Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

The Chalk Man: A Novel

Rate this book
In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy 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.

280 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2017

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

C.J. Tudor

16 books6,281 followers
C. J. Tudor was born in Salisbury and grew up in Nottingham, where she still lives with her partner and young daughter.

She left school at sixteen and has had a variety of jobs over the years, including trainee reporter, radio scriptwriter, shop assistant, ad agency copywriter and voiceover.

In the early nineties, she fell into a job as a television presenter for a show on Channel 4 called Moviewatch. Although a terrible presenter, she got to interview acting legends such as Sigourney Weaver, Michael Douglas, Emma Thompson and Robin Williams. She also annoyed Tim Robbins by asking a question about Susan Sarandon’s breasts and was extremely flattered when Robert Downey Junior showed her his chest.

While writing the Chalk Man she ran a dog-walking business, walking over twenty dogs a week as well as looking after her little girl.

She’s been writing since she was a child but only knuckled down to it properly in her thirties. Her English teacher once told her that if she ‘did not become Prime Minister or a best-selling author’ he would be ‘very disappointed.’

The Chalk Man was inspired by a tub of chalks a friend bought for her daughter’s second birthday. One afternoon they drew chalk figures all over the driveway. Later that night she opened the back door to be confronted by weird stick men everywhere. In the dark, they looked incredibly sinister. She called to her partner: ‘These chalk men look really creepy in the dark . . .’

She is never knowingly over-dressed. She has never owned a handbag and the last time she wore heels (twelve years ago) she broke a tooth.

She loves The Killers, Foo Fighters and Frank Turner. Her favourite venue is Rock City.

Her favourite films are Ghostbusters and The Lost Boys. Her favourite authors are Stephen King, Michael Marshall and Harlan Coben.

She is SO glad she was a teenager in the eighties.

She firmly believes that there are no finer meals than takeaway pizza and champagne, or chips with curry sauce after a night out.

Everyone calls her Caz.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
19,591 (20%)
4 stars
38,038 (40%)
3 stars
27,868 (29%)
2 stars
6,884 (7%)
1 star
1,719 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 12,295 reviews
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,421 reviews77.6k followers
February 6, 2019
I haven't felt this sure of a book's worthiness to be read since I picked up The Dry by Jane Harper back in January. I'll admit, I find myself enjoying a majority of the books that I read; I don't know if I'm just not as picky as other readers or if, after so many years of reading, I generally can tell what will tickle my fancy. That said, there are the books you enjoy, and then there are THOSE books. You know the ones I mean; the unicorns, the diamonds in the rough, the ones you'll be shoving in peoples face screaming "OH MYLANTA READ THIS BOOK! LET'S TALK ABOUT IT!!!" because it's just that good. Well, it's official-this one gets the highly prestigious Holy Guacamole stamp of approval from The Suspense Is Thrilling Me. Please, please, hold your applause.

After two close friends had read an arc of this (one of which sent me her prized copy to borrow because she's the bestest book bestie ever), I knew I had to pick it up immediately. I was nervous to get myself too hyped up over it, as I tend to become disappointed when that happens, but if there was ever a book worthy of being hyped this was it baby! I really don't want to say anything about the plot, other than it was constantly twisting and turning in ways I couldn't predict. This was a huge bonus, but I adore how this wasn't the focal point of the story; the entire plot wasn't dependent on cloak and dagger tricks yet was enhanced by the many reveals along the way. The story is told between past and present, but our narrator is one consistent voice recalling events from the past and telling the present plot, which gives a natural ease in following along. There are some graphic descriptions of violence in the act and in the aftermath, so those with a sensitive stomach may want to give this a hard pass, but otherwise I can't think of a single reason not to pick this book up if you're a fan of twisty psychological thrillers.

I struggle in believing that The Chalk Man is a debut novel for author C.J. Tudor; the writing quality is so excellent you could have told me a seasoned, bestselling author had written this and I would have believed you without question. The complex nature of the story, the insertion of comic relief and dark humor, as well as equal parts action and characterization inserted really made for the trifecta of perfect books. If I could give this novel 100 stars I would do so in a heartbeat! Sometimes you can just tell early on which books will be buzz worthy in the coming seasons, and I truly believe that The Chalk Man will be talked about non-stop by fans looking for their next psychological thriller in the crime fiction realm. Go ahead and pre-order this one, mark it on your TBR, do whatever you need to do to make sure you don't miss out on grabbing this book the SECOND it hits shelves. I'll be buying a finished copy for my personal collection as I can see this being a reread in the future for myself, although realistically I'll likely shove it at someone and make them read it instead. HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!!!!!

*Sorry, did I mention that I liked this book? Yes? Ok, just making sure. :)
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,946 reviews292k followers
February 5, 2018
2 1/2 stars. This book was okay, but maybe it was grossly over-hyped because I really expected it to be more gripping than it actually was. It's one of the buzziest books of 2018, it's set in small town England (home!), and yet it was so fricking slow.

I've just recently read Harper's Force of Nature and I'm currently starting Anatomy of a Scandal and both of these books are just way more engrossing and thrilling than The Chalk Man. It felt like one of those books where there's a premise and, after that, I sit turning more and more pages, waiting and waiting for something to happen to pull me in, to care, to want to know what's going on... and then suddenly I was at the end of the book.

For me, there was absolutely zero connection to any of the characters. The Chalk Man alternates between 1986, when Eddie and his friends leave coded messages in chalk for one another until a gruesome crime twists the symbols for a sinister purpose, and the present, in which Eddie and his friends start to receive little chalk man drawings once again.

There were a few creepy moments that were highlights, though most of them were dreams which took some of the thrill out. Eddie did nothing for me. His character was emotionally dry and it was strange how not a single one of his relationships seemed important - his friends, his mother, his lodger whom he had a crush on... experiencing things through Eddie's eyes made it difficult to care about anyone. I was detached from the characters. I was detached from the murders. I was detached from the whole story.

The novel plods along, revealing things that made no impact on me. Even the "twist" is not really a twist for anyone who . The slowness gradually fades into an anticlimax and the book peters out. It's an interesting idea that Tudor had, but unfortunately that never translated into a compelling story for me.

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube
Profile Image for Deanna .
655 reviews12.4k followers
July 4, 2018
My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpress.com/

3.5 Stars

After hearing so many great things about “The Chalk Man” I decided I had to read it. This book was very hyped up and I hoped I wasn’t expecting too much. I went into it with an open mind and hoped for the best.

