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

The Chalk Man - C.J. Tudor

*Thanks for the free book @CrownPublishing; it’s my pleasure to be a part of your monthly book send progamme and provide honest reviews for the titles chosen*

According to the early reviews for The Chalk Man, it is the must-read book of 2018! Of course, I had to find out for myself…

Book Description:

In 1986, Eddie and his friends 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 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 Thoughts:

The Chalk Man moves along at a steady pace throughout, the plot is interesting and comes together nicely for a good ending. However, I really struggled to take to this book the way I hoped, it’s billed as a ‘suspense thriller,’ but I didn’t find it suspensefully thrilling. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it but it’s not one I would rush to recommend – maybe another case of setting unrealistic expectations (although, I’m becoming more reluctant to use that phrase because some books have met my exceedingly high expectations.)

It felt more like I was being told a story, rather than experiencing it alongside the characters as I usually do in this type of novel – I didn’t share their emotions or relate to them in any way and I think this caused me to remain at a distance from the plot the entire time. I do, however, appreciate the originality of the characters – and believe based on the personalities Tudor created for them, they’re actions matched them perfectly. I also like that when we meet the characters in the present day, you can totally believe, from the children they were in 1986, that these are the adults they would have grown into.

There was nothing fundamentally wrong with this novel, no major flaws to point out, no errors in timeline or plot – it just wasn’t a perfect fit for me. It had a cool 80’s vibe to the 1986 timeline, the plot held my interest throughout and it was a quick read – but it was missing that excitement factor and for me, the psychological thrills didn’t come through.

Amongst all the early reviews for this title, I am definitely in the minority with my opinion, so maybe read this one for yourself and see how you feel. I would say, if you’re looking for an intense psychological thriller, maybe don’t choose this novel, but if you want a light-hearted novel with dark themes, then pick this one up.

This book is available to buy from: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Book Depository

The Chalk Man publishes: January 2018

24 thoughts on “Book Review: The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

    1. I got the email from the U.K. pub but I already had a copy from Crown so I thought – give a miss and I’m glad I did cos this is definitely not a blog tour worthy review 😅 But, I am in the minority [so far] so hopefully you’ll love it!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. As we’ve discussed I’m right there with you although I think you liked this slightly more than I did. I really think others have done the 4 childhood friends/murder plot line much better and in a more suspenseful manner also. Awesome review!!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I wasn’t convinced till I read Jo’s review. It’s got all the right ingredients: Nordic Noir, small town, murder being investigated by a journalist. So we’ll see… and hopefully my loan for The Life We Bury will come through soon!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Eeek…I just requested and got NetGalley approval for this book. I’m still looking forward to reading it. It will be interesting to see if I feel the way do about it or hopefully enjoy it a bit more 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I always appreciate your reviews and how thorough they are, along with the explanations of why a book did or didn’t work for you. I’m about a third of the way into this myself and so far I wouldn’t classify it as a thriller in any way – I’d put this squarely in suspense, which for me has a different connotation with its own set of expectations. But it does have me hooked so far! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words about my review writing 😊 And you make a very good point – when you use the word “thriller” – readers maybe expect certain elements synonymous with thrillers. I’m glad you’re hooked to this one and I look forward to hearing your final thoughts 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I think our expectations have a huge influence, I totally get why some people don’t want to read reviews of a book until after they’ve read it or choose to go into a book without reading the blurb – as to have no expectations and everything a surprise, haha!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent review! I have been wondering about this title. I’m glad to know your honest opinion of this book. I do like to feel what the characters feel too when reading thrillers. I guess I can delay reading this title. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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