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The Chalk Man

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Member Reviews

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor is a 2018 Crown Publishing Group publication.

Nostalgic and atmospheric

In 1986 a group of twelve- year old’s- Eddie Adams, Fat Gav, Metal Mickey, Hoppo, and Nicky find themselves connected to the murder of a young girl Eddie helped to save after a horrific carnival accident.

Now, in 2016, Mickey is back in town, and decides to pay Eddie a visit, which stirs up old memories of the unresolved case, and opens a Pandora’s box of secrets- secrets that could get someone killed…

When this book was first released, thriller fans went gaga over it. Naturally, I was curious, so I added it to my reading list immediately.

However, for some reason, it just kept sliding further down the pile- despite my best intentions. Now, two years later, I finally reached for it while looking for a darker toned thriller for Halloween.

Trying to refresh my memory about the book and why it was such a runaway hit, I read a few reviews, both editorial and on Goodreads, before I got started. I have noticed the book is said to be reminiscent of Stephen King’s IT, or The Body. I also noticed many reviewers compared it to Stranger Things.

I do recall that program was super popular around the time this book was published, but as is so often the case with me, I never watched a single episode of it. I wondered if my unfamiliarity with the show would somehow affect my enjoyment of this book- which is one reason why comparisons and riding popular trends can be troublesome.

Once a super-hot show or trend starts to cool, the book may not be as effective in retrospect, or readers, like myself, who are a little late to the party, may question the hype surrounding it.

The King comparisons, however, did resonate with me to some degree, but I never felt the emotional connection to the characters as I did while reading the King novels.

The book did not quite live up to all the enthusiasm it received across the board, for me personally; however, the book is still very solid, and certainly a cut above many thrillers of this type and style.

Although the story got off to a slow start for me, and remained just a beat behind where it needed to be to maximize the suspense, it was, nonetheless, very intense, atmospheric and creepy, with a constant, palpable sense of foreboding throughout.

The mystery is more complex than I anticipated, the revelations are well timed and effective, and the conclusion is a real stunner.

Even though I was not as overwhelmed by this book as others were, I am impressed enough to acknowledge its impact, especially as a debut novel.

It’s hard to make inroads in a well- established subgenre of thrillers, but the author has quickly built a faithful following and launched a stable career in the process. So, hats off to C.J. Tudor. I’m curious and eager to check out a few of her other books some day.

4 stars
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An interesting book, though not quite as twisty as it at first appears. I thought the alternating chapters between now and 30 years ago was pretty effective, though it really delayed the relatively-simple solution to what appeared to be an almost supernatural mystery. I guess I might give another Tudor book a try, but this one was kind of a disappointment after all I'd read and heard about it.
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I love flashback stories when they are done well, as it was in this case. It had a little bit of a Stranger Things feel to it and was an interesting read.
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I read late into the night trying to put all the pieces together. When I woke this morning I had to reread the last 4 chapters to be sure I hadn’t missed something.
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It’s a rare book that I find abrasive right out of the gate, especially since there are no controversial social messages here, just a mystery that I didn’t like and didn’t finish. Thanks go to Crown Publishing and Net Galley for the review copy, which I received free and early in 2017. I should have written a review long ago, of course, but I found it hard to reconcile my antipathy for this story—a debut, no less—with the nearly unanimous adulation expressed by other reviewers. I am still a bit bewildered, but there it is. 

This is a book that tries too hard. There are too many cutesy nicknames, and the structure of the plot feels gimmicky and formulaic, as well as mighty unlikely. Of course, most mysteries have aspects that are unlikely because most real-life murders and other mysterious doings have logical, obvious, dull explanations. We agree to pretend the murder mystery is plausible in exchange for being entertained. The problem is that I wasn’t, and so I couldn’t. 

Two other factors that contributed to my grumpiness were the overwhelmingly male list of characters, and the cultural collision between British fiction and my brain. I’ve read and enjoyed some British fiction; if not, I wouldn’t have requested this galley. But here the culture and jargon are thick on the ground, and the inner narrative feels endless. 

I no longer have to be concerned that I will crush this author’s hopes and dreams; Tudor’s debut is a huge success both in terms of sales and the corresponding enthusiasm of its readership. This author has gone on to publish more books, and I have had the good sense not to request those this time. Ultimately this came down to taste more than anything else, but I have to call ‘em as I see them, and I found nothing to love, apart from a compelling jacket and an attention-getting title.
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It’s been a long time since I stayed up late to finish a book simply because I couldn’t put it down.

