The Chalk Man

The Sunday Times bestseller. The most chilling book you'll read this year

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Pub Date 11 Jan 2018 | Archive Date 23 Mar 2020

Description

The Chalk Man is coming . . .

'None of us ever agreed on the exact beginning. 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?'

 What authors are saying about The Chalk Man

'[I] haven't had a sleepless night due to a book for a longtime. The Chalk Man changed that. Many congrats C. J. Tudor' Fiona Barton, bestselling author of The Widow

'What a great book. A twisty thriller and downright creepyending. 5 stars' Sarah Pinborough, bestselling author of Behind Her Eyes

'Tense, skillful storytelling' Ali Land, bestselling authorof Good Me Bad Me

'Absolutely brilliant. I was expecting a creepy horror story that I'd have to read with all the lights on but this book is so much more than that - it's witty, insightful, clever, thoughtful, mysterious, gripping,nostalgic and utterly compelling. Publishers often talk about "an exciting new voice in fiction" and I genuinely think C. J. Tudor is going to be huge. This book has bestseller written all over it and if it doesn't go to number one I will eat my crime writing hat' C. L. Taylor, bestselling author of The Missing

'With its driving plot and sensitive evocation of friendship and loneliness, The Chalk Man is an utterly gripping read, with an ending that will make the hairs on the back of your neck bristle' Karen Perry, bestselling author of Can You Keep a Secret?

'What an amazing debut! Such an ingenious, original idea. I was engrossed from the very first page. I loved how the 1986 and present day storylines weaved so skillfully together to create that unforgettable and unexpected ending. Compelling, taut and so very, very chilling. This book will haunt you!' Claire Douglas, bestselling author of Last Seen Alive

'It's been a while since I've read such an impressive debut.The pace was perfectly judged, the characters superbly drawn and there's a creeping sense of unease that starts with the prologue and grows throughout the book. And then that ending! It feels so fresh and deserves to be a huge success' James Oswald, bestselling author of the Inspector McLean series.

'Impossible to put down, cleverly constructed and executed' Ragnar Jonasson, author of the bestselling Dark Iceland series

'Finished reading The Chalk Man by C.J Tudor last night. What a book! Enjoyed every minute of it. A total banger!' Amy Lloyd, author of The Innocent Wife.

'Kept me up until five in the morning. Wonderfully written. I loved it!' Kimberley Chambers, bestselling author of Backstabber.

"The grip the past has on the present reveals itself in ever more sinister and macabre ways in this utterly original and relentlessly compelling psychological thriller. The Chalk Man kept me guessing all the way to the end" Fiona Neil, bestselling author of The Betrayals.

The Chalk Man is coming . . .

'None of us ever agreed on the exact beginning. Was it when we started drawing the chalk figures, or when they started to appear on their own? Was it the terrible...


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ISBN 9780718187439
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Featured Reviews

Absolutely brilliant. I’ve lost my reading mojo for the past few months and this book has brought it back. Excellent story and I’ve not been able to put it down. Highly recommend.

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Fans of Stephen King, look no further: I might just have found you a new favourite book. C.J Tudor is amazingly skilful of getting right under your skin, like the very best of King’s novels and definitely succeeded in getting me to turn all the lights on before I headed upstairs as I just couldn’t stop thinking about the sheer darkness in this cracking debut novel. 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 all begins 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 dead 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... I don’t want to give any more away as this is such a rattling good read. This book will definitely unnerve you and leave you looking over your shoulder in case something is on the point of dropping through your letterbox. I can’t wait to see what C.J Tudor does next as The Chalk Man had me hooked. An absolutely excellent read – buy it if you Dare!

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1986: Twelve year old Eddie and his friends summer holidays started as you would expect, bike rides and general high jinks. But the summer soon turns cruel.....two accidents tarnish their summer but then the violence starts. A game they played with chalk in innocent fun becomes the precursor to assault and then a brutal murder. 30 years on Eddie has tried to leave the memories behind, but then the chalk men begin to appear again. I love it when the hype is deserved. Too many times I've read a book only to think 'meh'. But this has everything I love in a book, murder, mystery, the occasional dash of humour and of course a great big dose of 80's nostalgia. A fast paced thriller for anyone who likes Stephen King and Stranger Things.

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Anyone who’s seen the hype around this book will know it’s being compared to the work of Stephen King. If I recall correctly, even the great man himself compared it to his own work on Twitter. Point is, it will be the most unoriginal comparison I can make, if I say The Chalk Man is comparable to something that Stephen King might write. Well, apologies, but I’m gonna, for the comparison is apt. CJ Tudor has written a coming of age story that can easily stand aside the master’s work. In Anderbury, we have a small market town in England, comparable with those King conjures in Maine. In Eddie, Fat Gav, Metal Mickey, Hoppo and Nicky, we have child protagonists the like of which King populates his novels, such as IT. And in the chalk man drawings that sinisterly litter the narrative we have the kind of fiendish motif he might have conjured. Unlike King’s writing this is a crime novel, rather than horror, but like IT we have child protagonists trying to solve the mystery and plagued by evil. It’s not a straightforward crime novel, this is no police procedural, psychological thriller or serial killer tale. Rather it is both a coming of age story – the narrative is split between alternating chapters set in 1986 when the protagonists are ten, and the present day when they are adults – and chiller/thriller, if that makes sense. Both narrative strands work well, though those chapters set in 1986 are by far the best, the author perfectly encapsulating a child’s eye view and managing to conjure up how it felt to grow up in the 80’s. What’s the central crime the plot revolves around? I really don’t want to say - albeit the book’s description gives that away, telling the reader that the children find a body. In many ways however, this misses the point. A plethora of crimes, both hinted at and explicit, occur in this story; there are multiple characters who may or may not be involved. I want to resist divulging spoilers because this is a MUST read, a really enjoyable experience; there are twists galore and a really eerie sense of foreboding that seeps from each and every page. Read this novel. You really won’t regret it. 5 out of 5 stars

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C.J. Tudor's debut has already received praise by Stephen King, so really, that's all the recommendation you need. Still it's easy to see why. With shades of IT and Stand By Me, The Chalk Man is a stunning murder mystery and coming of age story that could have easily have been penned by the horror master himself. Set across 30 years, it follows a boy/man's childhood experience with a new teacher, known as the mysterious Chalk Man, and a series of events that culminate with an unsolved murder. Tudor has created a real page turner that's near impossible to put down, one full of great characters and small town secrets. Do yourself a favour. Grab a copy and clear your schedule. You won't be disappointed.

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When I first read the blurb about this book it reminded me of many of the 'coming of age/body in the woods' stories, but something drew me to it anyway- maybe the stunningly simple but effective cover. Told by Ed, who with his mates Fat Gav, Metal Micky, Hoppo and Nicky hang around together through the Summer Holidays of 1986. They leave chalk messages of stick men for each other until one day they follow a message none of them admitted to making and make a horrific discovery. The story switches back & forth between Ed's youth to adulthood. In 2016 he is still living in the same town, a teacher at the local school. When he and his old friends receive letters containing a chalk drawing and then one of them is found dead he realises his life might depend on finding out what really happened all those years ago. This one kept me reading far into the night as I struggled to work out what the answer was- needless to say I didn't! A brilliant debut novel- can't wait to see what the next book is like! Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for letting me read & review this book.

