The Chalk Man

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 09 Apr 2018

Member Reviews

Eddie was just a kid in 1986 when he and his friends used a secret code of chalk stick men to send messages to one another. But those same stick men one day led to the discovery of a dismembered body in the woods outside the village…and everything changed.  

In 2016, the grownup Eddie thinks all of that is in the past, until he receives a chalk man in the mail. Who sent it? What does that person want? What does he or she know about what happened in 1986? As Eddie slowly uncovers what happened then, he must confront how it is affecting the present and what threads are woven from then to now. He finds out all his friends have received a similar chalk figure, but then one of them turns up dead. What happened in 1986 that’s caused a murder in 2016? 

Using flashbacks to 1986 and his investigation in 2016, Eddie must discover what secrets his friends have kept…and what he must admit about himself. See if you can figure out all the twists and turns as the suspense unwinds in The Chalk Man.
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This feels like a cross between Stranger Things and It by Stephen King. Creepy, unsettling, made me question a lot of things. It kept me guessing until the very end.
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"A riveting and relentlessly compelling psychological suspense debut that weaves a mystery about a childhood game gone dangerously awry, and 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 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 one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever 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 that his friends got the same message, 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."

A hint of Sherlock Holmes by chance?
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This is an excellent thriller, leaving me on edge until the very end. It has just the right amount of tension to make reading it a pleasure. The story line was well contrived and the characters were portrayed skillfully. This book builds the suspense higher with lots of twisty turns and characters who weren't always what they seemed. It was not a book that I wanted to put down until I was completely finished.
I highly recommend The Chalk Man to those who enjoy suspense and murder mysteries. Since it takes place over many years, it really raises questions about these people and what makes them tick.
My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read and review this book.
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I was really blown away by this book - it was the perfect balance of mystery, past and present. "The Chalk Man," is similar to the concept of "It," but (dare I say?) even better since it seamlessly weaves together the two timelines, creating suspense in both realms.

The novel takes place in 2016, and follows a man whose past was overshadowed by the events of the summer of 1986, when him and a group of friends were introduced by an odd teacher to the concept of chalk-drawn messages, which led them down a dark path. Now, 30 years later, the chalk stick men reappear, just as tragedy strikes. The group must figure out what's going on before it drives them all insane or they become targets.

There are so many nuanced subplots and themes running through this book, that it's hard to describe the book, but it's a great tale of suspense and drama, with the personal problems of each of the friends mixing with the weird events of each year.

The ending was quite a doozy - never would have guessed that. And it's a great multi-layered ending, which matches the story perfectly. I really enjoyed how the story wrapped up.

Oh, and it was creepy as heck.

I highly recommend this novel to anyone who en joy a great, creepy tale of suspense which will keep you turning pages late into the night. I wish I could give it 10 stars.
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I loved the 80’s feel to the book with the boys riding around on bikes in a small town, avoiding the bullies.  At first it was also reminding me of Stephen King’s It with some of the graphic violence and horror and some of the characters had similar traits.  But then it became its own story as the plot focused on the group of boys splitting up and going their own way and the murderers and other strange events leading up to it.  It kept me guessing about who the murderer was and the ending did surprise me.  Definitely a must-read for any thriller and psychological suspense junkies.  

I gave this 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads and Amazon.  

I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley for review consideration.
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My Highly Caffeinated Thought: A chilling, edgy, and addictive thriller.

I first heard about THE CHALK MAN on twitter. An author that I enjoy was talking about this amazing book she just got. Instantly, I searched and found the book. Let me tell you all...this one is amazing. 

THE CHALK MAN is a gritty tale filled with secrets and lies. The story is fresh and pushes the limits of what a thriller can be. In many ways, Tudor explores a new type of bogeyman. By giving the reader the perspective of Eddie as a child and as an adult, she allows the reader to unravel the story as each gripping page flies by. There will be twists, uncomfortable situations, shocking moments, and an ending that I didn't see coming. CAUTION...once you start this book, you will not be able to put it down. 

If you are looking for a edge of your seat, dark, and psychological read, THE CHALK MAN is the read for you. I still can't believe that this is the debut for Tudor and am excited to see what bumps in the night she brings us next. Seriously...CJ...I need more books from you.
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The Chalk Man covers the story of Eddie and his group of friends across two different points in their lives, one when they are 12 and the other when they are 42. When the four boys and one girl were young, they would ride around town on their bikes and leave chalk men messages to each other, but one day the chalk men lead them to a body in the woods. Now, in 2016, Eddie has received a letter covered in chalk men in the mail, leading him to reevaluate the events from 30 years prior to uncover what truly happened.

