2018 Book 24: THE CHALK MAN by CJ Tudor

The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor
ISBN: 9781524760984 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781524761004 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780525526391 (digital audiobook)
ASIN: B071FDZYVK (Kindle edition)
Publication date: January 9, 2018 
Publisher: Crown Publishing

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. 

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Eddie Adams, known as “Eddie Munster” when he was a child, had four neighborhood friends: Gavin aka “Fat Gav,” Mickey aka “Metal Mickey” (as a result of braces), David “Hoppo” Hopkins, and Nicky Martin. Eddie’s mother was a doctor and provided abortions, just as controversial in 1986 as it is today, and his father was a freelance writer. Gavin’s father owned the local pub and his mother was an Avon lady. Mickey’s parents were considered ordinary working parents. David’s mother worked as a cleaner and his father was not in the picture. Nicky’s father was the local vicar and led the crusade against the local abortion clinic and her mother was reportedly deceased. The story briefly begins with these young friends finding the gruesome remains of a decapitated and mutilated body in the woods. From there we witness Eddie and one of the local school teachers, Mr. Halloran, provide critical medical assistance to a young girl when tragedy strikes at a local fair, a ride flies apart and a girl is seriously injured. After that bonding experience, Eddie learns that Mr. Halloran is a gifted artist and used chalk with his friends to leave secret messages with his own childhood friends. Eddie and his friends begin to use chalk, with each friend using a different color, to leave messages for one another. The chalk messages fade into obscurity when more tragedy strikes, Mickey’s older brother drowns, Hoppo’s dog dies, the mutilated and dismembered body is found in the forest, and Nicky’s father is brutally attacked. Thirty years later, Eddie is still leaving in his childhood home and only Fat Gav and Hoppo are still around. Nicky left town with her biological mother (surprise, not dead) after her father’s attack. Mickey is now a big ad executive and lives in the city (presumably a major city, like London). Then chalk messages begin to reappear, Mickey returns to town and tells Eddie he knows the identity of the killer from 1986, and then Mickey turns up dead. It was bad enough when Eddie began to “see” the ghosts of Mickey’s dead brother and his teacher-friend, Mr. Halloran, as a child but now he’s seeing them again along with chalk messages. What do the messages mean? Is it possible Eddie’s next in line to die? If so, why and can he figure out the messages in time to stop the killer?

I initially had difficulties getting into The Chalk Man because I felt the pace was moving a bit slow, but then about halfway through the book it began to pick up and I was entranced. Ms. Tudor had to provide all of the backstory in order for the contemporary story to work and the backstory took time to reveal. Trust me, it’s worth the time. Some people have difficulty with stories than vacillate between two timelines. I actually enjoyed getting bits of the story from 1986 and then bits from 2016. I thought I had the story figured out, then it took a nice twist (no, I won’t reveal the twist…read the book!). There’s a lot of action in this story with the coming-of-age angst of Eddie and his friends compounded by the deaths of a sibling of one friend, the death of a school teacher, and them finding a dismembered body in the 1986 storyline. In the 2016 storyline, there’s the return of a childhood friend and his subsequent death, secrets revealed from 1986, possible hallucinations, and more. There are a few minor characters with major impact in this story and that threw me (hint: when reading this story, don’t try to figure out whodunit). The Chalk Man is a psychological suspense that provides a boogie man that haunts both the children and adults in the story. The primary character, Eddie is deeply flawed and his flaws seem to take over the story at a time. Told you, there’s a lot happening in this book. If you enjoy reading suspense with unexpected twists and turns, then I strongly encourage you to grab a copy of The Chalk Man to read. If you’re simply seeking something radically different to read, then I urge you to go out and grab a copy of The Chalk Man to read. (FYI: I suggest that you throw out all pieces of chalk in your home before reading this story.) I enjoyed reading The Chalk Man and look forward to reading more from Ms. Tudor in the future.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley/TLC Book Tours. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Meet the author

C. J. TUDOR lives in Nottingham, England, with her partner and three-year-old daughter. Over the years she has worked as a copywriter, television presenter, voice-over, and dog walker. She is now thrilled to be able to write full-time and doesn’t miss chasing wet dogs through muddy fields all that much. The Chalk Man is her first novel.

Follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.


Enter to win one print copy of The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor courtesy of TLC Book Tours. Please note that this giveaway is open to US residents only (sorry), all non-residents will be disqualified. This giveaway will run from 12:01 AM ET on January 23, 2018, through 11:59 PM ET on January 30, 2018. The winner will be announced by 10:00 AM ET on January 31st, 2018. If for any reason, the initial winner does not respond within 48 hours a new winner will be selected. Please note that this book will be mailed by TLC Book Tours at the conclusion of the blog tour.

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Author: thebookdivasreads

I'm a reader, an avid reader, or perhaps a rabid reader (at least according to my family). I enjoy reading from a variety of different genres but particularly enjoy fiction, mystery, suspense, thrillers, ChickLit, romance and classics. I also enjoy reading about numerous non-fiction subjects including aromatherapy, comparative religions, herbalism, naturopathic medicine, and tea.

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