The book has a rather morbid opening, a gruesome discovery in the woods. I was immediately intrigued.

1986 - Eddie and his friends always met up on Saturday but THIS Saturday was different …the FAIR was in town. The fair had always been special but this was even better because it was the first time they were allowed to go on their own. No parents or other adults with them --- in their words… “it was going to be Ace”

“I could already hear the thump, thump of the fairground music, and smell the burgers and candyfloss. Today was going to be perfect”

But what starts as a wonderful day at the fair…ends in tragedy. It was the last normal day for all of them. The terrible day at the fair showed Eddie just how fast life can change.

“I understood how things can change in an instant. All the stuff we take for granted can just be ripped away”

But there was even more horror to come…

Life goes on and everyone does their best to put that day behind them. But it’s always there in the back of Eddie’s mind. When one of Eddie’s friends receives a bucket of chalk for his birthday, the boys are far from impressed. However, they soon find a good use for the chalk. It’s a great way to leave private messages for each other. But then the chalk figures start appearing on their own…

2016 - Eddie (Ed) is now forty-two years old. He’s tried hard to put the past behind him. Then a letter arrives from an unknown sender. When Ed sees what is inside the envelope he hopes it’s a joke or a prank. But it soon becomes clear that it is not a joke. It seems the past doesn’t want to be left behind. For Ed to truly move on it means he somehow has to figure out what really happened all those years before.

So many secrets…

“Everyone has secrets, things they know they shouldn’t do but do anyway. Mine was……

NOPE! I am not going to finish that sentence. You’ll have to read the book if you want to find out.


I find it hard to believe that “The Chalk Man” is C.J. Tudor’s debut novel. She knows how to write a story that pulls the reader in. There was so much going on, alternating between 1986 and 2016, different story-lines almost. But everything comes together. Some parts were a bit gruesome for my taste but I found the rest of the story made up for it.

I thought that this was a well-written read with a unique story-line, compelling situations, and some great twists. I really wanted to find out how everything was going to come together but I had to stop myself from jumping ahead as I found I almost missed a few things that the author strategically slipped in here and there. There were a few things I wished I had answers for but overall, I thought it all came together well. And that ending? I NEVER saw it coming.

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Maureen .
1,328 reviews7,102 followers
August 20, 2017
Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

I know it's unusual to start a review by talking about the end of a book, but oh boy what an excellent ending that was!

12 year old Eddie Adams and his friends are like any other group of twelve year olds, carefree summer days messing about as kids do, until the day the fair visits the village of Anderbury. A Waltzer carriage breaks away at great speed and careens into the crowd, causing life changing injuries to one teenage girl in particular. That was bad enough, but it was also the day that Eddie met 'The Chalk Man'

Eddie and his mates devise a secret code made up of chalk messages in different colours - each colour being assigned to one of the gang, so they know exactly which one of them wrote each message. They leave messages at each other's homes, and it provides weeks of fun until the day they discover chalk figures leading them to a dead body, but none of the gang had left these messages!

The storyline flits between 1986 and 2016, but how the events of 30 years earlier affect these friends in the present I'm not telling! But rest assured it's a completely riveting journey. There was a great mystery at the heart of it, with some chilling, heart stopping moments, and many twists and turns. The characters were perfect and the whole thing kept me on tenterhooks right the way through. C.J.Tudor has a talent for sure, and it's hard to believe this is her debut novel. Spooky, gripping, compelling!

If a movie director doesn't pick up on this one I'll be very surprised!

*Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin UK, Michael Joseph for my ARC in exchange for an honest review*
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
3,921 reviews35.4k followers
November 3, 2019

If more mystery suspense books were written like this one -- I’d read them more often than I do!!!!!

ABSOLUTE FAVORITE MYSTERY SUSPENSE novel I’ve read all year!!!!!

There is something that feels very different about this book - than other mystery thrillers I’ve read. Wholesome and creepy! Warmth with gore? How is it possible?
At times the storytelling is humorous - clever - and charming - other times - my goodness I was shaking my head....( as in YUCK, YIKES & WRONG...just WRONG)......
But most of the time —�my mind was on full alert — TRYING TO FIGURE OUT THE BIG PICTURE.....fitting the mysterious pieces together. Tons of surprises!!!!

A sign of a terrific book for me is when I keep thinking about it - BETWEEN my reading sessions. I kept thinking about the different characters — I felt like I lived in the small town Anderbury, in Southern England. I thought about ‘each’ of the characters. ( minor ones too) —� I feel that even to describe each of the characters different characteristics- and behaviors are mini spoilers - as I enjoyed learning about them myself - other readers might too....so this is a ‘hold’s back’ review.

The heart of ‘what’ happened in the small town of Anderbury..... took place over one summer. The chalk men were all that anyone remembered about the summer of 1986. People got hurt that summer - people died - yet, the drawings of chalk figures were what remain in people’s memories years later, in 2016. But the two were irrevocably intertwined.

Everyone was on edge in the summer of 1986: there was a horrific accident - an attack - bullying - deaths - suspicion and wondering if someone you knew was capable of brutal violence...

“Nothing felt fresh or colorful anymore or innocent anymore. Like the whole town had been temporarily suspended in its own dusty time capsule”.

Lots of “what if’s”......to ponder. AWESOME NOVEL!!!!

Thank You Netgalley, Crown Publishing, and huge Kudos to C. J. Tudor
Profile Image for Susanne.
1,157 reviews36.5k followers
November 6, 2017
5 Stars.

Now This is How You do It!!

C.J. Tudor has written One of the Best Thrillers of the YEAR my friends.  If there is one mystery you decide to pick up - it should be this one!!

Reminiscent of Stephen King’s The Body - known to most people as the movie Stand By Me - “The Chalk Man” is a story about 5 young friends: (four boys and a girl), who go through an experience at the cusp of adolescence, something fierce and terrifying. Something that haunts them for the rest of their lives.

As kids in 1986, they live life freely: hanging out at the playground, riding bikes, sending coded messages to each other using different colored chalk. And then they discover something and it’s bad.  It changes everything.

Fast forward to 2016 and everyone is quite grown up. Eddie known known as Ed, (one of the kids who made the discovery) is a teacher, living in the house he grew up in. The past haunts him, as it does the rest of the friends who stayed behind, including Gav and Hoppo. If only the past stayed in the past. Yet bad things: they keep happening. And somehow, Chalk Men keep appearing and Ed can’t figure out how or why. He knows it means something. He and the gang have to figure it out even if it’s the last thing they want. And even if it spells trouble.

