Looking back, it all started on the day of the fair and the terrible accident. When twelve-year-old Eddie first met the Chalk Man.
It was the Chalk Man who gave Eddie the idea for the drawings: a way to leave secret messages between his group of friends.
And it was fun, to start with, until the figures lead them to the body of a young girl.
That was thirty years ago and Ed thought the past was behind him. Then he receives a letter containing just two things: a piece of chalk, and a drawing of a stick figure. As history begins to repeat itself, Ed realises the game was never over . . .
Everyone has secrets.
Everyone is guilty of something.
And children are not always so innocent.
The Chalk Man is a novel that everyone is going to be talking about a lot in the coming months. It is going to be one of the biggest book launches of 2018.
I have been desperate to read The Chalk Man since I first heard about it. One of my work colleagues has a brother who works for Penguin and occasionally he brings a lot of books into work that his brother has been given by the publishers. In amongst the books I saw the spine of The Chalk Man and I made a beeline for it, no one else had a chance to even have a look at it before I spirited it away but don’t worry they’ll all be hearing about it a lot now that I have read it. Sold already in 39 countries and hotly competed for in a nine way auction in the UK, there is no question that this book is going to be a hit. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
The book is told over two different time periods, in the 1980s and in the present day in 2016. I’m a huge fan of novels which are told over different times and I love trying to work out what is going on and how the two timelines will come together, it’s a great source for leaving cliff hangers as well and C.J. Tudor does this really well. I loved the opening of this book which is so chilling. C.J. Tudor pulls you into the story on the first page and doesn’t let you go until you have reached the end.
In the 1980s Ed is twelve years old and has a great friendship with Hoppo, Mickey, Fat Gav and Nicky. But not everything is plain sailing for them and on the day of the terrible accident at the fair, when a young girl known to Ed as Waltzer girl has a horrific accident on a Waltzer cart and is rushed to hospital, things really do begin to take a dark turn for the group and things are never quite the same again. In 2016, Ed is in his forties and lives alone with his lodger, a girl in her twenties called Chloe. It is in the present day that the truth about what really happened when they were kids begins to unravel. I don’t want to say too much more about the plot because I don’t want to spoil it for readers but it has to be a contender for one of my top reads of this year. C. J. Tudor delivers a stomach flipping twist at the end of this book which I did not see coming.
I really liked all the characters in this book and C.J. Tudor made them all feel real, especially Ed, the main character who I think was definitely my favourite although I really liked his gang of friends as well and once I started to get to know them all I really wanted to find out more about them. For me, a book has to have great and compelling characters to pull you into the story and this book certainly does. Once I finished the book I really wanted to know what happens next.
The author also explores some interesting themes in this book, some of them are quite dark and there are some scenes in the book which are a little gory. C. J. Tudor writes these scenes really well and she really makes you feel for her characters as they find themselves in new predicaments.
I will be raving about this book a lot prior to its publication in January next year. Really, really excellent. You won’t want to miss this book! Mark the 11th January 2018 in your diaries.
Publisher: Penguin (Michael Joseph)
Publication date: 11th January 2018
Print length: 352 pages
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