I received this ARC a long time ago, but never really got around to it. I recently picked it up as my bookclub’s read for this month.

I loved this. As the author has admitted, the first half of the story reads as an homage to Stephen King. As I was reading I just kept drawing parallels to It, The Body, and even The Shining just to name a few. But it never felt kitschy. The author still had a unique story and voice that kept me interested.

I think the thing that kept me turning pages was that each chapter ended on a new plot twist, reveal, or cliffhanger. Every time I told myself I’d put that book down at the end of the chapter, I’d get to the final lines and just keep going; I just had to find out!

There were so many twists and tie ins throughout the novel that surprised me. And while I figured a few of them out, the details were worked out so flawlessly that I still kept being surprised, even when I saw it coming.

And there are definitely “loose ends” as the author so nobly points out the end of the story. But, like it says, “Sometimes, Ed...it’s better not to know all the answers”

And. Oh. My. God. That final chapter. I think I read the whole passage with a horrified look of digits on my face. Brilliant.
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Eddie and his friends like any other teenage boys spend their days trying to find adventure. They start using chalk figures to communicate but one day they find themselves in the woods and discover the body of a young girl.

Now adults, their paths have taken them in different directions but for Ed, the past keeps coming back and he decides it’s time to find out what happened and were any of his friends or community members involved.

I thought the author did a great job with the way the story is told in alternating chapters between 1986 and 2016. While the kids lived in a small town, there seemed to be a lot of evil around them. I would love to see what this author comes up with next.

A mystery I highly recommend.
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I feel like I'm the last person to read this one. This thriller absolutely worked for me, and I don't say that very often. It's a fast-paced read in a day book that would make a great summer beach read. The Chalk Man alternates between when the characters were 12 years old and present day when they are in their early 40's. Short chapters make it impossible to put down.
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I am sorry for not reviewing fully but I don’t have the time to read this at the moment. I believe that it wouldn't benefit you as a publisher or your book if I only skimmed it and wrote a rushed review. Again, I am sorry for not fully reviewing!
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Which came first. The chalk men or the killing? 

The Chalk Man was kind of a mixed bag amongst my friends. The dissenters in the ranks all seem to have the same complaint – Uncle Stevie wrote it better. I say to them, this is nothing like his stuff, I mean his are set in Northeastern America and this is very much in Jolly Ol' England.  See? Not alike at all.

Okay, just kidding. I kinda get where the nonbelievers are coming from since Eddie Munster, Fat Gav, Metal Micky, Hoppo and Nicky could easily be compared to The Loser's Club and the premise of the waywayback timeline centers around "wanna see a dead body?" - but for me that was where the similarities ended. 

C.J. Tudor definitely has a voice of her own and expresses it oh-so-well in this debut novel. There’s nothing quite like a mystery that I don’t have solved within the first 15-20% to make me a believer as well. And the wibbly wobbly timeline? Handled with ease. This is a toss up if it will or won’t work for you. I loved the nostalgia, I didn’t mind the homage to The Master – mainly because it didn’t strike me as a poor imitation – and I loved that I didn’t really have to loooooooove any of the characters to still be interested in their story. It didn’t pull punches with the gore either (headless corpse say whaaaaaaa?) and was paced perfectly at a succinct less-than-300-pages length. All this equals a Kelly and Mitchell approved reading experience! 

It took me four months and being approved for Tudor’s next book to serve as motivation to finally puke out this review. Thank you for the ARC, NetGalley, and I am obviously the reason I can’t have nice things . . . .
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C.J. Tudor's "The Chalk Man" reminded me very much of one of Stephen King's group of kids novels/story (i.e. The Body, It, etc.). It drew me in with the real emotion and friendships of children and teens, and the way a tragedy can bring a group together or tear them apart. 
The mystery aspect of this book is perfect. After reading this book, I went back and listened to it, and it's just as great. Seriously, read this book. It's wonderful.
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I could only manage to give this book three stars because it was hyped up to me so hard and then didn't meet my expectations. Don't you hate when that happens?

