Cover Image: The Chalk Man

The Chalk Man

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Member Reviews

I have to admit the cover was what drew me to this book in the first place the synopsis was the second plus. This stands out from the usual psychological thriller, this just has something different, the idea of secret chalk messages mixed with murder, relationships and illness was brilliant. Its well written, the author doesnt give too much away at the start which keeps you wanting to read and not stop. The characters are all strong and interesting in their own right. I really enjoyed this book. Well done random house and C.J Tudor
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Beautifully crafted with a sinister edge. Five twelve year old youngsters on their rite of passage, doing what kids do, related through the eyes of Eddie. Innocent lives soon to be changed forever when a young girl is horribly injured and disfigured in a fairground accident. It is 1986... And then Eddie meets the Chalk Man, the kids create a secret method of communication using symbols in chalk. Find chalk arrows that point to dismembered parts of a murder victim - a girl - whose head is never found. There are times when the plot put me in mind of Stephen King's "The Body" (made into the movie 'Stand By Me') the innocence of the young tainted by events beyond their control.

2016 - Eddie is now 42, a teacher. Lives in the same city. His mates remain the same; still wonder the true identity of the murder victim from 30 years ago. And whatever happened to the head? Who committed the crime? Who do you believe? And then the denouement, the ending that turns everything on its head...


My thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ARC
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WOW. Where do I start, this book is a dark, spooky and gritty thriller, it's gripping and gave me a sleepless night why I clung to every page wanting to get to the end and answer the questions floating around my head. 
This is a book of two half, set in the 80's and present day. It starts by introducing a group of normal 12-year-old kids in the 80's, who ride their bikes, play in the park and get penny sweets from Woolworths. One day at the fun fair they witness an accident that starts a course of events that changes them all forever. A new teacher at the school makes reference to using chalk as a code, the kids start to use this to communicate with each other and what was fun code soon leads them to a murder. The boys follow the chalk drawings into the woods where they find the body of a young girl. 
In the present day, the kids are all adults in there 30's and still the murder plays on their minds. So many questions need answering. Who is the chalk man? Who killed the girl? What happen when they were kids? These entire questions are answered in a shocking twist that I never saw coming.

This book is certainly going to the top of my top thrillers I have read this year.
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The Chalk Man is a well-written and compelling thriller set around events that occurred in a small town during 1986 and their aftermath, 30 years later. The main characters, four childhood friends, are very well drawn (excuse the pun). I don't want to give too much away, but the sections set in 1986 and the nightmare sequences are particularly thrilling, at times reminiscent of Stephen King. The snag for me was the ending. It all felt a bit convenient without any real payoff. One of the culprits was basically a caricature with no redeeming features, which spoiled things for me. Still, it is worth reading for the tension and excellent prose.
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This is a great murder mystery. The plot is well thought out and executed, the characters and their motivations are explored superbly. The chalk man himself serves as a bogeyman, blocking the characters from seeing the truth behind the events that took place in their past.
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As long as you can suspend your disbelief about how many crimes/misunderstandings/mistaken identities and instances of madness can take place in one pretty small circle of towns-folk, then this is a fun and twisty read. Realistic it's not but what Tudor does very well is give us a narrator and group of friends who we can enjoy spending time with, and she gets their banter and long-time friendship on paper with some panache. 

Good as a switch-off/commuter read - though seasoned readers of crime will probably have seen through much of the denouement.
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The first thing that appealed to me about “The Chalk Man” was its deceptively simple cover, featuring the imagery of a chalk hangman set against a blackboard. There was something unsettling about this image, and I loved the ‘hook’ of a killer using chalk men to leave messages about his victims. The actual novel is more bit more complicated than that initial concept, but it is a striking first impression and one that drew me in like a moth to the flame.

“The Chalk Man” is a strong, self-assured debut from writer C.J. Tudor, who weaves a tightly-plotted murder mystery that spans across two different time periods of its protagonists life: his early adolescence and his middle-age. Switching between the 1986 and 2016 settings is a delightfully effective literary technique and one that feels very reminiscent of Stephen King at times, particularly his work on “It” and “The Body”, which was later adapted as “Stand by Me”. In fact the story feels like an amalgamation of both tales, but without the supernatural elements.

