Publication: Crown Publishing, Hardcover, 2018
Genre: Psychological Suspense
Giveaway: I have one copy to give away to someone who likes suspense. Please leave a message by March 3rd telling me why you would like to be entered and I will pick a winner. U.S. only.
Plot: In 1986, Eddie and his friends are scruffy English schoolboys on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy little 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 a solitary adult who 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. Alternating between flashbacks and the present day, The Chalk Man is the kind of suspense novel where the characters are compelling, albeit creepy, and where the twists will surprise even the most cynical reader.
My Impressions: Set in the depressing present, looking back at the sordid past, this is a novel of suspense about four 12-year-old English boys, juggling a surprising number of secrets between them (some they know and some which are just beyond their grasp), and how those secrets have endured and poisoned their adult life. Eddie Adams is at the heart of the story, both as the narrator and because he was in the right place to help save a life at the beginning of the story. As we all have heard, if you save someone’s life, it then belongs to you – or, at the very least, you share a special bond with that person. And it is surely no coincidence that Eddie became a teacher like the odd Mr. Halloran, who taught at the boys’ school and, among other things, saved Eddie and his father from abuse and false accusations, respectively.
The best books are about secrets, and this one is fast paced and full of quirky individuals. It was a quick and entertaining read, marred only by the lack of any appealing character. I was reminded of In the Woods by Tana French but she has a defter hand at creating multi-dimensional characters who are flawed yet likable. However, while French and her narrator Rob deliberately leave questions unanswered, C. J. Tudor is more considerate of her reader and clears up some loose ends at the end, which I appreciated. Then she adds a startling new development on the last page, just to make sure we were still paying attention! Nice touch!
Source: I was provided a pre-publication copy of this book by TLC Book Tours and the publisher for review purposes.
Please join C.J. Tudor for other stops in her tour and follow her on Twitter:
Tuesday, January 2nd: BookBub blog “18 Books for Stephen King Fans Coming in 2018”
Friday, January 5th: BookBub blog and Facebook video “16 Novels We’re Looking Forward to Reading in 2018”
Monday, January 8th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Tuesday, January 9th: @everlasting.charm
Wednesday, January 10th: She Treads Softly
Wednesday, January 10th: Moonlight Rendezvous
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Thursday, January 11th: Books a la Mode – author guest post
Thursday, January 11th: Rockin’ & Reviewing
Friday, January 12th: Snowdrop Dreams
January 15th: BookBub Blog – author guest post “Eight Thrillers with Scary Children/Teenagers”
Tuesday, January 16th: Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, January 16th: Booksie’s Blog
Wednesday, January 17th: Suzy Approved
Wednesday, January 17th: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, January 18th: Lit Wit Wine Dine
Thursday, January 18th: Bibliotica
Friday, January 19th: Write Read Life
Friday, January 19th: 5 Minutes for Books
Monday, January 22nd: What is That Book About
Monday, January 22nd: Ms. Nose in a Book
Tuesday, January 23rd: A Bookworm’s World
Tuesday, January 23rd: The Book Diva’s Reads
Wednesday, January 24th: Girl Who Reads
Thursday, January 25th: Black ‘n Gold Girl’s Reviews
Friday, January 26th: Lovely Bookshelf
Monday, January 29th: A Literary Vacation
Monday, January 29th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Tuesday, January 30th: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, February 1st: No More Grumpy Bookseller
TBD: Jathan and Heather