Taking place in a small town in England, this is certainly a murder mystery and nothing more. This is a debut novel for this author and I think that now that she has one novel under her belt, future novels will be much more polished. Certainly not a bad book though! 

It's a shame that the release of this book didn't happen a bit sooner. With the popularity of the It movie remake, this book would pair up nicely as a read-alike. It has a group of best friends solving mysterious killings, it's told in two different time periods, and even though there is no supernatural aspect to this book, there are hints that there could be. 

I would not recommend this book to anyone who does not like harsh subject matter. The language isn't bad, but the main character's mother runs an abortion clinic, there are violent murders described in detail, discussion of rape, and sexual misconduct.
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"Perhaps she hesitated. Perhaps the hairs on the back of her neck shivered a little. One of those faint trembles of fear you put down to your imagination playing tricks on you but, actually, the real trick is fooling yourself that everything is all right."

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

An engaging page-turner, tightly woven and suspenseful, with a good payoff in the end.
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I have to say this was a pretty good book.  I didn't "like" it, per say, but I thought it was done well and overall a solid read.  I think others will truly enjoy this one.
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There are a whole lot of tragic figures in this novel that centers around the murder of a young girl. There were many twists and turns and I liked that the killer wasn't so evident. So many secrets for such a small town!
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Oh, where to start! Well, here's the thing - I started reading C.J. Tudor's debut novel The Chalk Man in my jammies on a snowy day. And while starting was not an issue, stopping was. I couldn't put the book down!!! Addictive, page turning and so very, very good....... (And I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader!)

1986. Twelve year old Ed and his four friends have a great, way of communicating with each other. They chalk little stick figures at the end of their driveways and throughout their small village. It's a 'secret' way to communicate with each other. But when a set of chalk directions leads to a body, it's clear that someone else knows their secret.

2016. Ed still lives in the same house he grew up in, teaches at the school he attended and drinks a little too much. When a chalk man drawing arrives in his mailbox, he knows that the past is not finished with him......

Tudor's use of the past and present narrative in alternating chapters is soooo effective. She ends each chapter with a cliffhanger or a lovely bit of foreshadowing. You know that don't go into the basement scene in movies? Yeah, like that. This and her plotting is what kept me tucked into my reading chair for the day. There's a mystery at the heart of the book - who is the killer? But, there's so much to the plot than just that question. Tudor provides lot of alternatives for the whodunit. There's a dark undertone running through the town. Everyone seems to have secrets.

"I knew it was wrong but, like I said, everyone has secrets, things they know they shouldn't do but do anyway. Mine was taking stuff - collecting things. The crappy thing was, it was only when I tried to take something back that I really screwed up."

Oh, does Tudor ever have that 'twisty, turny' plot thing nailed down! The narrative took lots of unexpected, unpredictable directions. "Never assume. Question everything. Always look beyond the obvious."

The Chalk Man was so 'readable'! I loved it! If you're a fan of Stranger Things, Stand By Me and suspense reads, you'll love The Chalk Man. This book is so darn good, it's hard to believe it's a debut - I can't wait to see what Tudor writes next!
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I waited and waited for the suspense to begin...... whenever I can put a nook down and walk away for days, It is not a good sign.  The characters were  interesting enough but the storyline just seemed to stall.  Thank you for the opportunity to read for a fair review.
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The year is 1986, and Eddie’s summer is looking to be boring and uneventful as usual when some seemingly unrelated events start occurring. A carnival ride breaks, almost killing a girl, a new mysterious teacher arrives in town, and a bucket of chalk turns from an odd gift into an unusual new game where the kids write messages to each other in code using men drawn with chalk. But when a tragic accident occurs, followed by a body found in the woods, the chalk men may be more than they appear.

In present day, Eddie has put his past behind him until he receives a note with a drawing of a chalk man, and then one of his childhood friends returns after decades away. Additional events cause him to look further into what happened 30 years earlier and find out what really happened during that fateful year.

The Chalk Man seamlessly alternates between 1986 and 2016, with twists and turns along the way in both timelines. The characters are well drawn and fully fleshed out, even the minor ones have reason and purpose to the story that makes sense. There’s a supernatural element to the story that’s never fully explained, as Eddie’s dreams both in the past and the present toe the line between reality and fantasy.

The Chalk Man is a fast-paced thriller and a great read to snuggle under the blanket with on a cold winter’s day.
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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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