The Chalk Man

The Chalk Man

by C. J. Tudor


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A riveting and brilliantly plotted psychological suspense, this whip-smart debut will keep readers guessing right up to the shocking ending

In 1986, Eddie and his friend 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.
Expertly alternating between flashbacks and the present day, The Chalk Man is the very best kind of suspense novel, one where every character is wonderfully fleshed out and compelling, where every mystery has a satisfying payoff, and where the twists will shock even the savviest reader.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781524760984
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 01/09/2018
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 260,420
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

C. J. TUDOR lives in Nottingham, England with her partner and three-year-old daughter. Over the years she has worked as a copywriter, television presenter, voiceover and dog-walker. She is now thrilled to be able to write full-time, and doesn't miss chasing wet dogs through muddy fields all that much. THE CHALK MAN is her first novel.

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Excerpted from "The Chalk Man"
by .
Copyright © 2018 C. J. Tudor.
Excerpted by permission of Diversified Publishing.
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The Chalk Man 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could not put it down, my kind of book! But it!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent page turner! Can't wait to see what comes next from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a great read that kept my complete attention. Do it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Started it and couldnt put it down. Finished it in one day! Thrilling and exciting to read! Thank you CJ.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought the story was very entertaining; couldn't wait to get to the end!
FrancescaFB 12 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From the moment I read the first page I was hooked. The characters are really well drawn. Brilliant..
CaptainsQuarters More than 1 year ago
Ahoy there me mateys! The title and cover are what led me to this very engaging thriller. I enjoyed playing the game of hangman when I was a wee lass. Trying to guess the word before me person died was always fun. Plus it (and other games like boggle and scrabble) led to a lifetime love of word games. So when I saw this cover with the hangman and lovely addition of a noose, I just had to see what it was about. So the very toned down premise is that a group of children in the 80s hang out looking for adventure. One of their many activities is leaving chalk messages for each other in code. That game abruptly ends when chalk messages lead them to a body in the woods. Thirty years pass and the group has grown up and put the past behind them as best they can. Until the day that Eddie gets a message in the mail with a figure and a single piece of chalk. Is it a prank? Eddie hopes so . . . but one of the old gang turns up dead. The past is back in a haunting way and Eddie finds himself tracking down a killer and reanalyzing what he thought he knew about a murder from 30 years ago. This book was suspenseful and hard to put down. Lots of me crew are raving about it and it is easy to see why. It is extremely character driven with superb use of flashbacks. The plot is complex, yet easy to follow. Eddie drives the plot forward as most of the story is told from lens of his thoughts and memories. It is wonderful to see how that one summer in 1986 has far-reaching consequences in unexpected ways - big and small. The repercussions are both logical and fun while being surprising as well. That is quite the combination. And the last page was perfect. The only minor issue I had was the resolution of one character's plot line that I thought was truly implausible and made me incredulous. That scene I could have done without. But if ye love thrillers then I would certainly get this one. I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for me honest musings. Arrr!
Barnseys_Books More than 1 year ago
In 1986 12-year-old Eddie and best friends Hoppo, Fat Gav and Metal Mickey are normal kids doing everyday stuff - riding around on their bikes and hanging out at the local playground. They develop a code using chalk drawings of stick men that only they can understand. But when a chalk man drawing leads them to a mutilated body buried in the woods, their lives are changed forever. Fast forward to 2016 and Eddie is now a teacher in the same town where he grew up. Shortly before one of his childhood friends is found dead, he receives a letter containing a chalk drawing of a stick man. Eddie knows he must uncover what really happened 30 years earlier if he's to free himself from the past. The flashback scenes to 1986 in The Chalk Man were immensely enjoyable. The 80's were my teenage years and I can personally attest to the author's descriptions of that period in time being totally authentic. So many great memories were rekindled. The wonderful mix of characters drove the story forwards - their candour, camaraderie and humour simply dazzled. Considering this is the author's debut novel, remarkable skill was displayed with the complexity of this book. I thought the plot contained a fair amount of unrealistic elements but it was highly original and entertaining. It had depth and excellent characterisation. It was engaging and intriguing. It didn't 'grip' in quite the same way other books have, but it left me with a feeling of having read something rather special.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very quick read! I couldn’t put it down. Not the ending I suspected....or then again, maybe it was!
