Thrilled to bits to host a stop on the blog tour for The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor today! Many thanks to Jenny at Michael Joseph for the opportunity to join and the review copy!
Author : C.J. Tudor
Title : The Chalk Man
Pages : 352
Publisher : Michael Joseph
Publication date : January 11, 2018
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 each other as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing will ever be 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 his other friends got the same messages, 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 may have said this before but I’ll gladly say it again. Sometimes you pick up a book and before you’ve even reached the end of the first page, you sink that little bit deeper, get that little bit more comfortable because you just know you’re holding something special in your hands and you’re going to love every second of it. That’s what happened to me when I started reading The Chalk Man. Putting into words why I love this book so much is a whole different matter but I can tell you that it propelled itself straight onto my list of favourite books of the year.
In 1986, a mysterious chalk man figure leads Eddie and his friends to find a dismembered body. Thirty years later, they receive a letter containing that same chalk man figure. At first, the friends decide this must be some kind of prank. But then one of them turns up dead and Eddie decides it’s time to figure out what really happened all those years ago.
As someone who was a teenager in the eighties, I absolutely love it when a story is set in that era. Things seemed so simple back then. No social media, just hanging out with your friends, looking for adventures, being imaginative and creative, especially if you were growing up in a place where nothing ever happened. In that way, I was reminded of films like The Goonies. No sending text messages either but leaving coded messages written in chalk on each other’s driveways. How cool is that? (Bonus points for mentioning Bon Jovi. I was such a fan.) I thoroughly enjoyed the entire atmosphere of those chapters but equally relished the chapters set in 2016 and switching back between the two eras was always done at exactly the right time.
Like I said at the start, I was completely immersed in this story from the very first page. This is such a delightful mystery, hugely suspenseful, slightly creepy and so intensely gripping that I couldn’t put it down. The characters are all truly well crafted and believable and even include an oddball or two. I couldn’t figure things out at all, suspected everyone and got things wrong pretty much at every turn. I have no qualms admitting that I wasn’t at all sorry when plans with friends fell through so I could keep reading. Upon reaching the end, I even felt a bit sad, desperately wanting much, much more!
The Chalk Man is a fantastic story. Brilliantly written with some fabulous references and even a few chuckle moments, it’s mind-blowing to think this is the author’s debut novel. There’s quite a lot of buzz around this one and I personally feel it’s absolutely deserved. I can see why this author’s name is mentioned in the same sentence as Stephen King. C.J. Tudor is a fantastic new voice and without a doubt an author to keep your eye on. I for one absolutely can’t wait for whatever she comes up with next!
Did I mentioned I loved it? 😉
The Chalk Man is available for purchase!
She left school at sixteen and has had a variety of jobs over the years, including trainee reporter, radio scriptwriter, shop assistant, ad agency copywriter and voiceover.
In the early nineties, she fell into a job as a television presenter for a show on Channel 4 called Moviewatch. Although a terrible presenter, she got to interview acting legends such as Sigourney Weaver, Michael Douglas, Emma Thompson and Robin Williams. She also annoyed Tim Robbins by asking a question about Susan Sarandon’s breasts and was extremely flattered when Robert Downey Junior showed her his chest.
While writing the Chalk Man she ran a dog-walking business, walking over twenty dogs a week as well as looking after her little girl.
The Chalk Man was inspired by a tub of chalks a friend bought for her daughter’s second birthday. One afternoon they drew chalk figures all over the driveway. Later that night she opened the back door to be confronted by weird stick men everywhere. In the dark, they looked incredibly sinister. She called to her partner: ‘These chalk men look really creepy in the dark . . .’