THE CHALK MAN by C.J. Tudor
Crown Publishing Group, January 2018
The Chalk Man is a delightfully twisted oldschool thriller that could somehow be a cross between an early Stephen King novel and an episode of Midsommer Murders. In a small town in 1980s England, a series of events occurs in the life of 12-year-old Eddie Adams – a beautiful girl is injured in a freak accident at a local fair; a mysterious new teacher arrives in town; a girl will soon be found murdered; and in the middle of it all, one of Eddie’s friends receives a bucket of chalk as a birthday gift.
Though it’s a comparatively short thriller (not even 300 pages), C.J. Tudor packs a whole lot into this book. There are more background characters and subplots than you’d initially expect, and the result is a fast-paced, addicting, plot-driven novel that’s nearly impossible to put down once you start reading. I’m left with absolutely no doubt as to why this is being heralded as one of the first big thrillers of 2018. Tudor is going to be a name to look out for.
At first I was sure this was going to be a 5 star read, but (without getting into spoiler territory) I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the ending… I found a lot of it predictable and I thought there were too many plot points conveniently tied up all at once. It’s one of those endings that’s a bit too neat and doesn’t leave much to the imagination. I loved reading this, but I doubt it will stay with me years from now. That said, it’s a must-read for anyone who likes their mysteries creepy and addicting. I dare you not to fly through this once you pick it up.
While it’s not an outright horror novel, this book flirts with horror more than your average thriller, so proceed with caution. NB triggers for rape and gore.
Many thanks to Crown Publishing and C.J. Tudor for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. The Chalk Man will be published in January 2018.