Book Title: The Chalk Man
Author: C.J. Tudor
REVIEWED BY: CHELSEA
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Crime Fiction
Pub Date: 01/09/18
In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy little 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.
I haven’t felt this sure of a book’s worthiness to be read since I picked up The Dry by Jane Harper back in January. I’ll admit, I find myself enjoying a majority of the books that I read; I don’t know if I’m just not as picky as other readers or if, after so many years of reading, I generally can tell what will tickle my fancy. That said, there are the books you enjoy, and then there are THOSE books. You know the ones I mean; the unicorns, the diamonds in the rough, the ones you’ll be shoving in peoples face screaming “OH MYLANTA READ THIS BOOK! LET’S TALK ABOUT IT!!!” because it’s just that good. Well, it’s official-this one gets the highly prestigious Holy Guacamole stamp of approval from The Suspense Is Thrilling Me.
Please, please, hold your applause.
After two close friends had read an arc of this (one of which sent me her prized copy to borrow because she’s the bestest book bestie ever), I knew I had to pick it up immediately. I was nervous to get myself too hyped up over it, as I tend to become disappointed when that happens, but if there was ever a book worthy of being hyped this was it baby! I really don’t want to say anything about the plot, other than it was constantly twisting and turning in ways I couldn’t predict. This was a huge bonus, but I adore how this wasn’t the focal point of the story; the entire plot wasn’t dependent on cloak and dagger tricks yet was enhanced by the many reveals along the way. The story is told between past and present, but our narrator is one consistent voice recalling events from the past and telling the present plot, which gives a natural ease in following along. There are some graphic descriptions of violence in the act and in the aftermath, so those with a sensitive stomach may want to give this a hard pass, but otherwise I can’t think of a single reason not to pick this book up if you’re a fan of twisty psychological thrillers.
I struggle in believing that The Chalk Man is a debut novel for author C.J. Tudor; the writing quality is so excellent you could have told me a seasoned, bestselling author had written this and I would have believed you without question. The complex nature of the story, the insertion of comic relief and dark humor, as well as equal parts action and characterization inserted really made for the trifecta of perfect books. If I could give this novel 100 stars I would do so in a heartbeat! Sometimes you can just tell early on which books will be buzz worthy in the coming seasons, and I truly believe that The Chalk Man will be talked about non-stop by fans looking for their next psychological thriller in the crime fiction realm. Go ahead and pre-order this one, mark it on your TBR, do whatever you need to do to make sure you don’t miss out on grabbing this book the SECOND it hits shelves. I’ll be buying a finished copy for my personal collection as I can see this being a reread in the future for myself, although realistically I’ll likely shove it at someone and make them read it instead. HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!!!!!
*Sorry, did I mention that I liked this book? Yes? Ok, just making sure. 🙂