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I have followed the hype for this novel via social media and I was very intrigued. The synopsis is rather vague, which I quite liked. It immediately draws your attention and you want to learn more. I thought this was going to be a standard crime fiction novel, but I was wrong. Not only was I wrong, but I was in for a real treat! The chalk man grips hold of you and won’t let go! I read the entire novel in one sitting, staying well up past my bed time and feeling increasingly freaked out at 2am. There are parts of the novel that reminded me of IT. The story of a bunch of childhood friends, into the modern day. The story that haunts them and the secrets of their shared past! The novel isn’t a horror novel and the chalk man isn’t pennywise. But it held this eerie feeling from 80 pages in and I couldn’t get the plot out of my head. There was NO way I was putting this novel down, until I had some answers. The novel opens with a dark prologue detailing the discovery of a body with a missing head! So, you are made well aware from the onset, that this novel has some very dark scenes. The novel has alternate chapters between 1986 and 2016. The 1986 era, is very well written. The terminology, the childhood games and friendship circle are all, spot on! The author has done a fantastic job of bringing the era alive. Then it begins to tell the story of our protagonist Eddie/Ed……. In 1986 Eddie aka Eddie Munster, had a gang of friends. Fat Gav, Hoppo, metal Mickey and the only girl Nicky. They meet every Saturday, to hang around the local park and build dens etc. This particular Saturday is special because the fair is in town and we all remember that feeling when the fair comes to town!!! There is a freak accident at the fair and this brings in the introduction of waltzer girl Elisa. Elisa is the victim of the accident that leaves her horrifically disfigured. It also introduces her saviour and the new mysterious teacher Mr Halloran. “They were wrong. Mr Halloran was many things, but normal was never one of them” – Eddie Mr Halloran is the gang’s new teacher, at the start of term in September. He is new to the town and noticeable, as Mr Halloran is an albino. But at the opening of the novel he is portrayed as the hero that saves Elisa’s life. But there is always a shadowy, mysterious element when he enters a scene. For me personally, he became a character that evoked feelings of mistrust and a slight dislike. Why is he so creepy? What is his fascination with befriending the children? I HAD to know more about Mr Halloran! In 2016, Eddie is now known as Ed, he is a 42yr old English teacher. Ed has stayed local and still lives in his childhood home in Anderbury. Slowly, over the course of the chapters we catch up with the rest of the gang and where they are now! The characterisation of the gang, is brilliant and an example of some very skilled writing. It brings back childhood memories. Even in the 2016 scenes, there is an element of mystery in the build-up. Ed starts receiving weird letters of chalk drawings. He has a young lodger Chloe, who intrudes herself into the story. He also has a dinner guest due, an old friend. *What went through my head was, ‘he is having an old friend for dinner’. There were some subtle hints and nods to famous scary scenes. That really added to the eerie feel of the novel. At this point in my reading, I had hit 1am. The whole house was asleep and as I crept downstairs to the bathroom. I managed to freak myself out, which resulted in a scream and nearly waking the whole house up! *So, a word to the wise, probably best to not read this in the dark at 1am! The novel continues to jump between 1986 and 2016. We learn more about the elusive chalk man. How he haunts the gang and ultimately why! Each chapter is cleverly written to drip feed information, that keeps you on the edge of your seat. There is a real depth to the novel, details added so that the author can build upon the growing guessing game within the readers mind! Mr Halloran appears every so often with his creepy one liners, which made me even more distrustful of his intentions. “Better to be a fool than an angel” Mr Halloran In the modern day, someone or something is haunting the gang. When adult Mickey ends up dead, the novel really picks up its pace. There are some disturbing scenes of bullying from the past and we learn this gang is as complex as it is fascinating! When the past and the present finally collide, it is a rollercoaster of an ending, that is in my opinion, completely unpredictable. Huge respect to the author on this amazing debut novel. I predict a bright future ahead of her and some sleepless nights ahead of me! 4.5*

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This book was recommended by a few other bloggers and friends so I was keen to read it. It was set in the eighties so I loved all the references to eighties things. The friendship within the gang was interesting to read and the author pitched it just right. I really enjoyed reading about the gangs adventures when they weren't finding dead bodies. I suspected the main character was hiding something from the beginning. The way the parts of the body were found was very well thought out. It was unusual in the way that despite being a thriller it moved quite slowly, but still kept the reader hooked.

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It's always great to have an opening that will instantly grab you and The Chalk Man is definitely one of these books. I really wasn't expecting the events at the start of this book at all and I loved that I ended up being surprised especially as I didn't know where the story would go next. Now after this brilliant start I did wonder if the story would dip a little and lose some of the tension but this was not the case. The plot moved smoothly and even though it wasn't necessarily always fast paced there was something about this story that completely wrapped me up in the characters lives and I was so invested in discovering the truth. I don't really want to go into too much detail regarding the plot but the story does alternate between two timelines - 1986 and 2016. I know that in some instances this can come across as confusing however in the case of The Chalk Man it just ends up complimenting the story so well. Looking back after finishing the book I couldn't make my mind up as to which time period I preferred and I think this is definitely down to the smooth transitions from one time to another. Secrets and truths are revealed slowly but surely in a way that made me not want to put this book down. I enjoyed each time period equally as I got to know the characters not only in 2016 but also their younger selves feeling like I was right there with them. I loved all of the twisty intense turns that this mystery took me on, the whole book easily grabbed hold of me and refused to let go. The Chalk Man is such an intriguing story and one that has plenty of shocks and surprises waiting to jump out of the pages at you. There was also a wonderful atmospheric and almost chilling aspect to the story that I loved. A wonderfully dark and compelling read! Five stars from me! With thanks to Jenny at Michael Joesph Books and Netgalley for my copy. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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The Chalk Man is one of those books. You know, you keep seeing them everywhere, everybody is raving about them, there's a lot of hype surrounding them. Mostly, that hype is well-deserved and The Chalk Man is firmly in that category. I absolutely loved it. The story is very much Eddie's. He's 12 in 1986 and 42 in 2016 and the story is told in alternate chapters set in each different time. Something about the 80s sections seemed so 80s-ish without it being signposted in a really obvious way. It's probably because I was almost the same age as Eddie and his friends in 1986 so it was easy to put myself there. 1986 is the year that one of his friends receives a load of chalk for his birthday and they start using it to leave each other messages. But the innocence of this soon gets lost amongst some sinister events that take place. In 2016, Eddie is looking back on past events, his memories jogged by the reappearance of an old friend. This is a perfectly plotted story. Going backwards and forwards between the two years provides the ideal device for cliffhangers, leaving me desperate to find out what happened next. The lives of the children come across so well, the long summers riding around on a bike, eating penny sweets, hanging out with friends. This book didn't exactly scare me, but it certainly invaded my dreams and I had some very odd night-time experiences. It has eerie bits, segments in the woods, the idea of being watched. The scary part about it is what the mind is capable of conjuring up. This is such a brilliantly written book, an addictive read. I loved it and can't wait to see what this debut author comes up with next.