I was very excited to get the opportunity to read this book, and I have since seen it highlighted on the Book of the Month Club. I am a sucker for a cold case mystery, and this one had so many twists and turns and drama in both time lines that it was just down-right fun to read. The book started by startling me with a fairly disturbing incidence, and ended with an even larger shock.

The first half of the book had a fairly slow pace to it as it set up everything that would be important for the conclusion, but at a certain point it is non-stop revelations and impossible to stop reading. While it didn’t take too much effort to figure out most of the crime, I still enjoyed it immensely. A great summer read!
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In the summer of 1986, 12 year old Eddie Adams witnesses a freak accident at the fair that injures a young girl.  Eddie and his 3 best buddies use chalk drawings as a way to leave secret messages.  But  someone uses chalk man drawings to lead them to a body in the woods.  Thirty years later, teacher Ed gets a visit from one of his boyhood friends and an envelope with a stick of chalk, and a chalk man drawing.  Another death occurs and Ed wonders if the chalk man killer is stalking him.  This was a creeping thriller and enjoyable read.

I received an eARC via Netgalley and Crown Publishing with no requirements for a review.  I voluntarily read this book and provided this review.
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​(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY​)​
(Review Not on Blog) 
Listened to on Audio

If you like Tana French, you will enjoy The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor. Like French, Tudor writes well and is descriptive while keeping the suspense going.  It also reminded me of Stephen King's It, of kids facing an evil and coming together as adults.  A lot of people have been comparing it to King's The Body (Stand By Me = movie version) but of course, I pick something different, lol.  I really enjoyed the writing and the characters.  I listened to this one on audio as I was sick with the flu, and managed to listen to it all in one day.  I recommend this one to any mystery lover.
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The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor is one of those novels that borders on the creepy horror edge as it straddles the dark and gritty crime thriller genre and settles itself firmly in both. This is a tense thriller with a touch of the unreal. But is it supernatural or all in the unraveling mind of our narrator? For small town secrets can often disguise themselves as the supernatural.

"...Close by, a twig snapped, loud as a firecracker in the stillness, and a flurry of birds exploded out of the undergrowth. Someone approached.
They knelt down beside the unseeing girl. Their hands gently caressed her hair and stroked her cold cheek, fingers trembling with anticipation. Then they lifted up her head, dusted off a few leaves that clung to the ragged edges of her neck, and placed it carefully in a bag, where it nestled among a few broken stubs of chalk.
After a moment's consideration, they reached in and closed her eyes. Then they zipped the bag shut, stood up and carried it away..."

"...Start at the beginning.
The problem was, none of us ever agreed on the exact beginning. Was it when Fat Gav got the bucket of chalks for his birthday? Was it when we started drawing the chalk figures or when they started to appear on their own? Was it the terrible accident? Or when they found the first body?
Any number of beginnings. Any of them, I guess, you could call the start. But really, I think it all began on the day of the fair. That's the day I remember most. Because of Waltzeer girl, obviously, but also because it was the day that everything stopped being normal..."

It is 1986, small town America, at the local fair and tragedy strikes. A rides rips apart and hot steel flies threw the air. One piece finding a young girl and ripping her face and body apart. Twelve year old Eddie Addams ( but known by his friends as Eddie Munster) is watching the beautiful young girl, the Waltzer girl, when half her face and her leg are sheared off. In the pandemonium that follows Eddie wants to run but he doesn't. It is also the day he meets Mr. Halloran, the Pale Man, and together they stay and help the girl.

That is where it begins. With the horrible accident. With the pale man and with Eddie. The small town is about to be thrown into a chaos of moral and brutal dimensions and Eddie and his small group of friends are about to be caught in the middle of it. A battle to be waged for the soul of this small town. A battle of morale outrage and abortion. A battle between the cloister of this small town and an outside whose very appearance is disturbing. A battle that ends with the dismembered body of a young girl. A priest beaten into a coma like state and a band of friends torn apart. A battle that gave birth to the Chalk Man.

Thirty years have past and the blood and death of his youth are now past him. Until the day when an envelope slips into Eddie's letterbox. An envelope that contains a stick of chalk and a drawing of a figure.

