The Chalk man by C.J. Tudor : An honest review
The last month of reading has provided me with a few books that I have really enjoyed reading. Two surprises in the mix were The Silent Companions, by Laura Purcell and this one, The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor because both of them are debut novels. Not that I’m at all insinuating that debut novels are all pants, some cracking authors have only had one good novel in them and that’s their first!
So when I picked these novels up at work, having read the blurb, I was excited to read. It’s been years since I read my last good horror novel, and this novel can be a thriller/horror, which hasn’t been written by my dark lord Stephen King.
Novels which explore the outer rims of out society, twisted psychologies and unsolved mysteries always pique my interest. To be honest though, what made me buy this book was the reviews section. Not the blurb. Both Lee Child and Stephen King appeared on the review list. Ok, so if it’s good enough for them, it is certainly good enough for me! I think there’s a certain little psychopath in us all, and when you’re writing a novel, you have to unleash that inner psycho, embrace is and let it see the light of day. Safely, and in a darkened room. I like to think that’s what C.J. Tudor has done here. Unleashed a little of her inner psycho. Are you ready for a review? Keep the lights on it’s about to get a bit dark…
You could say this was a coming of age novel, as the timeline splits between 1986, and 2016. The plot revolves around the gruesome murder of a young girl in 1986. A girl whose body was found decapitated and mauled in the local woods. What you have is the events of a last summer of innocence in 1986 of the main character Eddie and his group of outcast mates.
Fast forward to 2016 and Eddie is a lonely, bordering alcoholic who lives with a goth female lodger. Eddie is haunted, and introverted. This is caused you’re led to assume by the events of the Summer of 1986. He receives a phone call from one of the old members of the 1986 gang. Not a friend that he was close to but as a child a member of his gang he tolerated.
Now the plot is so intricately woven, by the author, you’re led by Eddie, the narrator through twenty years of fall out from 1986. And you are led to believe that summer had so much more effect on him, and the gang of children, than you could even imagine.
Eddies narration draws you in and takes you swiftly, and skilfully through a dark series of events. Believable events. The writing and narration are deliciously dark, compelling and very More-ish. Time switches are dealt with seamlessly and the voice of Eddie remains constant throughout. Eddie himself feels genuine, likeable, but affected. So I truly felt like I was rooting for him and felt sorry for him that he had become a middle-aged alcoholic teacher in the town where he grew up. I know a few of them 😉
I didn’t see the ending coming. And that’s where the shivers down the spine came in!
I truly enjoyed reading this. It was compelling, skilfully written and the plot is a veritable rollercoaster of uneasiness, questions left unanswered and mysteries needing to be resolved. If you are one of those people who reads the last chapter first, because I know I do from time to time, don’t. The plot twist right at the very end is enough to set you on edge for a few days after you lay this book down.
Would recommend this book, especially if you’re looking for spooky Blogtober reads!
Until the next time dear reader….