“The Chalk Men” reads like an old school mystery.. I felt like I was back in the 80’s, living life, hanging out with my friends after school.. everything felt really familiar - well, except for the bad stuff that kept happening to Eddie, Gav, Nikki, Hoppo and Mike. Yeah that stuff? It never happened to me. (LOL!!)

This book wowed me big time. I couldn’t tear myself away. The characters, they felt like friends. Each one vivid, rich, alive... And what the kids discover? All I can say, I don’t know how they slept at night.. How it impacts them as adults and what happens to them then? Unfrakkinbelievable. C.J. Tudor knocked me for a loop. I didn’t see it coming. And I tried, believe you, me.

So what else can I tell you? This is a suspense novel you absolutely MUST-READ. If you don’t, you are missing out on one of the best mysteries out there.

This was a traveling sister read. It included Brenda, Norma, Lindsay, Diane, Melisa and Rita.

Thank you to NetGalley, Crown Publishing and C.J. Tudor for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Published on NetGalley, Goodreads, Twitter and Facebook on 11.4.17.
*Will be published on Amazon on 1.9.18.
Profile Image for Crumb.
189 reviews518 followers
June 19, 2018
Scenario One:
When you meet the gorgeous, charismatic, husband type..

Sometimes when you go on a first date, there is an instant connection and you know that this is it. I've found the one. Maybe he took you to a play, or just a really nice dinner. But in all honesty, location doesn’t matter. He may have pulled out your chair, opened your car door, and took off your coat. By the end of the evening, you were trying to think of ways to prolong the date, you didn't want to go home. You were also hoping for a kiss. Finally, when he does kiss you, there were sparks, you had chills! I’m talking major fireworks, ladies.. you know what I mean. Then he left and for the next couple of days you were watching your phone, waiting for it to ring.. finally, it did.

Scenario Two:
When you meet the eh..not so much..let's just be friends..type

This is your first date with someone your friend set you up with and you are really excited. You think to yourself, "maybe this will be my last first date I ever have to go on." You meet him.. he is OK, not bad looking. You go out to dinner and there is nice conversation. The date wasn’t terrible, but there was no passion, no instant chemistry. You think to yourself, "maybe he just isn't good at the art of a first date." Perhaps, the second date will be better. You decide to go on a second date and it is good, not great. Then he pulls you in for your first kiss (you didn’t really want to kiss him on the first date).. it is 'eh'. But do you really want 'eh?'.. No, you don't. You don't want to settle. You want fireworks.

If you are still reading my review, first thank you. Second, this will hopefully start to make more sense. I'm going to get to the actual book now! The description in scenario two is exactly how I felt about this book. I felt like I was waiting for something to happen. . . the.. whole..entire… book. And finally stuff happened, but it was a case of: too little, too late.

Yes there was murder, mystery, gore, and even some intrigue! All good ingredients for a thriller, right? But I didn't find a uniqueness if you will, something that really set it apart from other thrillers that I've read, and loved. Maybe I'm asking for too much, but maybe I'm not. I don't want to settle.. and I don't think I should have to. I want to be wooed! I want to be swept off my feet.. and as an ardent lover of books, I know there are books capable of achieving this.. Unfortunately, this wasn’t one of them.

Note: I read this as a buddy read with Jen. We setup a thread to discuss the book. If you would like to see our comments, please refer to https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

I was given this book from the publisher to read and review, however this did not influence my opinion in anyway. Thank you to the author and the publisher for giving me an opportunity to read this.
Profile Image for Lala BooksandLala.
500 reviews61.2k followers
June 12, 2019
So I picked this book up for a video. Last year it was nominated for a Goodreads choice award, and my video involved reading all the finalists in the mystery/thriller category. The Chalk Man ended up not making it that far, so I tossed it in the black hole that is my TBR closet, never really intending to read it. Fast forward 5 months, with so many of you pushing me to give it a try- and guess what? You were right. This is one of my favourite mystery books I've read this year so shout out to all of you for convincing me not to just get rid of it.

This is one of my favourite thrillers I've read so far this year. We all know I love a domestic thriller in dual timelines where there's someone revealing the truth about their mysterious past. This one had total Stephen King vibes, set in the 80s with Eddie and his childhood friends- and then 20 years later we're following Eddie as an adult dealing with his past coming back to haunt him. There are creepy chalk drawings, unreliable characters, some predictable elements that I can get over due to their sharp timing, and just an overall well paced, smart narrative.
Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,543 reviews24.6k followers
November 22, 2017
For a debut novel this is astoundingly good, and it has the feel of a classic novel. It expertly moves between two timelines, events that occurred in 1986 to the present. Set in the small town of Anderbury, 4 friends, Eddie 'Munster' Adams, Fat Gav, Metal Mickey, Hoppo and Nicky are 12 years old, whiling away the summer holidays getting into mischief on their bikes, having fun, evolving secret communications through chalk men symbols and in search of excitement and adventure. A series of mishaps, tragedies and a macabre murder is to mar and haunt their lives. The narrative is delivered from Eddie's perspective whose mother is a doctor performing abortions which attract vociferous and nasty protests led by a local reverend and his supporters. Eddie's father is a writer for whom dementia takes hold early, leaving Eddie worried that he too will fall victim to it. Eddie becomes a teacher, with a penchant for the drink, still close to Fat Gav, now in a wheelchair, and Hoppo. He is in his forties, still living in his parents home, with a young lodger, Chloe, for whom he harbours an unseemly covert attraction, and the ageing process has not been kind to him. He is visited by the past and the dead, and experiencing vivid nightmares. The friends receive through the post ominous reminders of their youth with the menacing figure of the Chalk Man. And once again murder takes place, leaving Eddie feeling that he has no choice but return to the past to find out who killed the Waltzer girl, Elisa.

Tudor paints a picture of Anderbury, a town with some nasty characters, full of lies, secrets, rumours, seething resentments, violence and hypocrisy. Nicky has bruise after bruise appearing on her body and she lives in fear of her fire and brimstone father. Bricks are thrown into Eddie's home, and disturbing packages delivered, as his mother is hounded by anti-abortionists. The Waltzer girl suffers horrific injuries that Eddie witnesses at the Fair, her life is saved by the heroic Mr Halloran, with the help of Eddie. Mr Halloran, an English teacher and artist, saves Eddie from Sean, Metal Mickey's brother, and his bullying and brutal gang from a horrific scenario that takes place in the woods. Mr Halloran is held hostage by his feelings for another, which Eddie becomes privy to, an ominous portent to the tragedy that is to follow. In the present, Eddie meets with Metal Mickey who has a proposition for him. Eddie's journey into the past takes him deep into his own psyche, and a town reluctant to face the truth about its past.