LibbyMcKinmer More than 1 year ago
Eddie was just a kid in 1986 when he and his friends used a secret code of chalk stick men to send messages to one another. But those same stick men one day led to the discovery of a dismembered body in the woods outside the village…and everything changed. In 2016, the grownup Eddie thinks all of that is in the past, until he receives a chalk man in the mail. Who sent it? What does that person want? What does he or she know about what happened in 1986? As Eddie slowly uncovers what happened then, he must confront how it is affecting the present and what threads are woven from then to now. He finds out all his friends have received a similar chalk figure, but then one of them turns up dead. What happened in 1986 that’s caused a murder in 2016? Using flashbacks to 1986 and his investigation in 2016, Eddie must discover what secrets his friends have kept…and what he must admit about himself. See if you can figure out all the twists and turns as the suspense unwinds in The Chalk Man.
eternalised More than 1 year ago
The Chalk Man has a rather morbid opening scene, then tones down the morbidity somewhat, to end in an extremely gruesome climax that nearly made me gag. Considering I don’t shy away from horror easily, and can usually watch horror movies without flinching, that’s saying something. Part of the story takes place in 1986 and part of it takes place in the present day. In 1986, we meet a young Eddie (at age twelve or thirteen, in those whereabouts) and his gang of friends. They’re heading to the fair, not yet aware of the terrible events that would happen that day. Eddie fittingly nicknames this day as “the last normal day”. What happens next for all of them seems to transport them from one tragedy into the next. One of Eddie’s friends gets chalk crayons for his birthday, and this inspires the kids to start communicating with each other in secret messages using the chalk. But when the chalk figures start appearing out of their own accord, either someone knows about their messages, or something more sinister is going on. In the present day (well, 2016), Eddie is forty-two years old, yet he’s still haunted by the past, a past that refuses to stay buried. With an old friend coming back to town, and the secrets of the past threatening to come to light, Eddie has to decide if he’s strong enough to handle the truth. The Chalk Man is C.J. Tudor’s debut novel, but it’s a strong, cleverly written debut. The story pulled me in from the start. The characters were unique and entertaining, particularly Eddie – although all of them had a certain bleakness, hopelessness to them as well, that somehow reminded me of the way Stephen King tends to portray the characters in his books. One thing I did find dissapointing is how it all came together in the end – I saw that one coming from miles away, unfortunately. However, it was still a solid read and worth giving a short, especially on a dreary, rainy evening.
Samantha1020 More than 1 year ago
This book was totally not what I expected it to be! I don't mean that in a bad way at all but it is really the best way to describe my reading experience. I picked up this book expecting a thriller which it definitely was. That being said - the twists and turns this book took and everything that happened within its' pages was definitely not what I originally expected. This book starts out with a bang and really doesn't let up. Sure there are times where maybe the author lulls you into thinking that you might know what is going on but I definitely didn't. I loved how this book switched back and forth between when Eddie and his friends were younger and then back to present day. It gave the book a similar vibe to Stephen King's It (which I have not yet finished but do plan on getting back to soon). I also really appreciated the fact that it felt like two separate mysteries and I was fully invested in both of them. Like so fully invested that I think I managed to finish this book in less then three days. I just could not stop reading this one! I don't think that it is too spoilery to say that the author manages to tie everything up beautifully. I feel like there were a few things that I was able to guess but there was so much more that I didn't. I enjoyed my time with this book immensely and cannot wait to see what this author comes up with next! Overall, I found this to be such a great book and I'm glad that I didn't let it linger on my TBR list. I realize that I didn't tell you a whole lot about it in specifics but I really think this is a book that you should just pick up knowing as little as possible. Just go on the ride that the author takes you on, it is completely worth it in my opinion! This is a dark read with a few very uncomfortable moments but it was also oh so good! I also really enjoyed the fact that this book was a standalone thriller. I'm basically a series addict if you haven't noticed but I loved that this book stands on its' own. It's a reminder for me that I need to read more books like this that aren't part of a series once in awhile. I think that the thing that will stick most with me after finishing this book is the tense and haunting atmosphere that the author created. There were times that I knew that something bad was going to happen but yet I just couldn't stop reading as I needed to know what would happen next. I would highly recommend this book to fans of thrillers and mysteries! Bottom Line: If I gave actual ratings, I would rate this one 4.5 stars - it was a read that I won't be forgetting about any time soon! Disclosure: I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and NetGalley.