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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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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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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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"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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Short version: It, without the demonic clown. Eddie Adams thinks his past is tightly locked up in his head. But as childhood friends and old memories start to come out of the woodwork, is it finally time to face up to the past? Because in 1986, five pre-teen friends have their idyllic summer holiday shattered first by a horrific accident, and then the discovery of a dead body. But the chalk stick figures – they were just a game. Who, then, has sent each of them a letter 30 years later, with just that single stick figure drawing? There was something in the description of this that called to me, despite the fact that I rarely read dark thrillers these days. But, oh, this spoke to the teenage me who adored Stephen King books – and it really is somewhere between Stand By Me (aka The Body) and It – although as I say, without those supernatural elements. They aren’t missed: this is a gripping enough mystery without bringing in anything other worldly. The chapters alternate between 1986 and 2016, and both strands follow Eddie as his life goes from perfect childhood to tinged with terror and darkness. It’s very well done: both plotlines are equally intriguing, adding to the other, so the flip back and forth never left me wishing for the other segment. I did prefer the earlier segments, though, as the mood that’s conjured is just brilliantly evocative of those 1980s childhood summers that some of us remember (albeit with less, y’know, dead things!), and some have grown to love from watching Stranger Things. I did think I’d guessed the ‘whodunnit’ early on, only for the whole thing to swerve in an unexpected direction – hurrah! Still, as the mysteries start to be unravelled at the end, there were just a few bits that seemed perhaps a little too coincidental. Otherwise, though, I gobbled this in just two days – it really was that gripping! Absolutely recommended.

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In 1986 Eddie and his friends Fat Gav, Hoppo, Metal Mickey and Nicky are growing up and doing all the things that 12 year olds usually do. But a day at the fair ends in a horrific accident, the first of a series of unpleasant events to befall the English town of Anderbury and its residents.. Even 30 years later in 2016 there are still many unanswered questions about the things that happened. This is a fantastic murder mystery with wonderful characters and I highly recommend it to everyone.

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Crime fans seeking something new and exciting, listen up: this is a riveting, intriguing novel which I absolutely loved! The Chalk Man has the right balance of creepiness (plenty of that at times!) and comedy (dark comedy, mind!) plus some great character development. I loved Ed, despite his flaws and/or strangeness at times, and though the people around Ed had their own problems, and weren't always that likable, they were very interesting so I still hugely enjoyed reading about them! Ed was a great narrator, leading the reader back in time (to the 80's - one of my favourite decades to immerse myself in) and then back around to present day, when I couldn't wait to find out what on earth was - and had been - happening!  The Chalk Man featured lots of subtle clues and hints (which I always love!), plus BIG twists and turns (also love!) and that ending... it left me reeling! I don't want to say much more on the plot as I don't want to give anything away or lead the reader to expect anything. I'll just say that the writing is excellent - I can't believe it's a debut novel, and to be honest I'm sort of upset that it is because I want MORE to read now by C.J. Tudor - please, release something new soon! The Chalk Man is a rollercoaster of mystery and surprise and a brilliant novel that I'd highly recommend. Read it now!

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Ok, so this review could be very, very short. Basically, all that I will say in it can be summed up in these few words 'It is bloody brilliant and you should read it.'  If you'd like to know a little bit more about the book then keep reading, no spoilers obviously, but if not then you get the gist and that is all that you need to know.  I'd heard a lot about The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor and was desperate to read it, I just couldn't wait until publication day so I totally abused my position as a book blogger and begged the publisher to let me read it earlier. Luckily for me, they were very obliging. I was so excited when it landed on my Kindle that I started to read it straight away and once I started I struggled to stop. It was just so so good I couldn't put it down! Forget the washing/cleaning/cooking/shopping/kids/pets/work/tv/sleep/anything, it won't get done until you finish reading this book. I'm a slow reader and I read it in two days, sleep didn't matter, I just had to keep reading.  That this book is a debut is incredibly impressive, the writing is solid and the plot is twisted and well written, the characters are believable and realistic. It's pretty much as close to a perfect book as you can get.

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I enjoyed this story which twists and turns and leaps back and forth in time. The writer ensures we can stay on board by starting each chapter with a reminder of the year (up to 2016) and keeping the story close to home, set mostly in one English town. The one constant throughout is that we never leave the point of view of Eddie, from being a boy of 12 through to being a troubled man thirty years later. The plot gives many opportunities for thriller readers to suspect, to guess and to leap to conclusions. But there will always be some niggling doubt, some element which doesn't quite fit or an unexplained gap. We know what Eddie knows but he doesn't always know what he knows. And there are secrets to be uncovered. This story is mainly about friendships and there are many to be explored. I felt sympathy for most of the characters and we see them again and again at different ages. It's always fascinating to see the influences on children affecting them as adults and this novel is a carefully crafted 'coming of age' story. Of course adults change too over thirty years and Eddie is very sensitive to indications of deterioration, giving a poignant counterpart to the maturing youngsters. I definitely recommend this novel to lovers of psychological thrillers and I'm sure you'll enjoy the crawling sense of horror and mystery. But there is more to it than that; it is beautifully written and has some moments of emotional clarity which, on rereading, are somehow merely hints, combinations of words which tease out forgotten personal memories. A neat trick or the magic of a poet?

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It's incredibly hard to believe that The Chalk Man is a debut novel. The writing is so effortless, and the words seem to reach out and speak to you - I could of quoted so many passages from the book (but I would be here forever!). The book is told in a dual timeline that is perfectly weaved together and very easy to follow. We go from 1986 when Eddie is 12 years old, and in 2016 when he is middle aged. Eddie and his group of friends; Fat Gav, Metal Mickey, Hoppo and Nicky are living a fun, carefree life in the school holidays like 12 year olds do. That is until a fair ground accident takes place, injuring and disfiguring one young girl. It's also the night when Eddie first encounters The Chalk Man. When one of the group gets an odd present of chalk for his birthday present, Eddie gets a spark of an idea in his head after talking to The Chalk man - they start using the chalk to leave each other messages and symbols. Each friend has a different colour so they know who has left it for them. It's all fun at first, until one day they find chalk arrows leading them to the discovery of a body. Eddie in 2016 is now a school teacher, he still lives in the same place he grew up, in the same house, with the same childhood friends - but his memories keep resurfacing from that summer.... I have to say that I thought I had a pretty strong idea of what this book would be like, where the story would go - but I could not of been more wrong, and I love being proved wrong in a book, as you know it's something special! It was a whole goodness of a surprise. It's hard in a book to make separate adult and child voices for the same person, that ring true and are believable. I have to give full credit to the author for making both Eddie's voices 100% convincing. I also massively loved the whole nostalgia going on in this book. The chapters in 1986 were set to perfection; making it feel you were actually back in that time - the way the kids spoke, how they hung around on their bikes just exploring (as it was safe in those days and there were no such things as X boxes etc..) references to good old Woolworths, hubba bubba, wham bars, even a famous tennis saying. If you spent your childhood in the 80's and 90's you'll just smile at these little things, get a good little trip down memory lane and realise how well thought out this book is. Yes, The Chalk Man is a fresh, quirky, nostalgic, murder mystery, but it also focuses a lot on growing up, childhood friendships, life through a child's eye - how they see things and understand things. It's a book of consequences and what if's. There are also a host of tougher subjects blended in; alzheimers, rape, suicide, bullying and abortion. I wouldn't say this is a fast paced book but, it doesn't need to be - the writing, and all the twists, turns and secrets will have you completely engrossed - with an ending that is oh so satisfying! The Chalk Man is so much more than you'd expect, and is going to be pretty blooming huge in 2018!!