This is a dark and atmospheric coming of age novel, beautifully written, tense and suspenseful. Tudor has the reader gripped with his artful and distinct characters, making them never less than compelling. You feel that the group of boys and Nicky feels vibrantly authentic and the creation and development of the character of Eddie is genius. Anderbury is a reflection of many a small town, and the undercurrents of feelings that swarm in such places, the pettiness, the rumours, the conflicts, the poverty, and the need to preserve secrets and reputation. A stolen bike and the giving and placing of a ring highlight the law of unintended consequences. A fantastic must read novel which I highly recommend! Many thanks to Penguin Michael Joseph for an ARC.
Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,034 reviews3,554 followers
February 3, 2018
It appears I’m in the minority on this one.
But as hard as I tried, I just couldn’t connect with this book. I’d been excited about its debut for months. Finally, at time of release I was first in line! If only the book lived up to my anticipation. Sorry to say, it didn’t.

Very reminiscent of Stand by Me, a coming-of-age themed book based around a group of 12 year-old boys. And in this case, their one female friend. Told through present and past timelines.

I kept waiting for a storyline that would take off but instead remained flat. There were elements of mystery mixed with a sprinkle of horror and maybe supernatural? I thought...Oh boy, here we go! Only for it turn in another direction.... and Ahhh, once again I was disappointed.

There are some fantastic positive reviews for this book. So if it’s on your list and you’ve been anxiously waiting, don’t let this review hold you back!
My fingers are crossed it will work for you and you’ll end up loving it!
Profile Image for Melissa.
647 reviews28.6k followers
March 27, 2019
The time for my childhood bogeyman has gone. I’m an adult now. Time to face the Chalk Man.

Before I could even finish The Hiding PlaceC.J. Tudor’s sophomore offering—I resigned myself to the fact that The Chalk Man would end up in my hands sooner rather than later. What can I say, the foreboding tone of that storyline and deliciously dark happenings piqued my curiosity. What else was this author capable of?

It’s highly unusual for me to pick up a second of an author’s books in such close proximity to the first, mood and the desire to mix things up typically the deterrent. The one downside that quickly made itself known, the overlap or repetition, practically leapt off the page. Had I spaced out the reads, I might not have noticed how similar Eddie (The Chalk Man) and Joe (The Hiding Place) actually are. Both drunks and teachers (what a combo), living in the small villages they grew up in, places forever marred by one tragic event. The two men finding themselves in the midst of an uninitiated search for answers to what really went down when they were kids. As strange as this might be, considering just how many faults he presents to readers and expects them to overlook, I found Joe’s voice a tad more compelling than Eddie’s.

C.J. Tudor flawlessly lands the gruesome opening here; her words sure to capture attention, demanding the pages be turned at a frequent pace.

Utilizing timeline flips—back and forth between 1986 and 2016—Tudor unravels the truth behind the girl left chopped to pieces in the woods.

Eddie Munster and his group of friends—Metal Mickey, Fat Gav, Hoppo and Nicky—might conjure Stranger Things vibes for fans of the show, which I have to say, I enjoyed. Riding around town on their bikes, waiting for trouble to find them, while leaving secret codes disguised as chalk stick figures, made the 1986 timeline the more entertaining of the two. It was almost wholesome in a way—reminiscent of times past when kids were allowed to roam free and be kids until sundown—which feels like a strange adjective to use when describing suspense steeped in darkness, but fitting nonetheless.

While I liked this story and the fantastically frightful note Tudor ended on, I have to award the top spot to The Hiding Place. Which tells me, the author's voice and edge only continue to intensify. Let’s hope Tudor's third emulates all of the things that made her first two offerings such compulsively readable novels—the dark nature, the thought-provoking snippets of inner dialogue and the enthralling characters. Maybe she'll even pick someone other than a boozy educator to the tell the story or a woman perhaps?
Profile Image for emma.
1,822 reviews45.6k followers
April 22, 2022
I am sick of a lot of things.

I am sick of studying. I am sick of eating anything other than desserts in the name of “““health.””” I am sick of pretending as a society that Jonathan is an important part of the show Stranger Things, when we all must know that the show would be 200% better without his scary-looking face and inability to act.


But I may not be as sick of anything as I am sick of books like this one.

I love thrillers. I love reading books that creep me out and confuse and shock me and keep me turning pages long into the night because I can’t put it down.

I define a thriller as a book that thrills, and by that definition, maybe one in ten “thrillers” I read actually qualify.

This one really f*cking doesn’t.

This is just The Girl on the Train with a male protagonist who reallyyyy needs to have sex with someone before it turns into a national emergency.

Yes. This is just as alcoholism-focused and monotonous and plotless and overwhelmingly British and boring as The Girl on the Train. It, too, has no plot or twists or creepiness or shock value. Like that horrible bestseller, it has an off-the-charts unlikable protagonist and not much else.

The writing style is grating. What I believe are supposed to be twists are just as boring as everything else. The reveals are mundane. The story alternates between the childhood of the main character, Eddie, in 1986 and the present day, and it’s hard to choose which is the more punishing side.

I don’t know how many times I’ll have to say this. Maybe infinitely. Maybe I’ll just have to keep saying this until I forget to say anything else and my lifelong mission will be to drill this into the minds of wannabe thriller writers everywhere:

I want thrills. I don’t want long descriptions of drinking and drunkenness. I don’t want protagonists so unprofoundly introspective that every other statement is followed by pointless wonderings on the state of the world and of humanity. I don’t want confused metaphors or reuse and reuse and reuse of maybe-creepy descriptions out of a seeming inability to think of anything new or better. (Shoutout to the chalk men drawings and Mr. Halloran’s albinism in this book.) I REALLY don’t want in-depth sensory descriptions of unclean teenage d*ck. (Sorry.)


That’s my bottom line.

Thanks to Penguin First to Read for the ARC.


hey, the chalk man! the girl on the train called. it wants its lack of thrills and boring plot and trodding first half and horrible main character and alcoholism and overwhelming britishness back.

(it was a long phone call.)

review to come

(thanks to Penguin First to Read for the ARC)
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,068 reviews2,669 followers
December 21, 2022
A young woman is murdered and cut into pieces, her body parts (minus the head) left in the woods to be found by four 12 year old boys. The story is told by Ed, a high school teacher who is one of the four boys who found the body. Most of the story either takes place in 1986 or 2016 as we learn about the time leading up to the discovery of the body and other mysterious happenings in the town afterwards.