"...I looked around. The trunks of the trees were covered in drawings. White chalk men. They were moving. They shifted and shimmied over the bark, like they were dancing some weird, horrible jig. Their stick limbs flailed and waved. They had no faces but, somehow, I knew they were grinning. And not in a good way.
My skin shrivelled on my bones. 'Who drew them?'
'Who do you think, Shitface?'
'I don't know!'
'Oh, you know, Shitface. You just don't know yet.'
He winked, somehow managing this without eyes or lids, and then he was gone. Not in a cloud of dust this time but a sudden fall of leaves that drifted to the ground and immediately began to curl and die.
I looked back up. The chalk men had gone. The woods had gone. I was in my bedroom, my body trembling with fear and cold, my hands tingling and numb. I shoved them deep into my pockets. And that was when I realized.
My pockets were full of chalk..."

There are books you read that other, more recent novels, bring to mind and a sense of nostalgia wafts like an under current in the novel. The Chalk Man is such a novel. There is a thread of The Body by Stephen King in here and the impending horror of IT as well. But the beginning and the entire novel itself is Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes. It is all of them and none of them. It is a fusion of these great tales and yet somehow, something quite uniquely its own. It is The Chalk Man and quite simply one of the best crime/horror novels of the season.

A really great read!
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This was a slow building, utterly engaging who dunnit. Family drama, small town secrets and the pieces of this puzzle keep the reader guessing and turning pages.
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Truly scary thriller that keeps you guessing until the end. Twelve-year-old Eddie reluctantly assists an adult bystander in the rescue of a young woman, who suffers a horrific, disfiguring accident while at the local fair. To make matters worse, for both Eddie and the girl, he and his friends, while exploring in the woods, later come up the same girl, now only she is dead.
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I'm glad I took a chance with this book. It's done really well.
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Summary from Goodreads:

"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?"

My Thoughts:

This book was totally not what I expected it to be!  I don't mean that in a bad way at all but it is really the best way to describe my reading experience.  I picked up this book expecting a thriller which it definitely was.  That being said - the twists and turns this book took and everything that happened within its' pages was definitely not what I originally expected.  This book starts out with a bang and really doesn't let up.  Sure there are times where maybe the author lulls you into thinking that you might know what is going on but I definitely didn't.  I loved how this book switched back and forth between when Eddie and his friends were younger and then back to present day.  It gave the book a similar vibe to Stephen King's It (which I have not yet finished but do plan on getting back to soon).  I also really appreciated the fact that it felt like two separate mysteries and I was fully invested in both of them.  Like so fully invested that I think I managed to finish this book in less then three days.  I just could not stop reading this one!  I don't think that it is too spoilery to say that the author manages to tie everything up beautifully.  I feel like there were a few things that I was able to guess but there was so much more that I didn't.  I enjoyed my time with this book immensely and cannot wait to see what this author comes up with next!

Overall, I found this to be such a great book and I'm glad that I didn't let it linger on my TBR list.  I realize that I didn't tell you a whole lot about it in specifics but I really think this is a book that you should just pick up knowing as little as possible.  Just go on the ride that the author takes you on, it is completely worth it in my opinion!  This is a dark read with a few very uncomfortable moments but it was also oh so good!  I also really enjoyed the fact that this book was a standalone thriller.  I'm basically a series addict if you haven't noticed but I loved that this book stands on its' own.  It's a reminder for me that I need to read more books like this that aren't part of a series once in awhile.  I think that the thing that will stick most with me after finishing this book is the tense and haunting atmosphere that the author created.  There were times that I knew that something bad was going to happen but yet I just couldn't stop reading as I needed to know what would happen next.  I would highly recommend this book to fans of thrillers and mysteries!

Bottom Line:  If I gave actual ratings, I would rate this one 4.5 stars - it was a read that I won't be forgetting about any time soon!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and NetGalley.
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Really well crafted suspense with so many twits and turns you need some Dramamine!
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What a page turner, read this in one sitting as it gripped me in the fist chapter.  Totally surprised at the ending.  Highly recommended to those interested in a good crime mystery.
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Thank you Netgalley for the ARC of The Chalk Man.

Eddie is a normal 12 year with normal friends in 1986.  But everything changes after a harmless game involving chalk drawings leads them to the scene of a murder.  Flash forward to modern day, Ed lives in the same town, with several of his same friends, when history comes crashing back when an absent friend returns trying to dig up the past.

I enjoyed this ok.  The concept was appealingly creepy, overall the plot was compelling and easy enough to follow.  But the ending was pretty disappointing.
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I enjoyed reading this book. Kept my interest .I liked the character development and their interactions.
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Let's talk format. This book alternates between chapters set in 1986 and chapters set in 2016. Every single one of them ends with a cliffhanger. This frustrated me to no end because work and exhaustion got int the way of what should have been a one-sitting read. It was creepy and atmospheric and does not feel like a debut novel. Tudor is definitely an author to watch out for.
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