The Chalk Man

The Chalk Man

by C. J. Tudor
4.2 36

NOOK Book(eBook)

View All Available Formats & Editions
Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
Want a NOOK ? Explore Now


The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor

“I haven’t had a sleepless night due to a book for a long time. The Chalk Man changed that.” 
—Fiona Barton, New York Times bestselling author of The Widow

An assured debut that alternates between 1986 and 2016 with unpredictable twists. The Chalk Man fits well with other stories about troubled childhoods such as Stephen King’s novella ‘Stand by Me’… Tudor never misses a beat in showing each character as both a child and an adult while also exploring the foreboding environs of a small town.” - Associated Press

A riveting and relentlessly compelling psychological suspense debut that weaves a mystery about a childhood game gone dangerously awry, and will keep readers guessing right up to the shocking ending

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy 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.
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: 9781524761004
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 01/09/2018
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 3,253
File size: 2 MB

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, voice-over, 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.

Read an Excerpt


The girl’s head rested on a small pile of orange-and-brown leaves.

Her almond eyes stared up at the canopy of sycamore, beech and oak, but they didn’t see the tentative fingers of sunlight that poked through the branches and sprinkled the woodland floor with gold. They didn’t blink as shiny black beetles scurried over their pupils. They didn’t see anything any more, except darkness.

A short distance away, a pale hand stretched out from its own small shroud of leaves as if searching for help, or reassurance that it was not alone. None was to be found. The rest of her body lay out of reach, hidden in other secluded spots around the woods.

Close by, a twig snapped, loud as a firecracker in the stillness, and a flurry of birds exploded out of the undergrowth. Someone approached.

They knelt down beside the unseeing girl. Their hands gently caressed her hair and stroked her cold cheek, fingers trembling with anticipation. Then they lifted up her head, dusted off a few leaves that clung to the ragged edges of her neck, and placed it care- fully in a bag, where it nestled among a few broken stubs of chalk.

After a moment’s consideration, they reached in and closed her eyes. Then they zipped the bag shut, stood up and carried it away.

Some hours later, police officers and the forensic team arrived. They numbered, photographed, examined and eventually took the girl's body to the morgue, where it lay for several weeks,  as if await­ing completion.
It never came. There were extensive searches, questions and appeals but, despite the best efforts of all the detectives and al the town's men, her head was never found, and the girl in the woods was never put together again. 

Chapter 1

Start at the beginning.

The problem was, none of us ever agreed on the exact beginning. Was it when Fat Gav got the bucket of chalks for his birthday? Was it when we started drawing the chalk figures or when they started to appear on their own? Was it the terrible accident? Or when they found the first body?

Any number of beginnings. Any of them, I guess, you could call the start. But really, I think it all began on the day of the fair. That’s the day I remember most. Because of Waltzer Girl, obviously, but also because it was the day that everything stopped being normal.

If our world was a snow globe, it was the day some casual god came along, shook it hard and set it back down again. Even when the foam and flakes had settled, things weren’t the way they were before. Not exactly. They might have looked the same through the glass but, on the inside, everything was different.