Told entirely in the first-person narrative, Tudor does a tremendous job at capturing the personality of her lead, Eddie Adams, onto the page. It’s interesting to see how the character develops over the thirty-year period of which the story is set – certain behavioural patterns stick through the two eras, and Tudor clearly knows her character inside and out. The characters are all fascinating to read about, and thanks to a few surprising final act twists, they will linger in the mind a lot longer than most.

I loved how Tudor scattered her novel with seemingly unconnected events, bringing each subplot together at the end with all the skill of a conductor directing a vast orchestra, and with nary a dud note in sight. While I figured out the identity of the killer three-quarters of the way through the book, there were still plenty more mysteries layered upon each other that took me by surprise. The final few pages were like a punch in the gut, and will certainly leave an impact in the reader’s mind.

“The Chalk Man” works brilliantly on two fronts – firstly, it acts as a coming-of-age drama about a group of friends who inevitably drift part over decades, and also as a dark crime drama about the gruesome murder of a young lady. While some sequences are particularly gruesome, especially the opening description of the murder scene – the novel never seeks to scare, instead relying on mystery angle of events. As Tudor unravels her tangled narrative knot, events seem to barrel towards an action-packed conclusion that will have the reader gripped to the page. The ending was pitch-perfect, and I found myself grinning from ear to ear upon finishing the novel, which I devoured within the space of a few days – eager to find out more about the central mystery.

I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of my experience with “The Chalk Man” and would love to read more from C.J. Tudor in the near future. She has proven herself to quite the adept writer with this tremendously satisfying debut, ticking every box for a successful crime thriller. The odd mix of bildungsroman and crime genres results in an engaging read, which feels as fresh and exciting as Stephen King’s early novels. Tudor’s easily-flowing narrative makes this an easy-to-digest read, and while some aspects of the tale can be easily guessed, Tudor’s multi-faceted mystery ensures that there will be at least one shock in store for even the most experienced armchair detectives. “The Chalk Man” is a fantastic read, and deserves all of the praise and awards that it will inevitably get throughout the rest of the year.
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I absolutely loved this book.  It's dark, creepy and such a wonderful murder mystery.  I couldn't put it down and the ending was fab!

Definitely a must read for when it's out!!
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This was such a captivating story, straight away i was drawn in and didnt want to put the book down. All the different aspects intertwined beautifully, the story itself is thought provoking and the charachters are really well written. All in all this was one of the most satisfying books i have read this year.
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MY review for " The Chalk Man"

it all started on the day of the fair and the terrible accident. When twelve-year-old Eddie first met the person they call The Chalk Man.

it was the Chalk Man who gave Eddie the idea for the drawings: a way to leave secret messages between his group of friends each of his friend's Fat Gav, Metal Mickey ( on account of the braces on his teeth) Hoppo (David Hopkins) and Nicky she didn't have a nickname because shes a Girl even you she tried to pretend she wasn't, each of them had a different colour so they would know who had left the drawing...

it was all fun they enjoyed doing it playing the game until the figures led them to the body of a young girl.

That was thirty years ago and Ed still living in the family home he grew up in but with a lodger Called Chloe he thought he left past was behind him Then he receives a letter containing just two things: a piece of chalk,and a drawing of a stick figure as history starts to repeat itself Ed realises that the game was never over IT WAS JUST THE BEGINNING!!

Everyone has secrets.

Everyone is guilty of something.