I love reading a book that I don't want to put down until the end and that's how I felt about this book. I enjoyed the characters even if I didn't like some of them at all. I look forward to reading more from C.J. Tudor.

Update: 11/27/2022 I liked this one but I always have questions when I'm finished with a Tudor book. This one did make a big impression on me because of a certain health issue and it's the Tudor book that I remember the most.

Published January 9th 2018
Profile Image for j e w e l s.
307 reviews2,342 followers
October 29, 2017

the title
the author's bio
the author's acknowledgments at end of book
that perfect cover
suspenseful, addictive, spooky story
a combination of STRANGER THINGS (Netflix series) and STAND BY ME (80's movie)

The only reason I couldn't give all the stars to this very fun book is due to too many co-winky dinks towards the big reveal at the end. A bit too implausible.

I love the 80's vibe of little boys riding around on their bikes getting into all kinds of mischief and seeing things they shouldn't...


thanks to NetGalley, I was able to read and review this book! It will be published in January 2018.
Profile Image for Holly  B (busy month catching up).
799 reviews1,807 followers
October 13, 2018
Chalk men lurking...

I'm sure we all have drawn a chalk man or a chalk girl, but never with the consequences that this young group of kids endure!

A very clever thriller full of seething secrets. I read the description for this book and I wasn't sure that this would be something I would enjoy, but I was mesmerized by the slow unraveling of this tale!

Told from childhood (1986) to present day (2016) by one of the boys, Eddie. The author's writing transported me back and forth to each time period. The group of friends use chalk drawings to secretly communicate to each other. Terrible secrets are revealed, frightening scenes are described, and someone will die! We are told to "beware of the chalk man". Will the truth be uncovered?

Nothing could distract me while reading this book! I think almost EVERYONE would enjoy this suspenseful, unique, and unpredictable thriller.

I won this ebook via Penguin and I am so thrilled I chose this one!
Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
2,011 reviews15.7k followers
November 30, 2017
well HOT damn!!!5 BIG chalk drawn stars🌟

WOW! I cannot believe this is this authors debut book.... it was just so extremely well thought out, the characters were well-developed, the pacing of the plot was perfect, I really just can’t think of anything wrong with this book....

The story is told from the perspective of Ed.... with two different timelines his present life as a teacher in 2016 and his 12-year-old memories in 1986....

Ed and his buddies find a dead body in the woods, and the murder has never quite been solved (at least not in Ed’s mind).... The boys had used chalk drawings to communicate with one another back in the day.... so when Ed receives a drawing and a piece of chalk in the mail, he begins his quest to figure out what really happened all those years ago.... I don’t want to say any more than that and ruin it... just know you will go on a wonderful adventure with Ed filled with twists and turns and revelations you never will see coming.....

In addition to this fantastic mystery filled with these wonderful characters, was the nostalgia of the 1980s....as somebody who spent all of her teenage years in the 80s, I thought the author did such an amazing job of making me long for those good old days.... A time when you could ride your bike to the playground, hang out with your friends all day, and didn’t need to come home until the street lights came on.... I didn’t grow up near woods, I never found a dead body, but this book did definitely make me feel a little nostalgic for my childhood....

Can’t wait to see what this author has in store for us next!

*** thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ***
Profile Image for Meredith (Slowly Catching Up).
780 reviews12.2k followers
December 8, 2017

“NEVER ASSUME. QUESTION everything. Always look beyond the obvious.”

Creepy psychological thriller about a group of teenagers who find a dead body buried in the woods in 1986. While the killer was apprehended, all was not as it seemed.

When they were 12 years old, Eddie, Hoppo, Metal Mickey, Fat Gav, and Nicky were playing in the woods when they notice drawings of chalk men. The drawings lead them to make a gruesome discovery. This event haunts them for the rest of their lives.

In 2016,“Chalk Man” drawings begin to appear once again, causing a great deal of unease amongst the former group of friends. Events are shared from Eddie’s POV, flashing back and forth between 1986 & 2016. Secrets are slowly uncovered and friendships are tested, as Eddie tries to unearth the identity of “The Chalk Man.”

This is a well-written, multilayered thriller with an element of mystery that slowly unravels. I loved reading about the complicated dynamics of the friendships between the group, especially when they were young. The twisted ending and the strong writing is what took The Chalk Man to the next level for me. The ending worked to undo all I thought I knew, leaving many questions about Eddie’s reliability as a narrator, causing me to question everything and look at the events that unfolded in a different light: “I suppose it felt, even though we had an ending, that it wasn’t the right one.”

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Peter.
2,494 reviews451 followers
November 7, 2019
What a compelling an page turning murder mystery! The story is set in switching chapters of 1986 and 2016. Eddie and his fellow gang members Metal Mike, Hoppo, Fat Gav and Nancy find themselves in a story of mysterious murder. Someone murdered a young girl name Elisa who was previously injured at a fair. What has the new teacher Mr Halloran to do with the case? Why do people think he might have been the culprit? What about the Reverend? The story gets more complicated page by page. Who is the real killer and what about the eerie drawings of chalk men? As a reader you'll soon find out that nobody is really innocent. Everybody has some dark secrets and many wrong tracks are led. In a brilliant way the author tells a story of friendship, murder and sometimes strange human behaviour and relationship. The description of the gang sometimes reminded me on the youths depicted in Stephen King's It. But C.J. Tudor comes up with a new story and great unforseen twists. If you want to read an intriguing tale full of surprise and nailbiting tension (who doesn't want to?) this is your stuff. I couldn't put the book down. It was written in a way you want to know its ending soon. What a book. Absolutely recommended!
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,694 reviews14.1k followers
November 1, 2017
4.5 Now this is what I call a fantastic mystery. I love the way this was told, our narrator now in his fifties, takes us back to a summer that changed everything. Has sort of a Christmas story or It vibe to it, in the way it is told. We Tavel back to the eighties, and the author does a great job of portraying this time. Ed, our narrator and his group of friends, four in all and one a girls, as they ride their bikes everywhere, build actual forts, not virtual ones. When the games played were mostly outside except for Pac Man and Donkey Kong. Felt like I was back there with him. It would prove to be a summer when many strange and unforgettable things happened, culminating in the discovery of a body. When one of the boys, he a man, who hasn't been seen for over thirty years, reappears in town, claiming he know who done it, everything seems to start up again.