Candice_S More than 1 year ago
I LOVED this book - this was a solid 5 star read for me! CJ Tudor has done remarkable work in creating a mystery that is wonderfully quick paced, highly suspenseful, and keeping readers on the edge of their seats the entire way through. In 1986, 12 year old Eddie and his group of friends are growing up in a small town Anderbury, creating a game where they draw chalk men for each other to communicate with secret messages. The game is innocent fun and games, until one day the chalk men lead them to a dead body. Thirty years later, Eddie is still living in Anderbury trying to forget the past, until an old friend comes calling, and a mysterious letter is left for him, with only a picture of a chalk man. CJ has interwoven the two timelines with incredible precision, letting tiny bits of the story unravel in a way that kept me completely hooked the entire way through. I loved that the chapters were quick, easy to read, and every single chapter let out a tiny bit more of the story - which meant I could not put this book down, because I was dying to find out what came next. Maintaining such a terrific level of suspense for an entire book is no easy feat, but CJ makes it look effortless. I devoured this book - and I loved the twists and turns. Only one trigger warning - CJ does not shy away from even the most difficult and gruesome topics, so take care if scenes of bullying and sexual abuse are sensitive for you. Otherwise - if this is not on your to-read pile, you should get it there, stat.
Marla-Bradeen More than 1 year ago
THE CHALK MAN is a captivating thriller. With diverse characters, an interesting plot, and plenty of twists and turns, the story grabbed my attention from the very beginning and didn't let go until the final, surprising end. A worthy read for suspense fans. Disclosure: I won a free copy of this book in a giveaway.
bookscoffeeandrepeat More than 1 year ago
I have an unpopular opinion for this book. No matter how hard I try, I just couldn't read through the entire book. Eventually, I had to put it down and figure out what was wrong with me. I'm actually not in a book slump. But for some reason, I found it difficult to get through the book after the first few chapters. It doesn't really make any sense to me because The Chalk Man has an interesting premise. In the beginning of this novel, Eddie looks back at his past, thinking whether the cold blooded murder happened before the chalk figures or if it was connected to the chalk figures. The story was told through the eyes of Eddie (aka "MUNSTER"). The kids, almost reminiscent of the Stranger Things squad, had codenames or nicknames and I thought that was fun to read about. Eddie just happened to be named Munster because of a character from an old sitcom. Additionally, the setting alternates between the future (2016) and the past (1986). Even if this was the case, the writing works as it wasn't choppy. It just wasn't enough to keep me invested in the story. I didn't like this book because I could care less for its characters, making the story seem less thrilling for me. I felt detached from the characters so I relied on the plot to keep me reading. I waited for the mystery and creepy factor/s to completely engross me but it absolutely did nothing for me. In the end, I felt that I was forcing myself to read this book. I really thought I was going to enjoy this one. Unfortunately, this book was not for me. **I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All thoughts are my own.
PNWBookworm More than 1 year ago
A dark gritty page turner that kept me up long past my bedtime. There is a lot of violence and it was a bit disturbing so be prepared for that. The story is told in alternate time periods, which is a bit off putting but that’s more of a personal preference. The characters were well developed and the plot just creepy enough. Although parts were slow the book still held my interest and I look forward to reading more from this author.
Jaruwa More than 1 year ago
I found this to be a fun read, with a host of eerie characters, a quirky setting, and an intriguing plot. I enjoyed reading it, although it is not one of the best thrillers I’ve read (imho). I seem to be in the minority, considering this good, but not great. It could be because I was interrupted several times during the read and struggled to remember details when I returned to it. I do plan to read more from this author as I believe it to be a very promising debut. I recommend reading it and making your own decision. Note: I received an eARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
This was an excellent book that had me guessing throughout. At one point, maybe twice, I had reason to point a finger at all the boys involved in the book. I just kept going back and forth. It was crazy! The author did a great job including into this book, suspense; intrigue; much creepiness with a huge thrill factor. It reminded me of "Stand by Me" (the movie) where adolescent boys are trying to grow up and be boys when a murder rocks their town. Utterly mesmerizing and unputdownable! Thanks to Crown Publishing and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
RowingRabbit More than 1 year ago
Thirty years ago, five misfits banded together while growing up in the small town of Anderbury. Eddie, Mickey, Hoppo, Gav, & Nicky weren’t cool or popular. And sometimes they didn’t even like each other all that much. They shared adventures, pranks & secrets. They even had their own way of communicating by leaving chalk stick figures for each other on pavement & fence posts. Looking back, it’s hard to pinpoint when it all began. Maybe it was the summer of 1986. That was when new teacher Mr. Halloran came to town. And when Eddie, Mickey, Hoppo & Gav found the body. In the present, Ed is a bachelor still living in the same house. His days are spent teaching at the local school & occasionally meeting Hoppo & Gav for a pint. He’s a quiet, solitary man who rarely thinks about that summer. But someone wants to jog his memory. Ed receives a letter with only the drawing of a stickman in a noose & a piece of chalk. Then Mickey suddenly reappears on his doorstep after a long absence. And he’s got a proposition. Somehow you know this won’t