Michael Joseph | January 2018 | 352 pgs
Source: Purchased

This debut novel by C.J. Tudor is part coming of age, part psychological suspense which had me captivated from the beginning till the end. 

Told from a first person perspective and with two time frames shifting back and forth (1986 and 2016), at its core this is a story about a past event which had affected the lives of five teenagers and how it comes back to haunt them when they are adults. 

Eddie Adams and his friends are twelve when they first stumble upon a body in the woods in their neighbourhood in Anderbury. To be precise, the body is dismembered and they didn't really find it accidentally. Directions marked by chalk lead them into the woods and before that, they have had fun conjuring secret codes using chalk and each of them has their own coloured chalk to indicate their identity but none of them is white. So who is this Chalk Man and most of all, why them? 

Back to the present, Eddie is now a teacher and when he receives a letter with drawing of a chalk figure, he knew what happened in the past isn't over and it is finding its way back to the group of five childhood friends who used to be close together. Years and circumstances have distanced them, but Eddie still keep in touch with Gavin (Fat Gav) and David (Hoppo) occasionally. The mystery gets more obscuring when one of the group, Mickey, turns up at Eddie's house and make a proposition of writing a book of the events happened back then in 1986 and then it is like they are back in their teens when the chalk figures start appearing again. This time around it leaves them with more questions instead of answers and it gets creepier as the truth starts unravelling. 

Foreboding and filled with twists and turns, The Chalk Man will satisfy readers who love a good suspense and characters development. Well crafted and well written, the story had captured the emotional and struggles of the characters as they grow from teenagers to adults and Eddie's voice is both addictive and compelling (and oh, what an ending!) A great debut and a new author to look out for.

Before ending this post, I'd like to thank Lark for this buddy read (please also check out Lark's review and the Q&A here). Below is some questions from Lark to me regarding the book: 

1) What did you like best about the way C.J. Tudor wrote this book?
Foreboding, unpredictable and a cast of intriguing characters. Truth be told, I'd no idea where the story is leading and it was so much fun watching the story unfolds. The author has also captured the teenaged life of the characters beautifully; in fact the flashbacks are the draw for me in this book not only it is the beginning of the series of consequences which would happen later but also they capture the voice and the innocence of each teenager's mind.  

2) If you were going to give Eddie and his friends new nicknames, knowing what you know about them now, what names would you give them?
Hmm... that's a tricky one. I'm bad in naming names so I've absolutely no idea what to name them. However, I think Gavin's nickname (Fat Gav) is the most fitting among all given his build. 

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12 Responses
  1. jenclair Says:

    I thought Tudor did an excellent job with this book. I've enjoyed your review and Lark's. I really liked your question to Lark about whether the book would have the same impact today!

  2. Kay Says:

    I have a copy of this book and really want to read it soon. I know I'm going to like the two timeframes and the cover is quite good here too. My cover is the red one - the US cover, I'm guessing. Very nice review, Melody!

  3. bermudaonion Says:

    I'm listening to this right now and, on audio, I'm not getting the sense of foreboding everyone else talks about. I wonder if I should have read this in print.

  4. Jenny Says:

    Ooo! I like the cover of your book. Lark shared a different one. This one sounds very good and now I’m going to have to read it. It kinda sounds like a Stephen King book without the supernatural twist his books often have.

  5. Iliana Says:

    Just read Lark's take on this one and you guys have me intrigued! I do want to read this and especially because of the timeframe. I love the 80s :)

  6. Lark Says:

    Great review, Melody! I love being able to chat with you as we go along; and there was a lot to talk about with this book! Especially that ending. :D

  7. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - Tudor did a great job in both her writing and the plot, didn't she? I can't wait for her next book!

  8. Melody Says:

    Kay - I didn't really choose the cover. The bookstore I bought this from only has this cover and I thought it's very fitting. The US cover is eye-catching too with the red cover.

  9. Melody Says:

    Bermudaonion - I think audio and print makes a different reading experience. I have tried audio once but couldn't get into it.

  10. Melody Says:

    Jenny - It does have a creepy vibe but totally different from those horror genre. I hope you'll enjoy this one as my much as Lark and I did.

  11. Melody Says:

    Iliana - It was a great book, Iliana. Loved it! Hope you'll get to it soon. :)

  12. Melody Says:

    Lark - Yes, I loved our exchanges of this book. There are so many things to talk about this book and I'm glad we were able to do so in our emails. :) And that ending really take the cake!

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