An old time mystery, with a follow the clues type of storyline. What really happened that summer and who is responsible? The chalk men were a nice and creepy touch, though the story as a whole does not have that graphic, shocking horror that so many storylines have now. This entertained without going over the top. A well done job all around, even the ending was satisfying and had many aha moments. Looking forward to more from this talented author.

A sisters read where we all agreed this one is a winner.

ARC from Netgalley.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,471 reviews9,382 followers
February 18, 2023
Eddie lives a quiet life in the same sleepy village in which he grew up. His day-to-day is fairly mundane. He's a school teacher, who lives in a big house with a younger roommate and maybe he drinks too much.

That's pretty much Eddie in a nutshell. Like many of us, his life wasn't always quite so boring however. It just kind of evolved into its current repetitive state.

Little does Eddie know he's about due for a good old-fashioned shake-up when a blast from his past returns.

His old friend Mickey is back in town and he wants to chat about a certain unresolved murder case from 1986. Eddie, who has been haunted by the events of that year, doesn't really want to discuss it, but when Mickey tells him he may have the answer, Eddie can't resist.

The conversation unsurprisingly stirs up all sorts of dark memories and emotions in Eddie. It's tense. He and Mickey have been estranged for years. It's not a warm and fuzzy reunion.

Mickey's sudden reemergence in his life isn't the only thing tied to the horrific events of 1986 though. The chalk men have also begun to mysteriously appear. Now Eddie must confront his fears and buried secrets head-on if he is ever going to be able to lay the past to rest.

I originally purchased The Chalk Man when in released in 2018, but then I sat on it for years. Honestly, I became apprehensive after reading some of the early reviews which basically alluded to this being a knock-off version of Stephen King's masterpiece, It.

When my niece mentioned she wanted to Buddy Read The Chalk Man though, I threw caution to the wind and willingly jumped in.

I will say initially I was surprised by the number of similarities to It. I thought to myself, oh no, this could be bad.

However, I am happy to report that after that slightly frustrating start, this one really came around for me. I found it to be interesting as heck and loved the short chapters with their many mini-reveals. It made for a great Buddy Read and we had such a fun time discussing it along the way!

I believe this was Tudor's debut and if so, I think it definitely sets the stage for her style. She brings a lot of creepy atmosphere in her stories and I loved the back and forth between past and present timelines in this one.

The sections from 1986, of Eddie and his friend group, had the heaviest It vibes, but I became so intrigued with the characters and all that was happening to them, that I eventually was able to overlook all the Itness.

I thought the mystery element was very well done and it definitely kept me guessing. I have also read The Burning Girls from Tudor and really enjoyed that one as well.

I would say, comparing the two, that her writing has matured a bit since this earlier release. I definitely look forward to picking up more from this author. I'm so glad that I finally gave this one a shot. Overall, a fun reading experience!
November 3, 2017
4 stars! This was a highly suspenseful, intriguing, creepy and mysterious thriller.

This novel caught my attention from the prologue and I found myself growing more attached to this story as I turned each page. The characters were well-developed – some likeable, others not. Each character had an element of mystery about them which I really enjoyed. My suspicions were flip-flopping all over the place trying to determine what had happened and how things would all end. The author did a fantastic job slowly revealing clues, secrets and lies which kept the suspense high and pace flowing.

I really enjoyed the mysterious and puzzling references surrounding ‘the chalk man’ throughout this entire book. It was a unique and clever piece of the story.

Overall, this was an additive, highly intriguing, suspenseful, fast-paced novel that I would definitely recommend! This was a Traveling Sister Read with Brenda, Norma, Diane, Rita, Susanne and Melisa. It was a great book choice for us as we all ended up loving it! We look forward to the next novel from this author - C. J. Tudor!!

A big thank you to NetGalley, Penguin Random House Canada and C. J. Tudor for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Expected Date of Publication: January 9th, 2018.

To find this review, along with the other Traveling Sister Read reviews, please visit Brenda and Norma’s fabulous blog at:

Profile Image for Jen CAN.
475 reviews1,309 followers
January 16, 2018
Chalk was a mainstay of fun when I was growing up. We used it for hopscotch and drawings and it could consume us for hours in the hot summer sun. But, after reading this, you may want to reconsider gifting any child with it. That fun, messy stuff is now a conduit for murder. Because the chalk man leaves his chalk drawing after decapitating a girl and using a group of boy's whose medium of communication is chalking but has now become the messenger of death.
Written in two timelines that worked well, this had me chasing after my own tail and giving me as much pleasure as a dog would have. Yippee.
The only fault - if I can call it that - was there were just a few too many characters and had me questioning my own memory.
Love it when a thriller is done well and Tudor did it.
This was a buddy read with my GR Buddy, Crumb :)
Profile Image for Melisa.
324 reviews513 followers
November 2, 2017
Ghosts didn’t exist in daylight, or zombies. They only existed in that sleepy hollow between midnight and dawn, crumbling to dust at the sun’s first rays. Or so, at the age of twelve, I still believed.

Prepare for some gushing, y’all, because this is one of the best thrillers I’ve read in awhile.

This was a really fresh, unique take on a psychological thriller that didn’t follow a formula like anything else out there. It’s difficult to find a unique plot these days, and while this one has been done before, it’s never been told in this way which is why I believe it deserves all 5 stars.

This author is one to keep an eye on, mark my words. CJ Tudor (a female author) has told a coming of age story of a 12 year old boy surrounded by tragedy and mystery in a highly convincing way, and in a way like nothing I’ve seen before. There were constantly points being alluded to, but never fully spelled out for the reader - we all loved how the author “shows” rather than “tells”. She is tricky, this author, and will keep you guessing until the very end, and even then you’ll be shaking your head and uttering “what just happened.”

This was such a creepy, twisty tale, alternating between 1986 and 2016. The 80’s references were fabulous, the characters were believable, and the whodunnit aspect of the story is like nothing I’ve ever read.

The prologue will suck you in right away (super creepy!) and there is one highly uncomfortable bullying scene, but otherwise this author manages to scare you without a ton of graphic violence (though there is some, I am
sensitive to this and I got through it ok).

I am having a difficult time putting into words how unique this book is without giving away any spoilery, however I highly, highly recommend this to fans of thrillers. Read it now. And let me know what you think later.

This was my first group read with the Traveling Sisters and I’m SO glad I was able to join in on this particular book - it brought out elements that I wouldn’t have noticed without ongoing discussion and I’m so thankful to have joined this group of lovely reviewers!