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This is one of those books that keeps you up all night, you do not want to put it down! So much mystery and intrigue, so many things to keep you hooked. If you have not bought and read this book yet I highly recommend it!

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Eddie was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Standing near the fairground hot-dog stall, across from the Waltzers, a twelve-year-old not ready to become a hero. But fate flung itself into his life, pulling him into a swirl of events, the ramifications of which haunt Eddie for the next three decades. So starts C.J. Tudor's excellent debut novel. Set in the small town of Anderbury, the story contrasts coming-of-age angst with the sinister local underbelly of colliding ideologies, perversion, and murder. It's a story that encompasses the fickleness of friendships and family, of misplaced love, and, above all, of the destiny that awaits, be it kind or cruel. Eddie is on the cusp of becoming a teenager, and spends his time with his gang of mates. Their adolescent innocence of creating a code of chalk pavement drawings seems like a neat idea. It allows them to send secret messages to each other. But when the same chalk men drawings presage a horrific attack and the uncovering of dismembered bodies, the fragility of Eddie's naivety is dealt a blow that follows him into adulthood. Told over the dual time-lines of 1986 and 2016, the narrative is intricately crafted. The pace never slackening. The young Eddie's main interests are being cool, the somewhat mysterious Mr Halloran — who has arrived from out of town to teach at Eddie's school — and Nicky, the girl who tags along with him and his friends. Thirty years later and Eddie still lives in Anderbury. He is a bachelor and inwardly ill at ease with himself — and he holds a crush for Chloe, his much younger female lodger. The townsfolk appear to have forgotten and moved on from the upheaval of the past, but Eddie hasn't. As the plot unfolds, we learn that Eddie isn't the only person preoccupied with the past. The chalk man drawings materialise again, scrawled on paper and sent out to the former childhood friends. Are these fresh chalk man drawings an intentional harbinger of another suspicious death? This is a story crammed full of surprise and suspense — and a nagging sense of disquiet. The current-day Eddie feels that life has left too many enigmatic loose ends unresolved, and an unexpected visit from one of his boyhood friends prompts Eddie to search for a satisfactory conclusion to the uncomfortable memories he carries. Will he be able to fasten off those loose ends from the present? And if he can, will he be able to cope with the truth of the role he played in Anderbury's murky bygone years? Wading further into the lapping of the fast-approaching tide of mystery, each chapter will beckon you deeper in, and once you become immersed there is no natural break. You'll always suspect that a dark secret lies just beneath the surface of the current page. And you'll be correct. Like warm blood dripping from the tip of a sharp blade, the narrative will fascinate and horrify, keeping you within its grasp. It will invariably leave you wondering what is around the next corner... or concealed by a pile of fallen leaves amid the trees in the woods... or hidden in a box under loose floorboards... This is a novel that spins more violently than a fairground waltzer. The ride is exhilarating and highly recommended. Read it.

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4.5 rounded up to 5 .. what a debut novel this is . Slow simmering suspense with a totally wow ending I loved this book !! Definitely one look out for in 2018 . Thanks to netgalley and the publishers and also the the author for my chance to read this . I look forward to reading more

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After reading just the first few paragraphs, I was hooked straight away on this book and on the clever writing which instantly created so many questions in my mind, that I knew I wouldn't be able to put The Chalk Man down any time soon. The book was packed with tension and every single paragraph made me want to read on. The narrative was split into past and present which added to the haunting sense of foreboding created by the little hints and breadcrumbs of information that were dropped in along the way to give a small taste of what had happened in 1986. I often found myself suddenly realising the significance of earlier things which seemed unimportant when I first read them, and I really appreciated this level of detail. I particularly enjoyed the build up to finding out the 'why' and even though I had guessed the 'who', I was so riveted by the story, that it didn't detract from my enjoyment in the slightest. I stayed up way too late finishing this because I simply couldn't stop reading! The twists and shocks continued until the very end, even after everything seemed to be over. I found myself gasping constantly and at times it got so tense I almost forgot to breathe! Overall, I'm giving The Chalk Man 4.5 out of 5. It was haunting, dark and hypnotising. A really fantastic debut from C. J. Tudor.

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Intriguing from start to finish. ‘The Chalk Man’ is a fast paced chilling story which had me wanting to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next. The writings style is nice and the plot well build. I’d like to read more from this author.

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If the battery hadn't gone in my kindle I would've read this book in one sitting, I enjoyed it that much. It's such a  page turner, full of so many twists your head will spin.  The book flips between present day and 1986 with both parts being told from the perspective of Eddie. Whilst the main plot focuses around the murder of a young girl in the 80's there are several subplots that need solving. Each of these at first seem easy to work out but life is never that simple and this is where lots of the twists come into it. The main driver throughout the book is that we shouldn't assume anything.  I loved unwrapping all these layers. I've said in other reviews I'm a big fan of diary/letter style and the flip flopping between timelines works really well for me.  The final (spoiler free) twist comes right at the end and whilst I didn't work it out beforehand it's one where you sort of should've guessed it. I'm glad I didn't because then I wouldn't have had a final 'ooh' moment. It does make you question the narrators reliability for everything else though when you know the full story. I really enjoyed it and glad to give it my first 5 star review of 2018. A really impressive debut.

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Absolutely loved this book. I could not put it down as I was constantly racing ahead to see what happened next. There were some fabulous plot twists and the suspense was incredible. I can't wait to see this made into a film as I think it would transfer very well.

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The Chalk Man is such an interesting book! I anticipated a creepy if somewhat standard crime novel, but The Chalk Man is far more than that. It certainly is creepy, with remarkable moments of spine-tingling eeriness, but also layers of character depth and themes of friendship, growing-up, secrets, secrets, always secrets. I was expecting more thriller & less humdrum humanity, so pleased I was wrong! It’s humdrum with the sharpness of tacks, puncturing nostalgia! Fascinating and compulsive reading.

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I read this book in a few hours, I was hooked from page 1. This story has intrigue, betrayal, murder, friendship, families and much more. I loved the way this was written in the present and the past. I found I was so engrossed reading, I jumped when the telephone rang, my family had to call me more than once for my attention and the doorbell caused me many palpitations. Childhood gives us all many experiences and memories, the main characters in this felt so real, it was interesting to see how they had grown up too. I could tell you about the plot of this book, but you will have read that, this is going to be a favourite for 2018, add it to your list. Five stars from me, thoroughly enjoyable.

