Tuesday, January 16, 2018

[Book Review] The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

Book review of The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor is a wonderfully written mystery/thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat! Make sure to start this one on your next day off; you won't be able to put it down!

Let's dive in to my review!

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor 

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown and thinks he's put his past behind him, but then he gets a letter in the mail containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank--until one of them turns up dead. That's when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

My thoughts:
Oh my goodness. The Chalk Man was one of my most anticipated book releases of 2018 and I am so happy to say that it lived up to my expectations!

Right from page one, I was hooked. I would recommend picking this one up on a day that you can just sit and read. I made the mistake of starting this one before I had a number of plans already set up... When I wasn't reading, my thoughts kept turning back to the book; I couldn't wait to pick it up again!

The writing style was lovely. Everything flowed so well! When I saw that this book was organized in two timelines, the past set in the 1980's and the present of 2016, I was a little nervous. However, this author did something that I personally haven't seen before but I LOVE! Each chapter ended in varying levels of cliffhangers before swapping into the next timeline. But at the same time, each chapter flowed seamlessly into the next. And when we jumped back to the other timeline, we picked right up where we had left off! Wonderful!

The characters were all perfectly developed for their roles. I really enjoyed following the main character through both the past and the preset, and learning about how he interacted with all of the other characters over time.

The plot, I can't go into because it would totally spoil it! So I will just leave it with this; I loved the little hints that were dropped here and there. Now that I have read the conclusion, more of them are beginning to stand out in my memory. I cannot wait to re-read it!

My favorite passages:
There were extensive searches, questions and appeals but, despite the best efforts of all the detectives and all the town’s men, her head was never found, and the girl in the woods was never put together again.

If our world was a snow globe, it was the day some casual god came along, shook it hard and set it back down again. Even when the foam and flakes had settled, things weren’t the way they were before. Not exactly. They might have looked the same through the glass but, on the inside, everything was different.

She was tall, with short dark hair, and brown eyes that could bubble with fun or blaze almost black when she was angry (and, like the Incredible Hulk, you didn’t want to make her angry).

My hair is still thick and mostly dark, but my laughter lines lost their sense of humor some time ago.

Of course, the facts have been embellished over time, the truth gradually worn away at the edges. History itself is only ever a story, told by the ones who survived it.

I hate it when people ring the doorbell and use the knocker, implying that I must be incapable of hearing or that their need to enter is so urgent it requires a full frontal assault on the exterior of my property.

I worried about other stuff, too. People think kids’ lives are worry free. But that’s not the case. Kids’ worries are bigger because we’re smaller.

Did we become a bit obsessed with it all? I guess. But then that’s what kids do. Get obsessive over things for a few weeks or months, then wear that idea down into the ground until it’s no good and can’t be played ever again.

I push the door open. It feels cold in here, too. Not normal cold. Not the slight chill of a house at nighttime. This type of cold wraps itself around your bones and sits like a lump of ice in your intestines. Fear-cold.

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.

Maybe it’s time to take a ride all the way back down good old memory lane. Except, this is not a sun-dappled stroll along the path of fond recollections. This particular route is dark, overgrown with tangled knots of lies and secrets, and full of potholes. And along the way, there are chalk men.

None of it was true, but rumors are like germs. They spread and multiply almost in a breath and, before you known it, everyone is contaminated.

Every kid wants to find a dead body. About the only thing that a twelve-year-old boy wants to find more is a spaceship, buried treasure or a porn mag.

“We didn’t say that, Eddie.”
They didn’t have to. I was twelve, not stupid.

I arrive back just after nine, hot, crumpled and numb down one side from being crushed against the window by a man who looked as if he played rugby for the Titans (the gods, not the team).

I walk briskly back home. I could have driven to St. Magdalene’s, but it’s only 30 minutes on foot from town and I wanted to clear my head. Although, to be honest, not much clearing is going on. Words and phrases keep floating around my mind, like confetti and a snow globe.

I stare around the room. Empty, except no room is ever really empty, not in the darkness. Shadows lurk in the corners and pool on the floor, slumbering, sometimes shifting. But that’s not what has woken me. It’s the feeling that someone, just seconds ago, was sitting on my bed.

I stare at Mickey’s scribbled notes and something suddenly blooms with absurd clarity in my mind. I can almost hear the ping of the lightbulb illuminating.

My final thoughts:
All around, a wonderful book! Everything was just perfect; the writing style, the organization of the chapters and storyline, the characters... I would highly recommend this one to fans of mysteries with a heavy dose of thriller, sprinkled with some dark elements.

This is definitely a book that I will be re-reading time and time again!

Bravo, C.J. Tudor!

Thanks for reading!
Have you had the chance to pick up The Chalk Man yet? If so, what did you think?


  1. I've been seeing this one around recently, and it sounds so creepy! I do love a thriller, and also a story with dual timelines. Great review!

    1. Thank you! I hope you enjoy it when you get the chance to read it! :)

  2. I kind of only skimmed your review because I'm starting this one tonight. Although I'm excited to see you enjoyed it so much.

    1. I cannot wait to see you review!! Considering how similar our tastes are, I think you're going to love it as well! :)

  3. Aw man I hadn't heard of this book at all until you told me about it! I definitely need to put it on my list! :D Awesome review E.

  4. This book sounds so amazing! I'll definitely have to check this one out. Thanks for sharing your review.

  5. I'm happy you enjoyed it so much! And that cover photo is perfect :)

    1. Thank you! I FROZE trying to get that shot! haha it was 12 degrees outside and windy! Burr!

  6. Fantastic review Erica! I am DYING to read this one. I need my wallet to magically fill up with just enough money to buy it. LOL!!! I love your picture also. :)

    1. Ha! I totally get that!! :) I was so surprised I was able to get this from my local library so quickly, but it is one I will definitely be purchasing for my selves ASAP!

  7. Ooh, this does look like a good one. I love a good thriller every now and then!

  8. I really need to read more thriller novels! I love how this one was so addictive and you got to really feel wrapped up by the book.

  9. Great review! Sounds like I'll have to add this to my tbr for sure! :)

  10. Great review, this was a classic thriller that did not disappoint. That last chapter...holy creepy!