Thank you to Netgalley, C.J. Tudor (you have a new fan!) and Crown Publishing for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

You can also find my reviews at www.thebookcollective.net
Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,121 followers
October 14, 2017
4+++ Stars. Beware The Chalk Men!

Only a few chapters in and I was hooked on Eddie "Munster" Adams and the gang of mischievous 12 year olds who ride bikes around their quaint English village....communicate in secret code....with chalk figures (so cool) to disclose the site of their next rendezvous.

The fair was supposed to be fun, and it was at first, but turned out to be the beginning of disastrous times, harmful misadventures and deadly accidents. Add threatening bullies and a creepy new teacher to the mix and you have one suspenseful and entertaining read that leads the reader from a haunted playground into the nearby woods....for a horror of a find.

THE CHALK MAN alternates smoothly from past to present as Eddie and some old friends find out all has not been forgotten or revealed....even 30 years later. There's still more trouble to come evidenced by creepy dreams and even creepier visions from the grave.

C. J. Tudor delivers wonderfully defined and engaging characters in an engrossing mystery-thriller I could have read in a day. Definitely NOT "a pile of stinking buckaroo" but one solid debut!

Many thanks to Crown Publishing and NetGalley for the ARC (coming January, 2018) in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Larry H.
2,481 reviews29.4k followers
November 10, 2017
I give this 4.5 stars.

Sometimes you see a bunch of your Goodreads friends raving about a book, and you hope that you'll find it just as good as they did. In the case of C.J. Tudor's terrific debut thriller, The Chalk Man , that definitely was the case for me.

"Personally, I have found that it is much better to take your fears, lock them up in a nice, tightly shut box and shove them into the deepest, darkest corner of your mind."

In the summer of 1986, Eddie and his four best friends—Hoppo, Fat Gav, Metal Mickey, and Nicky (even though she was a girl)—were on the cusp of adolescence. They bike around, commit mischief, tease each other, and try to avoid Mickey's older brother and his bullying friends. It seems like a magical summer—they even leave coded messages in chalk for each other to spell out their plans or their whereabouts.

But the idyllic time seems to be ending, as the adults around them wind up in the midst of some trouble, and tragedies strike close to home. Then one day, a strange chalk man leads them to a dismembered body in the woods. Nothing is ever the same again.

Thirty years later, Ed is still living in his childhood home. He'd like to think that he's put the events of that summer behind him, but the fact is, he's never been able to settle down into a relationship, he still spends time with Gav and Hoppo, and he teaches at his old school. When he gets an anonymous letter with a chalk man in it, it dredges up those memories, as does the return of an old friend who had seemingly gone away. And when he finds out that all of his friends received a similar letter, he realizes that perhaps not everything was tied up as neatly as they thought all those years ago.

Are there real answers to be found, and if so, what good would it do to find them? Will solving the mystery put everyone's demons to rest and allow them to get on with their lives, or will it put them in danger? Can we ever recapture our childhood innocence after it has been shattered?

The Chalk Man hooked me from the very first page and didn't let go. It evoked a little bit of the nostalgic feelings of Stand By Me , with a little more mystery and violence, and a lot of heart. There's a lot going on in this book, lots of twists and turns to keep you guessing and lots of interesting characters to fascinate and (perhaps) distract you. Tudor is a terrific storyteller, and it's so hard to believe this is her debut novel, because the writing is so self-assured.

Like with any thriller, I always suspect everyone, and while I was a little surprised at certain twists, and I didn't love every choice Tudor made, I thought this was a great read, one that made me wish I had just a few minutes more to linger over the book every time I picked it up. Believe me, this is one you'll want to read before everyone else starts talking about it.

NetGalley and Crown Publishing provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!

See all of my reviews at http://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blo....
Profile Image for Linda.
1,194 reviews1,245 followers
August 21, 2017
"People are strange....." crooned in the deep, haunting voice of Jim Morrison of The Doors.

Oh, that's only the tip on the piece of chalk that leaves irreverent drawings along the way. Quickly sketched ramblings with elusive meanings.

The pages flit back and forth in time from that serrated summer of 1986 in Anderbury. Eddie Adams and his friends are in their twelfth summer of wild boyhood and feel the excitement of good-looking girls and the fast carnival rides that hold promise at the town fair. That's when the worst of the worst actually happens.

An unimaginable accident occurs when part of a fast-moving ride breaks loose and careens into seventeen year old Elisa. Eddie had just been admiring the young beautiful girl when the mayhem broke out. Mr. Halloran, just newly hired by the school system, grabs Eddie and the two of them try to stop the bleeding of Elisa's nearly amputated leg with Halloran's belt. Eddie turns away when he realizes what the impact did to Elisa's once lovely face.

C. J. Tudor creates a boyhood atmosphere here liken to the strength of the comaraderie in Stand By Me and The Goonies. Eddie, Fat Gav, Hoppo, Metal Mickey, and Nicky are as thick as thieves that summer. They will forever be changed by what happened at the fair in those climactic moments. Tudor presents her adult characters through the limited lense of twelve year old boys. The adults' driftings and meanderings throughout the story will leave questionable trail marks in addition to the iffy honesty and the strange intentions of the boys themselves.

The discovery of a body in the woods during this same summer will certainly shake the leaves off many a tree. From 1986 to 2016 Eddie's voice will lay the groundwork for a very intense storyline filled with the reverberations of childhood slamming head-long into the chunks and pieces of their eventually unstable adult lives.

"I need to grasp it quickly before it scuttles away again like the hideous head spider from my dream." Have mercy! C.J. Tudor has an exceptional style with tasty words and phrases placed adeptly throughout this book. Her descriptives are rich in hue and that uneasy tone creaks along with uncanny results. Tudor gets into her characters' heads and seems to know just when to blink and just when to stare.

The ending left me a bit unsettled. So much was unraveling at a fast pace. It was the lifting of the masks with results that sizzled and burned. It stirred up the cauldron in ways that brought new thoughts to the surface and old thoughts submerged. And the door was left opened just a crack.....

