Title: The Chalk Man: A Novel
Author: C.J. Tudor
First published January 1, 2017
280 pages, Hardcover
ISBN: 9781524760984 (ISBN10: 1524760986)
In a small English village in 1986, Eddie and his friends have a secret code of communication – little chalk stick figures. These figures lead them to a dismembered body and change their lives forever.
Fast forward to 2016, Eddie has moved on and left his past behind – until he receives a letter containing a single chalk stick figure. The prank turns deadly when one of Eddie’s friends is found dead.
Eddie must confront his past and solve the mystery of what really happened all those years ago if he wants to save himself and his remaining friends from the same fate. The Chalk Man: A Novel by C.J. Tudor is a gripping thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.
About the Author
Tudor grew up in Nottingham, where she still resides with her partner and daughter. After leaving school at sixteen, she worked various jobs including trainee reporter, radio scriptwriter, shop assistant, ad agency copywriter, and voiceover artist.
During the early nineties, she became a television presenter for Channel 4’s Moviewatch, where she interviewed notable actors such as Sigourney Weaver, Michael Douglas, Emma Thompson, and Robin Williams. She once asked Tim Robbins an inappropriate question that annoyed him and was flattered when Robert Downey Junior showed her his chest.
Although she has been writing since she was young, it was not until her thirties that she took it seriously after receiving encouragement from her English teacher who said he would be disappointed if she did not become a best-selling author or Prime Minister.
The inspiration for her book, The Chalk Man, came from a tub of chalks her friend bought for her daughter’s second birthday. After drawing chalk figures all over the driveway, she discovered eerie stick men all over her backyard that looked sinister in the dark.
She called them creepy, and the idea for the book was born.
When she is not writing, she runs a dog-walking business, caring for her daughter and walking over twenty dogs a week. She is never overdressed and has never owned a handbag.
The last time she wore heels was twelve years ago, and she broke a tooth. Her favorite musicians are The Killers, Foo Fighters, and Frank Turner, and her preferred venue is Rock City.
Her favorite films are Ghostbusters and The Lost Boys, and she admires Stephen King, Michael Marshall, and Harlan Coben’s works.
Tudor enjoys takeaway pizza and champagne or chips with curry sauce after a night out. Her friends call her Caz.
The Chalk Man: A Novel by C.J. Tudor is a gripping, unsettling thriller that will keep readers on edge until the very end. Tudor is a British author who has been compared to Stephen King for her ability to create an eerie, atmospheric mood and her knack for crafting unforgettable, flawed characters.
The novel was first published in 2017 and has since garnered critical acclaim for its stunning writing and a plot that keeps readers guessing. The Chalk Man is told from the perspective of Eddie Adams, a middle-aged man who is haunted by events from his childhood.
When he was a kid, he and his group of friends communicated with each other by drawing chalk figures on the pavement. One summer, the chalk figures started appearing on their own, leading the kids to a gruesome discovery.
Years later, someone starts sending Eddie chalk figures again, prompting him to return to his hometown and confront the demons of his past. Tudor skillfully weaves together past and present, layering on twists and turns until the final, shocking conclusion.
The characters are beautifully drawn, each with their own secrets and motivations. Eddie is a sympathetic narrator, flawed and damaged but ultimately determined to uncover the truth.
The setting, a small English town, is vividly evoked, with Tudor capturing the claustrophobia and paranoia of a community on edge. At its heart, The Chalk Man explores the idea of memory and how the past can come back to haunt us.
It’s a novel about the lies we tell ourselves, the secrets we keep, and the cost of keeping those secrets buried. While it’s a tense, gripping thriller, Tudor also infuses the story with moments of tenderness and humor that make the characters feel real and human.
The writing in The Chalk Man is superb, with Tudor demonstrating an ear for dialogue and a talent for creating vivid descriptions. The pacing is excellent, with the tension building steadily until the nail-biting climax.
The only criticism that could be leveled at the novel is that some of the twists and turns feel a little contrived, but this is a minor quibble in the scheme of things. Overall, The Chalk Man is a thrilling, atmospheric read that will appeal to fans of Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, and Tana French.
It’s a beautifully crafted novel that will keep you guessing until the very end. Highly recommended.