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A remarkable book that is gripping and enjoyable in equal measure. A delight to read, it speaks with the voice of a 12 year old boy and his older self some 30 years later. A story of the last days of youth, one last great hurrah for a gang of friends on the cusp of becoming teenagers whose long summer holidays would never be the same again. Into that mix of hormones and the advent of puberty the group of mates are confronted with accidents and death. The story flows seamlessly between 1986 and 2016 and is narrated by Eddie one of the gang who has never left the community or his family home, taking in lodgers and teaching at his old school. The days when school holidays were long and kids rode round on their bikes making dens in the woods and finding secret codes to mark them out as special. It resonants with anyone who has played in the local grove or on a recreation ground. The idea of the travelling fair, bright lights, strangers in town scary rides and smells of hot dog onions. Reading these sections I was transported many years and could feel the cling of candy floss on my face and hear the crunch of a toffee apple. The key to these days of our youth is often our lack of interruption or conflict; fewer worries and simple friendships. A darker notion is introduced by the author by the ability to look back, see cause and effect and with adult eyes realise that all wasn’t as it once appeared. We sense Eddie is faithfully recounting the past but still has secrets, has a desire to understand more but reluctant to share everything for fear of being judged. At the time he was perhaps well meaning but adults and the police would not appreciate his involvement or tendency to collect things. So the truth of Eddie’s engrossing story remains a mystery as more twists and outcomes are revealed in his present. We sense he is perhaps with his group of friends more like participants than observers and perhaps their own use of chalk leaves them even thirty years later in danger from The Chalk Man. Reality is turned on it’s head as a once idyllic past is threatened by one of the gang returning to his community seeking Ed’s help to research a book to finally reveal the ultimate truth of those events in 1986. I loved the premise of the book, the many chords it strikes with growing up and how some kids never change while others can move on. It is scary and dark in places beautifully balanced between reveal and facts still unclear. It is a story that engages you as it is filled with characters you identify with and want to learn more about. It never chooses a common path in its expansion as a story the innovation of plot and denouncement hold the reader’s attention to the end. All is tied up and the wonderful author still has time to throw a hand grenade into the text at the end. A literary tour de force and one of my best reads of 2017 which is likely to please and thrill many into 2018. A book not just to marvel at its reviews but to read for yourself and remember ones own youth.

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Wow, where do you start to describe this book without giving too much away, I loved it, I thought it was so original and very different to anything I have read recently. I liked the contrast between the past and the present and found myself totally captivated by the stories in both times .I also found the narrator to be interesting he certainly had some quirks and was an unlikely hero but he was likable.I am trying desperately not to say too much and I certainly don't want to spoil it for other readers, I will say that there are some rather nasty graphic scenes, but not too many and they are integral to the book.I did actually question what genre the book was at times I thought it crossed the line into horror which made it all the more interesting and kept me on my toes.I read this book as fast as I could because I couldn't put it down , not literally but I kept thinking about it when I wasn't reading it and wanting to pick it up again .I raved about it so much that my partner is just about to start reading it and has bumped it up their reading list to do this, I don't think they or any other reader will be disappointed.I thought it was terrific and can't recommend it enough.Thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for an ARC.

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It's 1986 and Eddie and his group of friends (Hoppo, Fat Gav, Metal Mickey and Nicky) are doing the sort of things that all 12-year-olds do, riding their bikes, hanging around in playgrounds, writing secret messages using chalks... Things change forever when, after following a trail of drawings depicting chalk men, they find a dismembered body in the woods. Fast forward thirty years and the murder is still fresh in the minds of all those involved. Still living at the house he shared with his parents, Eddie is drawn back in when a face from the past reappears and he starts noticing the chalk men once again. Not quite sure whether to believe what he is seeing, another death spurs him into trying to discover exactly what happened all those years ago. There has been so much online buzz about this book and it even got a mention in a recent talk by the Fun Lovin' Crime Writers so I thought it was about time I saw for myself what all the fuss was about. Am I so glad I did! The book grabbed me from the very first page and I found it very difficult to put down. I particularly liked the chapters set in 1986 as it evoked numerous childhood memories. I am thankful that my childhood was much less eventful than the children in this story however! The Chalk Man is told from the perspective of Eddie and we get to see how events in 1986 have shaped both his future and that of all those involved. That year is certainly a memorable one for the children as, in addition to them finding the body, there is a fairground accident, a pro-life campaign and a serious assault to deal with. Perhaps, though, one of the most shocking parts of the book for me was the incident between Eddie and Sean, Metal Mickey's brother. It is hard to say too much without revealing any spoilers but my heart really went out to Eddie for what he went through both during the event and also afterwards. One of the things I enjoyed most about the book is how so many seemingly separate events all link together. This made for a very tight, well-written plot with no loose ends. I did fear that one thing had been overlooked but the closing scenes certainly put paid to that idea! Last year, social media was awash with the hashtag #WTFThatEnding with regards to the book Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough. The same hashtag could certainly apply here as I actually gasped when I realised how it was going to end! Even though it was a shock, however, it was completely true to what we'd come to know about Eddie and made perfect sense. Even at this early stage, The Chalk Man promises to be one of the big hits of 2018 and I would not be surprised if a television or film company picks it up. As I was reading, I was reminded on several occasions of The Five, a Sky TV Drama created by Harlan Coben, and thought it amusing that he was actually name checked in the book! It is hard to believe that this is the author's debut novel and I can't wait to see what she writes next. With thanks to Penguin UK - Michael Joseph and Net Galley for my ARC.

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I don’t want to give away anything about the plot of this book as it’s best to go in blind, but I would highly recommend this to everyone. The book is split between the 80s when the characters are young and present day. The scenes from the 80s are brilliantly written and takes you right back there. The characters are fascinating and complex, even the minor ones. Very few mystery novels actually turn out to be mysteries, but this one more than delivers. There are many twists and turns I didn’t see coming at all! A phenomenal debut from C.J. Tudor I will DEFINITELY be on the lookout for more of their work. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a copy of this book.

