Author: C.J. Tudor
Published: January 9, 2018 by Crown Publishing Group
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Hardcover: 280 pages
My Rating: 4 1/2 stars
Find it on Amazon
Here is a video introduction from the author herself: The Chalk Man
The Chalk Man has been getting a lot of buzz leading into 2018 and rightly so – it is an excellent debut novel. If you’re a member of the Book of the Month club, it was one of the available books in December. It follows an on-trend plot line of a group of friends growing up in a small English village in the 80’s who experience a series of tragedies. Starting with a horrific accident at the carnival, and the arrival of a strange new teacher, and culminating with the discovery of a dismembered body of a girl. It is made all the more creepy by the little stick figure chalk drawings that lead them into the woods to find the body. The chalk drawings started out as a secret way for the boys to communicate with each other, but quickly lead to something more sinister.
With a few gory scenes, it will have you thinking Stephen King, but with the alternating chapters between past and present with this childhood group of friends, fans of Ruth Ware will also feel right at home. The author deftly moves between past and present as we follow this group of boys as they deal with the quirky dynamics of their group, dealing with bullies, having secret crushes and then on to what has become of them in adulthood as they try to make sense of the effects these earlier tragedies have left on them.
There are also several good subplots involving a drowning, a vicar’s daughter who shows up with mysterious bruising, and the animosity the town feels towards the mother of one of the boys who is the only doctor in town who performs abortions. There is a lot going on, but all of this only adds to the suspense of the novel. Buckle up because the twists and turns that keep this story moving will have you at the edge of your seat throughout.