I received a copy of The Chalk Man through NetGalley for an honest review. Many thanks to Crown Publishing and to C.J. Tudor for the opportunity. I'm definitely keeping my eyes open for the next one from this highly talented author.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,509 reviews31k followers
May 3, 2020
ive been in a massive mystery/thriller mood and this definitely hit the spot.

the first page of this is one of the best prologues to a story i have ever read but, a couple of chapters in, i began to get major IT vibes and i was worried. im not a stephen king fan, so luckily i was able to look past the similarities. and i think its the writing that helped me do that.

this is definitely a slow burn, but its written in a way to disguise the fact that its on the slower side and it makes you think more things are happening than they actually are. its quite clever. and when it got to a really intense part, i was so excited that my eyes moved quicker than my brain and i had to keep going back and rereading it because got so anxious and missed everything. to me, thats a sign of a really engaging story.

however, this is not without its flaws as the characters are pretty one-dimensional, sometimes the alternating time switches disrupt the flow/impact of the story, and some questions are left unanswered. but none of these ruined the story for me overall.

i am very much looking forward to picking up some more of tudors books!

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Sue.
1,320 reviews5 followers
December 11, 2017
THE CHALK MAN the psychological suspense debut by author C.J. Tudor, I predict is going to be one of the books for 2018…a brilliant piece of fiction, and the BEST THRILLER book I have read now in 2017! This novel will keep readers guessing right up to the shocking ending. I find it is very difficult to write this review, as I don’t think I could do any of it justice. It is a “Gem” waiting to be discovered!

This is a coming of age creepy story, of a 12-year-old boy surrounded by misfortune and mystery. This novel has it all with believable characters that are fully fleshed out, and a plot that keeps on giving-the whodunnit aspect of the story is amazing, with clues released on a need-to-know basis. Wonderful story telling at it’s best.

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence, and when new teacher Mr. Halloran came to town. 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. Please note: There is one highly uncomfortable bullying scene, but without a ton of graphic violence.

In 2016, Eddie(Ed) 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.

With alternating chapters from 1986 to 2016, and the story is told from Eddie's point of view, creating a focus point for these mysterious chalk drawings. Tudor creates a small town setting with an amazing set of characters: Eddie, Fat Gav, Nicky, Metal Mickey and Hoppo. Each character is unique and plays a definite role in the overall plot bound by mystery, lies and deceit. I really enjoyed the interactions between Eddie and his childhood friends which reminded me of STAND BY ME, with references to the 80’s within the storyline.

This author C.J. Tudor has a fabulous way with words. There is so much depth and knowledge to this novel, that I found I escaped to another plane, and experienced my youth all over again. One particular quote I liked was from teacher, Mr. Halloran to Eddie, and one that I live by.

“What goes around comes around.”

“You do bad things and they’ll come back eventually and bite you in the backside. That boy will get his one day. You can be sure about that.”

I also liked Ed’s quote on life:

“My life has been defined by the things I didn’t do. The things I didn’t say. I think it’s the same for a lot of people. What shapes us is not always our achievements but our omissions. Not lies; simply the truths we don’t tell.”

Once I finished the novel, I found myself thinking about my own childhood memories and how they were shaped.

The surprise ending, I never saw coming. There was so much going on at the end, that my mind went into overdrive, and if anyone interrupted me, I would explode! I was a little bit overwhelmed and confused as there were so many questions running through my mind. A very satisfying read and one that I will not forget!

My thanks to Crown Publishing via Net Galley for my copy.
Profile Image for Sarah Joint.
445 reviews986 followers
January 3, 2018
This is one of the best things I can say about a book: I would like to read this one again, and I probably will. I'm not someone who re-reads books often, unless they're classics or part of a much beloved series... so that's saying something. I also read this one in one sitting, and had to remind myself to slow down a little bit to get full enjoyment out of it. I just really wanted to know what was going on! It's been a couple of days since I've finished, and the ending is still haunting me at random moments.


This book is told using two time periods, 2016 and 1986. In 2016, Ed is a school teacher in his early 40's, unmarried and living with a young, intriguing roommate in his old childhood home. He drinks a bit too much and doesn't have a lot going on in his life... until he receives a mysterious letter that sends him right back to tragic events that happened when he was a boy. In 1986, he was known as Eddie... just another twelve year old riding bikes with his friends, looking for something to keep themselves occupied. He was only twelve when life changed forever... it was that summer he saw tragedy for the first time, and it was also the summer of the chalk men. They're little figures the group draws to communicate secretly with each other. It all starts innocently enough, but eventually they seem to be appearing on their own...

I was super intrigued by the premise of this book and was determined to get an advanced copy. I'm so glad I did! There are a few moments that made me a little sick to my stomach, and more moments that creeped me out out a bit. This is an undoubtedly well-written and gripping story that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys mysteries that are a little on the dark side. I can't go too deep into the plot on this review, because I don't want to give any spoilers. If the blurb interests you, pick this one up. I don't think you'll regret it. The characters are really memorable and enjoyable, and the whole book is hard to put down.

I received an advanced review copy of this book from First to Read, thank you! My review is honest and unbiased.
Profile Image for Norma.
551 reviews12k followers
May 14, 2018
4.5 stars rounded up to 5 stars!

This novel was the perfect Traveling Sisters Read which I read along with Brenda, Lindsay, Diane, Rita, Susanne and Melisa - which was an excellent choice to read for Halloween!

THE CHALK MAN is a debut psychological thriller novel by C. J. TUDOR that is a chilling, suspenseful, gripping, and a spooky good read that had a sinister feel to it which had me flipping those pages as fast as I could to find out who or what was behind all those mysterious chalk men.   

C. J. TUDOR delivers a unique and cleverly written story here with realistic and well-developed characters that all brought a mysterious and interesting aspect to this story for me.  There is a constant sense of foreboding surrounding the whole idea of who or what the mysterious chalk men were or represented which did keep me puzzled and guessing throughout this whole story.

The story flips between flashbacks from 1986 and present day of 2016 and I loved the younger voice of our main character, Eddie and really enjoyed how the story was told to us through his childhood eyes. I really enjoyed the interactions between Eddie and his childhood friends which kind of had a STAND BY ME vibe to it and I also really liked the references to the 80’s within the storyline.   

Just a word of caution as there was one highly uncomfortable and disturbing bullying scene that took me a little by surprise but other than that one scene the author does a fantastic job at scaring you with words and not through graphic violent scenes.

To sum it all up it was an enjoyable, fun, fast-paced, and an entertaining read which had that creepy good vibe going on without all the gory details. Would highly recommend!!

Expected Date of Publication:   January 9th, 2018

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Crown Publishing, and C. J. Tudor for the opportunity to read a copy of this book in exchange for a review.

Review is written and posted on our themed book blog Two Sisters Lost In A Coulee Reading:

Coulee is a term applied rather loosely to different landforms, all of which refer to a kind of
valley. I am surrounded by coulee's where I live!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 12,295 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.