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This is an exceptionally well plotted thriller based around a couple of simple ideas, neither which I am going to mention further as I believe awareness of them will mar your enjoyment of the story. Needless to say, it is very, very clever and also got me thinking further afield once I had finished the book. Honestly, this will make sense once you've read it. One thing I will say is that there is so much going on in the book but nothing is unnecessarily added. This is definitely a book that is bigger than the sum of its parts and, parts it definitely has many of. So we first meet Ed (Eddie) in 2016 when he starts to reminisce about his childhood and where it all began. We follow him in his friends in flashback starting from 1986. Eddie, Gav, Mickey, Hoppo and token girl Nicky are close friends. A gang even, in the old sense of the word where the worst that would happen is a bit of shoplifting and a bit of damage when building dens. Well, at least initially anyway! They have a secret code of chalk men and, one day, following them leads them to a grisly discovery. There's a whole lot that also goes on before, during and after that incident, but this is the pivotal moment that basically defines the rest of Ed's life. Back in the present, Ed thinks he has left his past behind him, working as a teacher and living, with a lodger, in his childhood home. One day though, a letter brings it all back and he realises that he hasn't quite faced all he needs to face to lay it to rest. Something that he now needs to address, and that means opening up old wounds. The childhood friends are brought together once again to exorcise the ghosts of their pasts. This book is so much more than I can ever do justice to in a review. There is so much I want to say about it but can't for fear of spoilers. As I approached the end with all my theories and predictions, I was put firmly in my place when the truth eventually came out. And, what a truth it was. As I turned the final page, I just sat there, jaw open, quite shocked, but very satisfied. To be honest, I wanted to re-read the whole thing with the hindsight I now had just to see what difference it'd make. And I very seldom re-read books! I then went to check out the author's back catalogue and was surprised and indeed a bit disappointed when I found it empty. This is a debut book, WOW! One of the things I really loved about the book was the wonderful trip down memory lane back to the 80s. Being a child of that era, I drank in all the wonderful memory links this book gave me, often reading with a big smile on my face when I connected with one more blast from my past. Just silly little simple things mostly, like Woollie's Pick n Mix, but they're often the best! The way that Ed narrates the book really made me feel a part of the story. Like an actual observer rather than just a reader after the fact. He sucked me in right from the start, after the intriguing enough prologue obviously, and held me captive throughout. The shortish, punchy chapters helped, especially as they often ended on a cliffhanger meant that I was pretty powerless in my attempts to put the book down, apart from when I really had to and then I was a bit grumpy until I could pick it up again. There were so many times where the author either hinted at something or just didn't quite give all the explanation straight up, making me be patient and wait for it all to come out later. That would normally annoy me as I don't need tricks like that to keep me reading if the story is good enough but in this case, it was totally justified, especially as I progressed towards the end. It was more of a tool than a trick and completely in keeping with the story being told. I don't like comparing authors but I was constantly reminded of Stephen King as I was reading this book. Some parallels are more obvious than others, but I'm really talking about the atmosphere and creepiness of the whole thing; the way the author got into my head, it's hard to explain in words. Characterisation was, quite simply, brilliant. I totally believed in the kids in the 80s; what they did, what they said, how they interacted with each other and the adults. Similarly, in the present day, I felt that the characters that were repeated had grown up and developed congruently with what had gone before. I am not usually a very visual reader but I could actually visualise the characters playing their parts, often quite clearly. I think the film option for this book will not be long in being snapped up! Anyway, I could bang on about this book for ever, it's THAT good, but my ever growing TBR beckons. My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.

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One of my favourite books I have read in a long time. It was fast paced, with an excellent story, beautifully drawn, believable characters and I couldn't put it down. This is definitely one of the books of the year and I will buy this for myself and friends.. Brilliant - and highly recommended. Can I add some more stars please???

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As Debuts go they don't get as good as this one,tense,edgy,keeps you guessing all the way through,Deep and well thought out characters,Can't wait for further instalments,Superb book one of the best I've read this year which is a high accolade as I've been reading the greats,Chris Carter,J A Kerley and Rachel Caine,Five stars is a good way to introduce yourself

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Wow - what a fabulously well written book! I can't believe this is a debut novel, it's so slick and accomplished, with a way with words which makes the story slide through your mind like treacle. Move over Stephen King, there's a new kid on the block, she's English and I love her mind. Being a child of the 80's shows in her writing. Gliding effortlessly back and forth in time spanning an era of 30 years we follow the life of Eddie and his little gang of mates, fat Gav, Metal Mickey, Hoppo and Nicky when they are young adolescents and in the present time when Ed has grown into a solitary 43 year old who has been shaped by events this fateful year when he was a 13 year old. That summer of 1986 there is a lot going on, there is a terrible accident, a dismembered body, a new teacher, friendship, bullying, parents behaving unpredictably, as parents often do, and a game the lads play with a bucket of coloured chalks sending messages via chalk men to each other which is at the very heart of the terrifying tale which is The Chalk Man. Between the fun of the fair, cycle rides through the woods and games at the playground a chilling darkness spreads its talons and scary things, that will make your skin crawl, occur. It's wonderfully terrifying, achingly nostalgic and a thoroughly, jaw-droppingly good, read, peppered with tricksy twists to make you gasp. I had a reading slump in the latter part of 2017 but this (and the wonderful Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon) have completely renewed my faith in my ability to be totally absorbed in a book, in fact, although a very different kind of story, Chalk man reminded me a lot of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by the same Joanna Cannon, both involving kids growing up in a 1980s they made me remember growing up in, even though I was fully grown by then! I finished the Chalk man last night and I'm still reeling with awe and admiration. If you want something to send shivers up your spine - read it! It's dark, relentless, scary and nostalgic.

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The Chalk Man – C.J. Tudor In The Chalk Man, we follow Ediie and his friends during two points in his life. His past and during the now. In 1986, Eddie and his friends are on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy little English Village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get, as every little kid does. The chalk man are their secret code; little chalk stick figures they leave for each other as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing will ever be 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 his other friends got the same messages, 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… First of all, I want to thank Penguin or granting me a review copy! I got so excited when I saw that I could read and review this book! So yeah, this book is actually on my anticipated reads 2018 list. Which means I’m very hyped about this book! Which also means, that most of the time, those books disappoint me. So, did this book ended up being a huge disappointment? I loved that we had a story that was both relevant in the past and in the now. That tells you the importance of the stuff that has happened in the past, and how you need to pay attention to everything that happened when Eddie was a child, and when he is a grown-up. The book kept me in the dark with everything until the last page, which is so amazing! Things were so mysterious and it kept me craving for more, even after the book ended! The whole book was such a mind blowing thing! It left me on the edge my seat with my mouth wide open in disbelieve! And I am so serious about it keeping me on the edge on my seat, I literally finished the book in less than 24 hours. Because I couldn’t stop reading! It was practically impossible to stop reading! The book was so freaking addictive! I’ve read that this book probably will be the next global thriller sensation. But I can leave the ‘probably’ out. This book is so freaking amazing! I cannot wait to get my hands on a physical copy and re-read it with the knowledge I’ve gained! This book is so amazing, and I so recommend you this book! If you’re in to thrillers, it is a crime to not read this book! I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars!

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A wonderful, creepy, haunting storyline. It’s what the characters don’t say that’s scary. Had to stay up all night to finish it.

