Monday, April 1, 2019

Book Review: The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

Goodreads Summary:  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.
Goodreads Ratings: 3.52 stars with over 35,000 ratings
Genre Listing: Mystery, Thriller, Crime, Horror, Fiction
Goodreads Challenge: 10/50
2019 Reading Challenge: 1.) A book with a red cover (find the full challenge here.)

Book Review:

Woohoo! At long last, I got the red cover off my list. This should not have been as hard as it was! I picked up several different kindle books with red covers that were either already on my kindle or free. I couldn't even get through like 20 pages of them. I ended up killing time on my lunch hour Thursday and wandering into the Books A Million right down the road. Side note, having a book store that close by is DANGEROUS. Anyway, I started reading it that night since I didn't have much time once I got back to work. I was instantly hooked. Read a bunch on my break on Friday, and then when I stopped into a pizza place on the way home read it while I was waiting. I could not put it down. I'm pretty sure once I got home Friday I ate dinner and crawled up with it some more. I ended up finishing it sometime early Saturday morning. 

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor alternates between 1986 and 2016. I'm shocked that I enjoyed the timeline aspect of the book as generally, I prefer more linear timelines. However, in the Chalk Man the alternating works. It starts with a body being found from an unknown point of view and then progresses to getting to know Eddie and his friends as kids and then knowing Eddie (or Ed) as an adult.

When the story switched to 1986, I felt like it had a Goonies/Stand By Me gang of friends vibe. I think what I liked most about this, characterwise, is that each kid had their own personality. I felt like they were all well developed and Eddie's narration gave each of his friends their own backstory. I thought their development into adults was very well done. I thought what their adult lives had become made a lot of sense with what description was given of them as children.

I think that my favorite part of this story was the wit. It's not outright comical by any mean, but several pieces were just witty and clever. If I had been reading it on Kindle, I probably would have soo many highlighted quotes. If you enjoyed the quotes I used to post, be sure to follow me on Goodreads. I haven't really been putting them in the posts lately, but I always make them public on GR.

This book was definitely suspenseful. I think that C.J. Tudor did a great job of giving several possible characters being the murder. I was actually surprised because I didn't really expect who it ended up being. I especially didn't predict the motive. I'm trying to not give too much away, but there are so many potential suspects, and no one's really ruled out until the very end. I think part of this is that just about everyone in the story has their own secrets. I absolutely loved the things that the characters were hiding from one another. I mentioned to a Twitter friend (Follow me for blog updates: @LinzBassett) that The Chalk Man is super twisted. A lot of the twistedness comes from the secrets. I'm going to be a bit spoilery here, Eddie has the most F***ed up secret, which is probably why he's the main character. It made my True Crime loving self thoroughly creeped out. Yes, I'm aware that the fact that I enjoy this kind of stuff is just not right. I have never once in my life claimed to be normal, and at nearly 32 years old I don't plan to claim it now.

If you want a thriller that you can't put down, I highly recommend The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor. It's a relatively short read, but there's so much character depth, twists and turns, and wit that make it a fantastic read. I'm already thinking about rereading this just to see if there's anything crazy I missed.



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