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.



Giveaway

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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This review, blog tour, and giveaway brought to you by TLC Book Tours.



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The Chalk Man : A Novel

2016 Book 46: THE QUALITY OF SILENCE by Rosamund Lupton

The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton 
ISBN: 9781101903674 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781101903681 (ebook)
ASIN: B00XST7IEG (Kindle edition)
Publication date: February 16, 2016 
Publisher: Crown Publishing 


On 24th November Yasmin and her deaf daughter Ruby arrived in Alaska.

Within hours, they were driving alone across a frozen wilderness

Where nothing grows

Where no one lives

Where tears freeze 

And night will last for another 54 days.

They are looking for Ruby’s father.

Traveling deeper into a silent land.

They still cannot find him.

And someone is watching them in the dark.  



Imagine you’ve married your college sweetheart. You have a beautiful daughter and she is incredibly smart. You’re an astrophysicist and your husband is a wildlife biologist and film-maker. Now imagine your husband has left the United Kingdom to film in northern Alaska. You and your daughter have traveled thousands of miles to spend the winter holidays in Alaska with him. You arrive only to be told that your husband is dead in a freak accident. This is the foundation for The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton.

Yasmin had a troubled childhood, but channeled her frustrations into her school work and has become an astrophysicist. She dated Matt in college, and even though she never truly believed he loved or saw her for who she truly is, she married him. Their daughter, Ruby, is deaf and an extremely intelligent child that is mainstreamed into the regular school system at Yasmin’s insistence. Yasmin doesn’t want her daughter to ever feel like an outsider without a voice and strongly encourages Ruby to use her verbal skills. Ruby is quite insistent that by using sign language she is actually using her voice, just not the voice her mother wants her to use. Matt wants Ruby to be happy and fully supports her use of sign language. Yasmin, Matt, and Ruby are quite the happy family until Matt goes off to Alaska and appears to fall for a woman there. Yasmin is incensed and hurt. She also knows that she has to confront Matt face-to-face, not on a phone or via Skype. After arriving in Alaska, Yasmin is told that Matt is dead. Neither Yasmin nor Ruby is willing to accept this proclamation. Yasmin only recourse is to head north and find Matt. She tries to find transportation to take them to northern Alaska and ultimately persuades an independent trucker to give them a ride north. When the trucker suffers a stroke, Yasmin commandeers his truck to continue their trek. She has to fight the elements, namely a massive storm coming in and below freezing temperatures, as well as driving in unfamiliar territory and a massive vehicle for the first time. If that wasn’t bad enough, it appears that someone is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure Yasmin and Ruby don’t make it to their destination. Can Yasmin and Ruby beat the clock, the weather, and their nemesis to make it north? Will they ever find out what has happened to Matt?

I found The Quality of Silence to be a fast-paced, engrossing, and enjoyable read. There were parts of the story that strained credulity, such as Yasmin being able to drive a tractor trailer with a massive load in unfamiliar territory during the middle of a snowstorm in frigid temperatures. But once I let that go (people can do amazing things in trying situations), I was able to fully enjoy the story. There are good guys, not-so-good guys, and really bad guys in this story. Unfortunately, the bad guys seem to be wearing gray hats most of the time so it is unclear who’s bad and who’s not (one of the many things that I liked about the story). Ruby is probably my favorite character. She’s quite comfortable with her deafness and proud that she’s different. One of her differences is her synesthesia or ability to see and taste words. Ruby provides us with brief definitions of words based on what words see and taste like to her and these are interspersed throughout the story. Ms. Lupton provides some wonderful assistive devices for Ruby and these come in quite handy over the course of the story (read it and you’ll understand). The Quality of Silence is a taut psychological thriller that provides as many twists and turns as the road leading Yasmin and Ruby to northern Alaska. The wintry environs of Alaska provide a beautiful if somewhat hostile background for the story and is just as important as the primary characters. If you enjoy reading psychological thrillers or are seeking something a little different to read, then I strongly urge you to grab a copy of The Quality of Silence.



Read an excerpt from The Quality of Silence here.

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. 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.”




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