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Im kinda sad. I havent been this sad in a while after finishing a book. You know why? Becasue the book was just so friggin good and enjoyable I didnt want it to end! Its hard to give a synopsis of the story without giving away some spoilers but here goes. (spoiler free) The story is based around a group of 5 friends, told from their childhood in 1986 and present day as adults. Our main protagonist and narrator of the book is Eddie and we also have Fat Gav, Hoppo, Metal Mickey and Nicky. They leave secret messages for themselves with drawings of chalk men. Only they can understand who left the message and what they mean. But when they find a mysterious chalk man image and it leads them to the dismembered body of a girl in the woods. Back to present day and Eddie thinks he has left it all behind him until he receives a chalk man in the post. He soon finds out that his other friends have also received one and when one of them turns up dead he realises that he needs to figure out what really happened all those years ago if he is to save himself and his friends. Now that just skirts the surface of this fantastic novel. You will have to read it to find out the whole story and enjoy the time with these five characters and numerous other fantastically vivid and memorable ones - the Vicar and Mr Halloran to name two. They are already etched in my brain. The story is set in the town of Anderbury in England but for some reason I spent most of my time picturing this story somewhere in the US. Maybe because it reminded me a lot of The Body by Stephen King with a touch of The Goonies thrown in. Hell even the vicar felt like a US preacher and Mr Halloran also felt like he belonged in a strange novel set in a small US town. I cant begin to tell you how much I loved this book. It was just immensely readable. The story itself is really good but its more how it is told here that is the real beauty of this book. Yes, there is a mystery to it but thats not really the point of this book, or more to the point, the real enjoyment of this book. The beauty of this is in the writing, the characterisation etc. You are put into an immersive world with fantastically vivid characters popping out of the pages. I cant remember the last time I was so invested in a book and so totally immersed. I tried to slow down towards the end as I didnt want it to come to an end. it is hard to believe that this is a debut novel. There is such an assuredness about the authors writing. You feel like your hand is held from the start and you are brought on the journey with the characters through the magic of the authors words as she steers you safely through the many crazy happenings and characters in Anderbury. If you havent guessed already from my somewhat babbling and incoherent review, I adored this book. It is among and quite possibly my favourite read of the year. Do yourself a favour and get your hands on a copy. id be astonished if you dont find it anything short of brilliant. Many thanks to NetGalley, Penguin UK and C.J. Tudor for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Thanks to NetGalley and to Penguin UK for offering me an ARC copy of this novel that I freely chose to review. This story, told in two different time frames by Eddie Adams (known as Eddie Munster as a child, because all the friends had nicknames and somehow the Munsters and the Adams became conflated into one…), has all the elements fans of mysteries and thrillers love. Strange characters, plenty of secrets, red herrings and false clues, lies, many suspects, a slightly odd setting, bizarre murders, strange relationships… A murder involving bizarre circumstances (a chopped-up body with a missing head, strange chalk drawings…) took place in a small and picturesque UK city (it sounds small enough to be a town, but as it has a cathedral, it is a city) in 1986 (although there were other strange things that happened at the time too, coincidental or not), and became known as the Chalk-Man murder. Thirty years later someone starts asking questions and stirring things up. Eddie narrates, in the first-person, the events, including his memories of what happened when he was a teenager and also telling us what is happening now. Those of you who read my blog know I have a thing for unreliable narrators, and, well, Eddie is a pretty good one. He is an English high school teacher and seems fairly reliable and factual in his account, and he does a great job of making us feel the emotions and showing us (rather than telling us) the events; although slowly he starts revealing things about himself that make him less standard and boring, and slightly more intriguing. Eddie does not have all the information (it seems that the friends kept plenty of things from each other as children), and sometimes he is unreliable because of the effect of alcohol, and possibly his mental state (his father suffered early dementia and he is concerned that he might be going down the same path). But there are other things at play, although we don’t fully get to know them until the very end. The story reminded me of Stephen King’s It, most of all because of the two time-frames and of the story of the children’s friendship, although the horror element is not quite as strong (but there are possible ghosts and other mysterious things at play), and the friends and their friendship is more suspect and less open. In some ways, the depiction of the friend’s relationship, and how it changes over time, is more realistic. Of course, here the story is told from Eddie’s point of view, and we share in his likes and dislikes, that are strongly coloured by the events and his personal opinions. The main characters are realistically portrayed (both from a child’s perspective and later from an adult one), complex, and none of them are totally good, or 100% likeable, but they are sympathetic and not intentionally bad or mean (apart from a couple of secondary characters but then… there is a murderer at work). Morality is ambiguous at best, and people do questionable things for reasons that seem fully justified to them at the time, or act without thinking of the consequences with tragic results. I am not sure I felt personally engaged with any of the characters (perhaps because of Eddie’s own doubts), but I liked the dubious nature of the narration, and the fact that there were so many unknowns, so many gaps, and that we follow the process of discovery up-close, although there are things the main character knows that are only revealed very late in the game (although some he seems to have buried and tried hard to forget). The parents, and secondary characters, even when only briefly mentioned, serve the purpose well, add a layer of complexity to the story and are consistent throughout the narration. The mystery had me engaged, and the pieces fit all together well, even when some of them are not truly part of the puzzle. I can’t say I guessed what had happened, although I was suspicious of everyone and, let’s say I had good reason to be. I liked the ending, not only the resolution of the mystery but what happens to Eddie. If you read it, you’ll know what I mean. The writing is fluid, it gives the narrator a credible voice, it gets the reader under the character’s skin, and it creates a great sense of place and an eerie atmosphere that will keep readers on alert. The story deals with serious subjects, including child abuse, bullying (and sexual abuse), dementia, and although it is not the most graphically violent story I have read, it does contain vivid descriptions of bodies and crime scenes, and it definitely not a cozy mystery and not for the squeamish reader. A great new writer, with a very strong voice and great ability to write psychological thrillers, and one I hope to read many more novels by.

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Another stunning cover design to grab readers' attention during the busy new year period. It is no accident that the story within the covers is as strong. The writing is brilliant with realistic characters throughout and a totally believable storyline. Having been a teenager myself in the 1980s when this story begins, and having been the only girl in a friendship group of school children I could imagine being one of the characters in the story. We have all done things in our childhood like drawing chalk man designs for passing on messages (there were no mobile phones in the mid eighties, remember!) and the summer holidays were often spent cycling around looking for where the rest of your mates were hanging out - usually signified by a pile of pushbikes outside someone's house. And of course a group of kids with active imaginations always come up with stories about anyone who looks even the slightest bit different to the norm such as Mr Halloran in the book. The way the author has linked tragic events that happened in 1986 to people and happenings thirty years later is absolutely ingenious. The older version of every character was spot on, with health issues affecting some of the older generation being presented with compassion and understanding. The emotions felt by each of the youngsters and their understanding of certain situations is written in terms that a child of that age would use. I love the way that in the later years of the book the adult characters express feelings of insecurity that we all feel - that we aren't ever really "grown up" at all. As with a lot of books in this genre, most of the characters have been harbouring secrets for many years and when some of the revelations are made it makes others in the friendship group completely reassess what they have always thought were the facts. New information gets exposed in jaw dropping fashion but some secrets are never told, not even to your best mate. I found this book extremely readable, well paced and will definitely be recommending it strongly as a top read for January. This review will feature on my review page at www.sandiesbookshelves.blogspot.co.uk

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Wow!! There are far more expletives I could use to describe how much I loved this book but let's just say it has become one of the best books that I have read this year (and I read a LOT). As a reader my first love was horror and this book encapsulates a lot of this genre even though it is classed as a thriller. A gruesome murder (or two...), mysterious chalk men drawn at crime scenes and the walking, talking dead appearing in your dreams - what's not to love! I raced through this book in a few hours and risked travel sickness reading on the bus as I could not put it down. Dark, gruesome and packed full of that creeping horror feeling that will give you goosebumps. Highly recommend you bang this on your TBR for January. I will be buying multiple copies to spread the book love (hysteria)!

