the plot as it would be unfair in case I accidentally revealed any spoilers, or took away from what is a tense, creepy and absorbing thriller. But let’s just say that events of the past may not be as clear cut or locked away as they might have hoped. 

The story is told in the first person, with Ed being the main narrator. I think it would be fair to say he has his fair share of trauma, and I was totally engrossed in travelling between the past and the present with him, and trying to fathom the mystery out. If you are a Broadchurch fan you may remember how every cast member came under suspicion and it was all consuming until the big reveal…this book is along the same lines. I questioned everyone, and there are twists!

I can’t believe this is the debut novel of CJ Tudor. It is so well written! The scene setting and the descriptions used really bought the whole book alive for me, and gave it another dimension. I could visualise the surroundings, and it also heightened my other senses as I could almost smell, feel and hear the atmosphere coming off the page. I could imagine a film of the book being made as it would make for a terrific on the edge of your seat experience. 

It kinda gives me the creeps just remembering back and writing the review as it all still feels very clear in my mind, and so believable certain scenes still send chills down my spine.  I am looking forward to CJ Tudors next book!
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Wow. The Chalk Man is an outstanding read. Crime fans will love this. I cannot recommend enough!
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A nice mix of crime,  friendship,  and tragedy.  Would make a perfect film.
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I found this book to be both entertaining and intriguing.

The author makes very good use of the dual time-frame in the crafting of this novel.

I liked the quality of the dialogue, especially in the sections describing the child-hoods of the 'gang'. The characterisation was excellent. At times some of the characters had an almost ghost-like quality.

The tension builds steadily throughout the book. There are plenty of red herrings along the way before the real perpetrator is revealed. This novel certainly kept me gripped.

My thanks go to Netgalley and Penguin UK (Michael Joseph) for a copy in exchange for this review.
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"A short distance away, a pale hand stretched out from its own small shroud of leaves as if searching for help, or reassurance that it was not alone. None was to be found."

OH MY GOD, SO MUCH TO SAY!

First of all: yes, The Chalk Man is creepy and mysterious and suspenseful, but at various times it is also warm and funny and shocking and disturbing and heartbreaking. It is much more than an unnerving whodunit: it is more of a WHAT EXACTLY IS GOING ON HERE-it. :)

"We think we want answers. But what we really want are the right answers. Human nature. We ask questions that we hope will give us the truth we want to hear. The problem is, you can’t choose your truths. Truth has a habit of simply being the truth. The only real choice you have is whether to believe it or not."

Second of all: I LOVE a dual timeline narrative, so hearing Eddie's story from both 1986 and 2016, building up what has happened, worked really well for me and I was immediately hooked. The chapters pretty much alternate between the two time periods and almost all of them end with a twist or a cliffhanger, each of which was so good that I wanted to carry on reading THAT timeline, right now, there and then, not go back or forth in time just yet; and that happened nearly every time.

"The leaves curled and crinkled and eventually lost their fragile grip on the trees. A feeling of withering and dying seemed to pervade everything. Nothing felt fresh or colourful or innocent any more. Like the whole town had been temporarily suspended in its own dusty time capsule."

C.J. Tudor has a brilliant writing style. It's beautiful and compelling but also really natural and unpretentious, and so insightful - it was like she'd crawled right inside my head and knew exactly how I think! The story is complex and masterfully plotted - there was so much going on, but it was so cleverly done, and you felt like you were right there every step of the way with the characters.

"The blue had been scoured from the sky by Brillo-grey clouds, now starting to drip rain on to the coffin and the mourners."

The descriptions throughout are so vivid and evocative and I could see it all so clearly in my mind; sometimes disgustingly so (Sean Cooper, anyone?), and sometimes gloriously so: long lazy summer days, the sun beating down on party games or drizzle in the autumn gloom, almost-teenage feelings, hopes and fears, joy and sorrow. Even the more gruesome parts are irresistibly described. That said, it is also really funny in places.

"A badge pinned to his lapel informs me that his name is ‘Duds’, which seems less of a name and more an admission of a chronic fault."

C.J. Tudor really brings 1980s childhood to life - the dreams, the tastes, the smells, the insults! Even though I'm about five years younger than the main characters, so much of their story felt familiar to me: bike rides in the woods, hanging around the local playground, the ups and downs, the secrets and frustrations, the friendship break-ups and make-ups.

"Mum and dad exchanged ‘adult’ looks, the sort that adults seem to think, because you’re a kid, somehow, magically, you can’t see."

In case you haven't guessed, I absolutely loved this book, I cannot recommend it enough, and I suspect it will stay with me for a long time yet. It is first an foremost a mystery but there is so much more to it - it is best not to know too much about what to expect and to just jump in and enjoy.

Thank you so much to C.J. Tudor, NetGalley and Penguin UK - Michael Joseph for the ARC of The Chalk Man.
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This first time novel from C J Tudor has received massive publicity and loads and loads of “must read” reviews, but I’m really sorry to say, it just didn’t grab me..
It does have a Stephen King type premise and I had to keep reminding myself it was set in the UK in Bristol.
The stories chapters alternate between 1986 and 2016, narrated by Eddie, in the past tense in 1986 aged 12, and in the present tense in 2016, aged 42.
Eddies friends Fat Gav, Hoppo, Nicky and Mickey are a unique set of characters all on the on-set of adolescence whilst also thinking themselves young adults. The friends start to create secret codes by using different coloured messages in chalk around the vicinity, and this code eventually leads them to finding a dismembered body in the woods.
By 2016 the friends have all moved on with their lives until one day Eddie receives a letter containing a chalk stick figure. He then finds out that all the friends received similar letters and sets out to get to the bottom of why.
Whilst the standard of writing is high, as I said before, the novel never really grabbed me. There was no hook in the early pages to make me want to keep on reading. I very nearly gave up about half way through but the novel is quite short so I persevered. But for a short-ish book, surely the action should move quicker. When I got to the end, sadly for me, the conclusion was not really satisfying, but hey, I know there will be many people out there who will strongly disagree with me and no doubt the book will get many many 5 star reviews.
I will, hopefully, read CJ Tudors next book though. I just hope that one will “grab me” from page one.
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