That was also the day I first met Mr. Halloran, so, as beginnings go, I suppose it’s as good as any.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Chalk Man 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 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 9 months ago
This book is a great read that kept my complete attention. Do it!
Anonymous 12 days ago
Started it and couldnt put it down. Finished it in one day! Thrilling and exciting to read! Thank you CJ.
Anonymous 11 months ago
I thought the story was very entertaining; couldn't wait to get to the end!
LibbyMcKinmer 18 days 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 6 months 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 8 months 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 11 months 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 12 months 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 12 months 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.
aremid More than 1 year ago
I think I wanted to like this book more than I actually did due to the fact that I had heard so many intriguing things about it. This is a solid first go from CJ Tudor and it was a fun, light read for me but not so much of a thriller like the pre-release reviews would have us believe. The good. Tudor did a good job with the back and forth timeline of the novel. It is hard to get that right but, with a few exceptions of where the linearity got a little muddy, she did well transporting us from 1986 to 2016 and back again. The world building was lovely and believable especially the fair (some imagery that I won't forget there), and the woods. The not so good. The characters reminded me of other novels and movies almost exactly. Not to draw to fine a line, but I pictured the characters of Fat Gav and Nicky as Dustin and Max from Stranger Things. There seemed to be quite a few loose ends that were left unexplained and, in the end, I saw the identity of the real murderer coming from the halfway point. All in all, if you are a fan of murder mystery novels, please pick up this debut offering from CJ Tudor. I have a feeling this summer is going to be a great time for this book and I wish her so much luck. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher and author for allowing me an advanced look at this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Chalk Man is a wonderful mystery/suspense novel. This is the author's first effort and that makes the book even more memorable. The characters were delineated nicely and the plot kept me guessing until the end. The book never dragged and I was immediately enthralled with the setting. The title stems from when Ed, our main character used chalk drawings to communicate with his friends about a murdered kid from when they were growing up. Ed receives a drawing and some chalk in the mail and this motivates Ed to figure out who murdered the boy and why. The tone is charming and evocative of another time, when perhaps we were all safer and when life was easier. I liked this a lot and highly recommend that you buy and read it as soon as you can.
Alfoster More than 1 year ago
Loved this debut thriller mainly because it was so unpredictable! Unlike most, somewhere near the end you may think you have things figured out, but certainly not this one! Going back and forth in time from 1986 to 2016, we see Eddie and his friends just being kids, going to the park, riding bikes, and yikes...finding a headless body! But there is much more to this mystery than just who killed her and why. Delving into the town's (and society's) issues, Tudor explores the timeless themes of sin, redemption, betrayal, deception, guilt, and fear. It's not until the final page that you can truly breathe a sigh of relief that the mysteries are solved. Might keep you up till all hours of the night! So good!
TUDORQUEEN More than 1 year ago
When I was a teenager (and an avid reader even then), I fondly remember devouring every Stephen King book that landed on the bookshelves. Salem's Lot, Pet Cemetery, IT and The Stand are my "classics" and foundation of my reading youth. The reason why I bring this up is, if the author's name was left a mystery, I would have said that Stephen King wrote "The Chalk Man." If I was C.J. Tudor, I would take this as a major compliment. Not only is the writing style reminiscent of Stephen King, but a few things that happened in this book were lifted out of some Stephen King books. Perhaps the author is also a King fan and was paying homage. It didn't feel like plagiarism, it just gave me a feeling of joy and some "aha!" moments and the warm feeling that I still have decades later remembering the Stephen King stories that were so great. There is a scene in this book where a very heated argument takes place at a funeral...and what do you think happens next? Think of the Stephen King book "Pet Cemetery" where passions are heated at the wake for a little boy and a physical fight breaks out. They careen into the coffin as they fight and as it is upended the lid opens and closes a little, revealing a pale hand. I got a thrill when this happened in "The Chalk Man" as I was already sensing and enjoying the "King-like" writing. This funeral incident had to be "King" homage or a major writing coincidence. Some other "King" similarities I picked up on were: -Eddie Adams is 12 years old when he sees his first dead body. This theme also occurs in the Stephen King novella and movie, "Stand by Me." -The theme of kids who bond in friendship, the magic of childhood; something bad happens in their youth and they reunite/revisit the situation as adults- reminiscent of the Stephen King book "IT". The Stephen King similarities aside, this book stands on its own magnificently. There were so many moments when I literally had my mouth open in awe at yet another shocking incident that either opened or closed a chapter. Just to give a general synopsis, in 1986 England, a group of 5 friends on the cusp of being teenagers have a very eventful year. It all starts at the annual fair which they look forward to attending every year (sorry, but I have to bring up Stephen King again...he uses this setting a lot). At the fair, a very shocking and unexpected event occurs, and the book takes off from there. The reference to "The Chalk Man" is twofold; one of the boys gets a mystery birthday gift of a big pail of colored chalks. At first he thinks the gift is lame, until their strange albino teacher Mr. Halloran explains how these chalks can be used as a secret code for the friends to meet up with each other. Then all of a sudden the chalks become the latest "thing," but also become frightening symbols when crude chalk drawings of stick figures portend chilling acts. The story weaves back and forth from 1986 through 2016. Although it is set in England, I kept feeling as though I was reading about a town in the USA. I started to get a bit inpatient during the last 15% of the book for the murder mystery to finally be revealed. However, the beginning of the book lined up in perfect, beautiful symmetry with its ending to my total satisfaction. This was a very fine first book for an author I will now follow with keen interest. Many thanks to Crown Publishing who provided this advance reader copy via NetGalley in exchange for my fair and honest review.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
When I finish a book the hardest thing might just be how to rate it. From a Christian perspective, I have always LOVED thrillers, mysteries, and the occasional horror novel because it is what led me to Christ in the first place. So with that being said, how to rate The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor, her first novel. Knowing how I have set up my personal rating scale this would garner a 3 out of 5, based on sexual content and profanity, but rating it as the world would I would give this a solid 4 out of 5 stars. I always ask myself the same question when novels are lowered on my own rating scale based on the subject matter that most people don't know about going into a novel. Will there be profanity, will there be adult or sexual content or will this be something dealing with violent graphic matters? Most importantly I ask myself, could the story stand alone on its own merits without those things being added for flavor perhaps. In this case, the profanity could have easily been left out and the sexual content could have been toned down in a different way to enhance the warped sense of one character who really is evil personified, and in both cases a yes, helps me to rate a novel in a well-rounded manner. So if you're the author reading this, the answer is yes, in my opinion, profanity and sexual content did not need to be added to move this story line along. While I had my own guesses at the beginning of who I thought the chalk man was, I was sadly mistaken. To me, that is a sign of a brilliant writer's ability to carry the reader along a different perspective that has been there all along, only you simply didn't see it. Kinda of like The Sixth Sense, it isn't until you get to the end to see the revealing that has been there all along. Maybe we simply didn't want to see it. The Chalk Man is a thriller based on two different time periods, one in 1986 and the other in 2016 both involving the same group of kids who grew up together and thus like most, have those found coming of age stories. Only in 1986, Eddie, one of five kids witnesses a terrible accident at a fair, that inevitably changes him without ever realizing it. He was forced to help deal with the outcome of a young girl who could have died without his help. It also bonded him to a mysterious new school teacher who dealt with an albino skin condition that rendered him a bit odd looking. The kids have an unusual method of communicating with one another, stick figures drawn in chalk of various colors to send secret messages. Only those same figures is also a way for a killer to move the children to discover a dismembered body and the possible killer, twenty years later. This is unlike most thrillers you've read before and one I thoroughly enjoyed because it definitely kept you wanting to read more to know if your guess is correct. I received The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor compliments of Crown Publishing, a division of Penguin Random House Publishing Group. This is definitely going to be a writer to watch and can easily see this being made into a movie for the big screen. So many movies are being remade simply because they lack original ideas like this one. Think if it like the Goonies but only a bit darker with a sinister side that not all things are as they should be. Be prepared to look at things a bit differently because this writer is definitely a talent to watch. In my opinion, I would give this a 4 out of 5 stars.