Thursday, 4 January 2018

Review: The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

I was attracted to this book because of the unusual cover, and I am so pleased I downloaded it because it's absolutely brilliant! One of the best books I've read!

The Chalk Man has a dual timeline, with chapters alternating between the 1980s and the present day. In the 1980s, teenager Eddie and his friends leave messages for each other in coloured chalk outside each other's houses. Simple messages, such as where to meet up and whether to hurry. But then the messages start appearing on their own, in white chalk, leading to the body of a murdered girl. In the present day, Eddie is surprised when one of his old friends turns up asking for help with a book he is writing, a book about the killer nicknamed 'The Chalk Man', and his theory that the real murderer was never caught. And then his friend disappears. And the chalk figures begin appearing again...

This book is simply outstanding. I was so gripped I read it in two days flat. The characters are so realistic, so believable, it feels as if they're in the same room, looking over your shoulder as you read. I loved Eddie's dry humour, the nod towards my favourite 80s horror movies, the fiendish little twists, the freshness of the plot, the poignancy of a doomed love affair... And that very final, very clever twist, the one that's easy to miss because you think it's all over, which took me completely by surprise - and that's pretty hard to do!

If you're a wimp like me there are a few passages you might find a bit gory - right from the start - so be warned. They were just about on the edge of my tolerance level, although they weren't gratuitous in any way.

So, thoroughly recommended - particularly to fans of Stephen King (The Body/Stand By Me), Stranger Things and 1980s nostalgiaI predict this will be one of the biggest sellers of 2018. It certainly deserves to be.

Thank you to C.J. Tudor, Michael Joseph, and Netgalley for my copy of this book, which I received in exchange for an honest review.

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