And children are not always so innocent

let me start by saying this every time a new author brings out their debut book people go on that a exciting new voice is now here and there the ones to watch but this time its TRUE! C.J. TUDOR'S The Chalk Man is an amazing book the story has everything you could ask for in a good thriller it has plenty of twists and turns it has the shock and creepy factor! i love how the story story goes from 1989 then to 2016 its nice to see what each of the friends was like then and now and how far they have come, i didn't want the book to end if im honest i would of happy happy to keep reading and reading if the story went on its a book that i have been telling my friends about and i can't wait for them to get a copy and start reading this amazing book.. i feel lucky that i got a chance to read this book before it comes out C.J. TUDOR really is a name to look out for because i can see more 5 star books coming our way in the future... thank you to the publishers and Netgalley for my copy of this book i loved it!! 5 stars
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I envisage this book being the talked about book of 2018!!!
 I absolutely devoured this book! I loved the way it was written, the storyline, everything about it. 
I highly recommend it to everyone who enjoys well written, compelling, psychological thrillers.
5 big fat shiny stars *****
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What a wonderful and unique book. It is a story that remains with you long after you have finished reading it.
It is a murder mystery story, told over two time-lines intermingled, first from the view point of a twelve-year-old boy over the course of one very eventful summer and then thirty years later when the events are finally fully explained.
It is to a certain extent a dark story. The theme of the fragility of mental health runs through it as many characters are afflicted and we see their minds and personalities gradually crumble away.
The author has written quite an intricate plot and managed to hold all the strands and bring it together with an unexpected conclusion which was really well planned out and quite masterly.
Outstanding for a début novel, I really look forward to reading many more from Ms Tudor.
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This book is brilliantly written. The story is dark and haunting and wonderful. It is set in 1986 and the present and goes back and forward between the two. The horrific events of 1986 are explained and the culprits speculated and talked about. This is a really good novel that kept me reading. I was totally gripped by it. This book is about growing up and the strength of childhood friendships. The story is brilliantly put together and I will probably read it again to see what Clues I missed the first time,
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Brilliantly written, intricate story.  Very clever use of first-person narration, both as a 12 year old boy, and then the same person today as a man. This allows us to see things more clearly, and recognise ambiguities.
There are many twists and turns, but all are credible and realistic.  Even the supernatural ones have an explanation - well, almost! 
Highly recommended
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The world of adolescent boys is captured in this story with a murder mystery to unravel. Ed is not very good at detection but after some wrong turns it all becomes so obvious. Unintended consequences to actions make for guilty secrets.
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This book is one of the best that I have read this year. I loved that it went back 30 years every other chapter or so to give you the back story of how the characters got to where they were. Great job CJ Tudor! I will definitely read more of your books in the future.
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Ed has lived in the same town all his life. As a youngster he had a "gang" of friends which included Fat Gav, Hoppo, Metal Micky & Nicky. Things happened in their teenage years which now return to haunt them as adults.
This is actually quite a complicated book and you do need to keep your wits about you. With hindsight I wonder if a cast list might have been useful to refer to. The book has different chapters in different time periods in the past & present. They are clearly labelled which I did appreciate as the cast in the past & present are mostly the same.
Ed is that lad who never really moved on from his childhood. He has become a teacher but teaches in his old school and lives in the house he grew up in. He sees reminders of his past every day. Hoppo and Fat Gav don't seem to have been able to pull themselves away either. I did feel for Ed. He is a strange lad and an even stranger adult. He isn't able to move on so his life just stagnates. I am sure many people know an Ed and he was very believable. The supporting cast are also well written - it is interesting that no one has actually managed to move on from their childhood no matter what it seems on the surface.
This is a thriller though it is certainly not fast paced. I think Ed breaks into a run at one point near the end but that is it. The whole story is a slow amble which won't suit some people.
 The characters are complex and three dimensional. When we look back at the past we see things from a child's perspective, Ed, but as an adult reader you have the advantage over him. When Ed revisits these things in his mind as an adult you can see him looking at things differently.
I enjoyed this book. It is a slow stroll and quite complex but I was happy with that. I loved the complexity of the characters. It was tough for everyone involved in so many different ways. However, I felt that it did reflect life quite well. I was quite pleased with the ending and felt that it did fit the book.
So sit back and enjoy this book. Don't rush it but absorb it.
I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley.
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Loved this book, so many twists and turns and an intricate plot, would definitely read this authors books in the future.
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The Chalk Man is a very rare thing. A "thriller" that didn't make me anxious!  

In this age of psychological suspence and unreliable female narrators I have to confess I was expecting similar. But it is nothing like anything I've read in years. It reminded me of very good early Stephen King (particularly IT), and like King, while keeping you on your toes, the brilliant character arcs and beautifully told story shone through and, for me, this made the book.

I'm not sure this even is a thriller, I'm not sure what it is other than sheer brilliance. I was late for work and didn't sleep enough because I couldn't put it down. 

I remember the first time I read IT in 1987. It's been a long time since I sat staring into space after finishing a book like I did after that one, but The Chalk Man came close. That God.
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A wonderful original storyline that will keep you guessing until the very end. Utterly twisted and unsettling but very compelling. This is going to be THE debut of the year.  I can feel it in me bones!

Many thanks to Netgalley who provided me with this ARC. I chose to read it and give a voluntary and unbiased review.
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