Book Review: The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

“Real friends are there no matter what. Real friends are people you love and hate in equal measure but who are as much a part of you as yourself.”

― C.J. Tudor, The Chalk Man: A Novel

CJ Tudor delivers a powerful picture of a murder and grief that spans several decades in her debut book, The Chalk Man. The story is told in flashbacks from the middle of the 1980s, when the narrator, Eddie, was twelve years old and growing up with his oddball friends, to Eddie as an adult who is still trying to figure out what really happened to the body of a teenage girl that he and his friends discovered in the woods when they were young.

Synopsis from Goodreads...

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.

My reaction to this novel...

I had never read a book by C.J. Tudor, and it left me speechless. The prologue had little effect on me, but when I read the rest of the first chapter, the events’ progression astounded me. I found it so insane that I couldn’t put the book down. I keep seeing the characters from Stranger Things as I read the book. I’m not sure, but they resemble one another that they are both made up of geeky youths who have experienced strange things in their communities. However, those strange things in their community have more to do with murders than monsters.

This novel has received a lot of unfavorable reviews, but in my opinion, it is among the greatest. The way the author depicted the dead and what happened to them made me quite nervous. Because of how vivid my imagination is, even brief descriptions of locations or occurrences may cause my mind to conjure up imaginary happenings as if they were actually taking place in front of me. I was unable to get any sleep after reading all of these awful incidents. I’m contemplating what transpired in this book. I read the entire story in only one and a half days because I was unable to put it down and was compelled to know more.

In fact, I anticipated the outcome and hoped it would actually happen that way since it would leave the readers absolutely stunned. However, it seemed different to me when it was already in front of me and I was reading it. It was both amazing and scary. My jaw dropped in disbelief. It’s one of the few occasions when an author and I agree on how to finish a story since, frequently, some stories are excellent but the endings are completely unsatisfying.

I like this book a lot. The author’s writing style is similar to that of Stephen King’s works which  kept me intrigued from the beginning. I enjoyed how it jumps from when they are children to when they are adults.  I was completely engrossed by Tudor’s relaxed and clear writing style, which had me flipping pages well into the night. It seemed like I was sitting at the table with the author and she was telling me a story. Imagine my astonishment when I googled up Tudor to seek more of her novels and learned this was her first. I guess I’ll have to follow her now to find out the moment she writes more so I can read it.

I won’t reveal anything further about the storyline or the characters since this is a novel to relish, and a reader should know nothing about it so that each piece may be enjoyed fresh. So, if you appreciate Stephen King, horror, and mysteries, you will definitely love this novel.

My Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐✨(4.5/5)

“Rumors are like germs. They spread and multiply almost in a breath and before you know it, everyone is contaminated.”

I firmly believe this to be the case. Actually, rumors are similar to a contagious illness that can infect others. They are continuously circulated and have new or additional stories added to them. They have the potential to destroy faith, trust, and relationships. Rumors are harmful; they have the potential to be fatal on many levels, both emotionally and spiritually.

Where to buy this book...


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