end well. Not another peep about the plot. It’s layered with so many twists that it’s better you go in blind to get the biggest bang for your buck. All you need to know is this is a fabulous read. The past & the present are told in alternate time lines. As we follow Ed the adult, we slowly learn what happened to those kids 30 years ago. And it’s quite a tale. Chapters set in the past will feel familiar to anyone who grew up in a small town. There’s a clannish culture where everyone knows your business & outsiders are viewed with suspicion. We get to peek over their shoulders as the kids struggle to fit in & deal with family problems while something sinister stalks them from the shadows. Each character has such a distinct personality that they pop off the page fully formed as you meet. There’s a definite Stephen King vibe to the story & it reminded me of the movie “Stand By Me” which was based on on his novella “The Body”. But the creepiness is balanced by humour, heartbreak & poignant moments that resonate as they remind you what it was like to be 12. With the possible exception of finding a body…you probably missed out on that. After the chalk man arrives, Ed is forced to remember what it was like to be Eddie. As he sifts through events from that pivotal summer, he reexamines his own actions & how they affected the terrible crimes. Looking back with adult eyes, he sees things he couldn’t understand as a child. And he realizes he is surrounded by people who have kept their own secrets for decades. This is a spooky, addictive read that forces me to trot out that tired old phrase….I couldn’t put it down. It’s a gripping mix of chilling suspense & coming-of-age. And it’s not just great story telling. Once finished, I found myself thinking about memories & how they can be coloured by a specific place & time. Why I can remember a throw-away moment so clearly while something others would deem significant is a blur. It’s a running theme on several levels from beginning to end where the author takes one final jab at your heart on the very last page.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a very creepy, suspenseful story. It was well written, however I was a little underwhelmed at the revelation of the killer. I feel like I called it, but I just wasn't sure how the killer was operatiing...I can't really go into it more without spoilers! The very end really threw me...It was 1am and I gasped and woke up my husband kind of ending, which I love it when an author can throw me for a loop like that. Overall, a solid read, and I would recommend to lovers of horror, thrillers and suspense.
19269684 More than 1 year ago
The Chalk Man is a wicked book. I admit, I figured out who the murderer was, but only due to circumstances I'm sure I'd have missed had it been a movie. The reasoning behind it all was clear. You saw who the culprits were and their motives were raw, passionate and true. The thing is, the story went deeper than there being a killer and discovering who it was. It was a rich story, filled with events that made you wonder, "Why in the world..." As with any story set in the 1980's, there are youthful, tweens riding about on their bikes- getting in to trouble. There's a girl too, to level things out. But the town is in an uproar that stems from Eddie's house (the one telling the story). His mother works at a clinic where abortions are performed. This places characters in confrontations that never seem to end, as well as settle the groundwork for the story. But oh there's so much more. Each character is fleshed out, giving you a relatable feel. What helped is that the story goes back and forth from the past to present day, where Eddie is still the same person . Naturally, he's matured, but because he's telling the story, you feel you know him. For the full review: The Chalk Man C. J. Tudor Crown Publishing Group January 9, 2018 280 pages
Sobryan More than 1 year ago
This was my first time to pick up a C.J. Tudor novel, and I’m glad I did! The debut novel by this English author, who has quite a colorful biography, has set the bar high in the thrill and mystery factor. Too often a mystery novel is predictable. The plot line is easy to determine, and you know who did it long before you get to the end. Not so with “The Chalk Man.” The story about a group of boys and a girl, the passage of time and a handful of chalk had me guessing until the last two or three pages. Eddie aka Ed to his adult friends and his buddies are still haunted by something that happened 30 years ago. To tell more might give away the secrets that unfold, often against the characters’ wishes, and the consequences of those untold tales. ARC provided by NetGalley
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GratefulGrandma More than 1 year ago
I really wanted to love this book, but I think it had so much hype, that it could never live up to it. I did really like it a lot though. I do not want to give the story away so will be brief in my description. The Chalk Man is told in two different time periods, one in 1986 and the other in 2016. The story opens with the death and dismemberment of a young girl. This shapes the characters in the story. Eddie is the narrator and the story is told based on what happened to him in 1986. The group of friends consists of four boys and one girl. When Gavin received a pail of chalk for his 12th birthday, the kids begin to secretly communicate with one another using stick figures drawn in chalk of various colors to know who the message is from. But someone is using white chalk and that is not a colour any of the kids used.. I really enjoyed seeing these kids grow up and become adults. They all changed based on their circumstances, but when needed, they are still there for each other. One of the other storylines deals with an abortion clinic in town (remember this is 1986) and how the townspeople react to it. There is also some situations with bullying and a teacher who has albinism and how the kids react behind his back. As the story progressed, I began to figure out who the murderer was and I was correct, but the actual unveiling was a bit scary. If you like a good thriller/suspense you will enjoy this book. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.