Exclusive Excerpt: The Creepy Thriller 'The Chalk Man'

Posted by Cybil on October 16, 2017
It's never too early to get a jump start on the big, creepy thrillers of 2018! In this exclusive excerpt from debut novelist C.J. Tudor's The Chalk Man, a group of boys in 1986 share a secret code, communicating with drawings of little chalk figures. Then, one day, a mysterious chalk man drawing leads them to a dismembered body…


The girl's head rested on a small pile of orange-and-brown leaves.

Her almond eyes stared up at the canopy of sycamore, beech and oak, but they didn't see the tentative fingers of sunlight that poked through the branches and sprinkled the woodland floor with gold. They didn't blink as shiny black beetles scurried over their pupils. They didn't see anything any more, except darkness.

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A short distance away, a pale hand stretched out from its own small shroud of leaves as if searching for help, or reassurance that it was not alone. None was to be found. The rest of her body lay out of reach, hidden in other secluded spots around the woods.

Close by, a twig snapped, loud as a firecracker in the stillness, and a flurry of birds exploded out of the undergrowth. Someone approached.

They knelt down beside the unseeing girl. Their hands gently caressed her hair and stroked her cold cheek, fingers trembling with anticipation. Then they lifted up her head, dusted off a few leaves that clung to the ragged edges of her neck, and placed it carefully in a bag, where it nestled among a few broken stubs of chalk.

After a moment's consideration, they reached in and closed her eyes. Then they zipped the bag shut, stood up and carried it away. Some hours later, police officers and the forensic team arrived. They numbered, photographed, examined and eventually took the girl's body to the morgue, where it lay for several weeks, as if awaiting completion.

It never came. There were extensive searches, questions and appeals but, despite the best efforts of all the detectives and all the town's men, her head was never found, and the girl in the woods was never put together again.

Start at the beginning.

The problem was, none of us ever agreed on the exact beginning. Was it when Fat Gav got the bucket of chalks for his birthday? Was it when we started drawing the chalk figures or when they started to appear on their own? Was it the terrible accident? Or when they found the first body?

Any number of beginnings. Any of them, I guess, you could call the start. But really, I think it all began on the day of the fair. That's the day I remember most. Because of Waltzer Girl, obviously, but also because it was the day that everything stopped being normal.

If our world was a snow globe, it was the day some casual god came along, shook it hard and set it back down again. Even when the foam and flakes had settled, things weren't the way they were before. Not exactly. They might have looked the same through the glass but, on the inside, everything was different.

That was also the day I first met Mr. Halloran, so, as beginnings go, I suppose it's as good as any.

You can read the rest of the story when The Chalk Man hits bookshelves on January 9, 2018. In the meantime, add it to your Want to Read shelf.

See the complete coverage of Horror Week including:
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Gather Around for Terrifying Ghost Stories

Comments Showing 1-12 of 12 (12 new)

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message 1: by Carol (new)

Carol SUPER GOOD READ! Don't miss it!

message 2: by Thomas (new)

Thomas Bruso I pre-ordered a hardback copy. I can't wait.

message 3: by Chelsea (new)

Chelsea Humphrey Loved this one! <3

message 4: by Pam (new)

Pam Carmichael Got to have this one!!!

message 5: by Michelle (new)

Michelle WANT!!!!

message 6: by Janice (new)

Janice I'll skip it.

message 7: by Bigsna (new)

Bigsna whoa! super creepy indeed!

message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Sigh...yet ANOTHER book that liberally borrows a style or form from a Stephen King novel and tries to freshen it up. Go read IT. I bet you it'll be the better read of the two.

I've become really wary of "brilliant" new novels with "shocking" endings that "will keep you guessing" ...the last one I fell for was The Fourth Monkey, and it was more like monkey shit. Boring and predictable and by the numbers. Nothing shocking or guess-worthy about it.

Hope this one is different, but I doubt it.

message 9: by Pam (new)

Pam Carmichael Tobin wrote: "Sigh...yet ANOTHER book that liberally borrows a style or form from a Stephen King novel and tries to freshen it up. Go read IT. I bet you it'll be the better read of the two.

I've become really w..."

Well crap I hope it is good, I want to read it and I am a huge Stephen King fan so I know what cha mean!

Kalyanikidneycarecentre I have always liked books and movies of thriller genre. Hope this would be a great read.
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message 11: by Pam (new)

Pam Carmichael Lava wrote: "This excerpt is very compelling. Good enough to make the readers of thriller genre, seek the book stores in January. Thanks.
Visit: Lava Engineering"

You are so welcome Lava!

message 12: by Pam (new)

Pam Carmichael I so agree with you all!! Just gotta have it lol

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