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I’d heard great things about The Chalk Man so I began reading it with eager anticipation. I have to say it definitely lived up to the hype. I was drawn in from the first chapter and hooked until the very end. This book is C J Tudor’s debut novel and I’m overwhelmed at how brilliantly this story is out together. It’s a tense psychological thriller with twists and turns galore that keep you guessing to the very end. A fantastic read that I can highly recommend. Thank you to NetGalley, Penguin UK Michael Joseph and the author for the chance to review.

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This was a creepy story but really fascinating reading. Some amazing characters and lots of red herrings. The conclusion was almost a surprise but the build up to it totally absorbing. Great read..

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Just a few pages of the story and I knew that this will be one of the books that I call a “Getting to work late” book. Impossible to put down, well written and a story that grabs you and doesn’t let go until the end. I love a good book with twists and turns. I’m a C.J.Tudor fan now and I hope there will be many more books. Fatima Breakaway Reviewers received a copy of the book to review

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This book is one of the best debut novels I have read!! It could quite easily give you nightmares! Written in two time zones,1986 and 2016, the story revolves around the adventures of four children, Eddie,who is the narrator,Fat Gav,Hoppo and Nicky, the tomboy, who enjoy their long summer holidays riding bikes and getting into mischief. They start leaving secret messages to each other in chalk,each person has a different colour. One day, a chalk figure leads them to a dismembered body in the woods and their lives change forever. This book is in places so wholesome and reminiscent of happy childhood days ( 1986) carefree and fun,then adult life intrudes with murders,and ghosts,that hark back to childhood wrongdoing and wrongs have to be avenged. So many secrets and incidents are revealed and discovered, it is a marvellous read. I loved the chalk figures and the way they lead to bodies,very scary harbingers of doom! They reminded me of the dancing men in the Sherlock Holmes book. There were plenty of false trails to follow and the whole atmosphere was at times very creepy. In conclusion, this is a fabulous read, being dark,chilling and very engrossing. I will definitely be recommending this to family and friends!! I have left a copy of this review on Goodreads today.

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I received a free ecopy of this book in return for an honest review. Many thanks to Netgalley and and the publisher for the opportunity. This book is an easy read you can slide into without effort but is also a terrific, mystery. along the way it also takes a philosophical look at youth, old age and memory loss, innocence and guilt. After opening with a strangely picturesque, description of a dismembered body, we move on to lead character Eddie ‘Munster’ Adams. The story flips between 1986 and 2016, so Eddie alternates between being a confused overthinking 12 year old and a disheveled and somewhat lonely 42 year old. In 1986, Eddie and his friends draw chalk men to send each other messages, but then Eddie begins to have nightmares that are portents of terrible events. In the morning there are chalk men on the ground. In 2016 the details of an old murder are stirred up by Eddie’s one time friend. Eddie tries puts the pieces together whilst agonising over his own part in them. The 80s nostalgia and the supernatural aspects made this the perfect follow-on from watching Stranger Things season 2, though in truth the supernatural element is a small part of the story. This book is so much more than that though. In 1986 Eddie and friends display naivety confronted by the horrors of real life, but in 2016 the same characters are coping with aged parents who have dementia and the disappointments that being a grown-up with unfulfilled potential brings. The pièce de resistance however comes right at the end when, having had the mystery solved for them, the reader is ready to pack up and move on, but is suddenly hit with a series of punches that leaves you reeling. Like some of the best endings, you can see where the characters are headed but are left to play out those extra scenes in your head. If you like a good murder mystery you will enjoy this book. If you like philosophical look at life growing up in the 80s you will enjoy this book. If you like a book with a supernatural edge you will like this book, but if you like a book with all of these things, grab this book with both hands.

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Without doubt, The Chalk Man is the best book that I’ve read this year! I love stories with that small town feeling, where all the characters have a satisfying depth to them and where each one of them is a suspect. Whilst the Chalk Man is your classic murder mystery, it also has bits of horror and supernatural thrown in to catch you off guard. I’ve seen some reviews liken it to Stephen King’s ‘The Body’ (‘Stand By Me’ as the movie) and I totally get that impression too. This is one of those books that you really don’t want to put down, and I look forward to reading more from the author. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s snapped-up by a movie company, and I really hope that it is.

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I really enjoyed this book. It was well written and the plot just had you turning those pages, wondering when the next twist was going to arrive! The mystery is unravels wonderfully......What really happened and who did it? The surprises keep coming right up to the last page.This is a book that I would have no hesitation in recommending and a great debut novel. Keep them coming! Many thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this ARC.

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Wowzers this book wasn’t good it was flipping amazing . It’s been a while since a book has totally sucked me in like this one did. A fantastic suspense thriller with brilliant characters and a super story line . The book alternates between two time frames 1986 and 2016. It’s not confusing and the author has written which I think will be one of the top suspense thrillers of 2018.

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I was attracted to this book because of the unusual cover, and I am so pleased I downloaded it because it's absolutely brilliant! One of the best books I've read this year! The Chalk Man has a dual timeline, with chapters alternating between the 1980s and the present day. In the 1980s, teenager Eddie and his friends leave messages for each other in coloured chalk outside each other's houses. Simple messages, such as where to meet up and whether to hurry. But then the messages start appearing on their own, in white chalk, leading to the body of a murdered girl. In the present day, Eddie is surprised when one of his old friends turns up asking for help with a book he is writing, a book about the killer nicknamed 'The Chalk Man', and his theory that the real murderer was never caught. And then his friend disappears. And the chalk figures begin appearing again... This book is simply outstanding. I was so gripped I read it in two days flat. The characters are so realistic, so believable, it feels as if they're in the same room, looking over your shoulder as you read. I loved Eddie's dry humour, the nod towards my favourite 80s horror movies, the fiendish little twists, the freshness of the plot, the poignancy of a doomed love affair... And that very final, very clever twist, the one that's easy to miss because you think it's all over, which took me completely by surprise - and that's pretty hard to do! If you're a wimp like me there are a few passages you might find a bit gory - right from the start - so be warned. They were just about on the edge of my tolerance level, although they weren't gratuitous in any way. So, thoroughly recommended - particularly to fans of Stephen King (The Body/Stand By Me), Stranger Things and 1980s nostalgia. I predict this will be one of the biggest sellers of 2018. It certainly deserves to be. Thank you to C.J. Tudor, Michael Joseph, and Netgalley for my copy of this book, which I received in exchange for an honest review.

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This book lived up to all the hype. From page one I was hooked. I actually went to bed early and did not switch my kindle off until I had finished it. I was ready to be disappointed but I was so wrong. This was a masterpiece. This author certainly knows how to grap you by the jugular and not let go. I LOVED IT!!!!! I would like to thank the author C J Tudor,Penguin and Net.galley for giving me the opportunity to read this book in return for giving an honest review. Thank you for a really good read.

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Loved this book. Was a great read and got through it really quickly - a page turner! Would recommend this book to other readers of books in this genre.

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Gosh! This is a good read! The perfect balance between wanting to know what happens, savouring the excellent writing and not wanting it to end. I loved it! A creepy thriller/murder mystery with interesting characters, lots of twists and turns and a satisfying and surprising ending. Fabulous! Thanks so much to netgalley and Penguin books for the opportunity to preview this excellent read.

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