Author: C.J. Tudor
Publisher: Penguin, Michael Joseph
Publishing Date: 20 March 2018
“You can feel it in the woods, in the school and in the playground; you can feel it in the houses and at the fairground. You can feel it in most places in the small town of Anderbury . . . the fear that something or someone is watching you.”
The Chalk Man was one of the most anticipated thrillers of 2018. There is something different about this novel than other thrillers I have read. Is it wholesome and creepy? Warmth with gore? Strange isn’t it?
The Chalk Man was extremely hyped and I had my reservations when I picked up this novel. I read it with an open mind and I am glad I did. It is an amazing thriller and it’s hard to believe that this is C.J. Tudor’s debut novel. It’s wonderfully written. A twisted psychological thriller, The Chalk Man is reminiscent of Stephen King’s ‘The Body’.
The opening of The Chalk Man is rather morbid, a body is discovered. The narrative changes- It is 1986 Eddie and his friends always met up on Saturday but this Saturday was different, the fair was in town. The fair had always been special but this was even better because it was the first time they were allowed to go on their own. But what starts as a wonderful day at the fair, ends in tragedy. It was the last normal day for all of them. The terrible day at the fair showed Eddie just how fast life can change.
Life goes on and everyone does their best to put that day behind them. But it’s always there in the back of Eddie’s mind. When one of Eddie’s friends receives a bucket of chalk for his birthday, the boys are far from impressed. However, they soon find a good use for the chalk. It’s a great way to leave private messages for each other. But then the chalk figures start appearing on their own. The narrative shifts to 2016 – Eddie (Ed) is now forty-two years old. He’s tried hard to put the past behind him. Then a letter arrives from an unknown sender. When Ed sees what is inside the envelope he hopes it’s a joke or a prank. But it soon becomes clear that it is not a joke. It seems the past doesn’t want to be left behind. For Ed to truly move on it means he somehow has to figure out what really happened all those years before.
The story-line is unique and I loved how C.J. Tudor captured the feelings and emotions of these children. It felt real and it was easy to connect with the characters. The story has some compelling plot twists, you might sleep with the lights on at night after reading this creepy novel! After reading a lot of hyped-up novels, The Chalk Man turned out to be an intriguing read. It gives off a chilling and atmospheric vibe which is one of the main aspects of a good psychological thriller.
I recommend The Chalk Man to readers who love a good, twisted and compelling thriller and who love Stephen King’s work.