Title: The Chalk Man
Author: C.J. Tudor
Source: Bought (BotM)
CW: Rape, graphic violence
One Sentence Synopsis
Eddie and his friends discovered a body when they were young and, in 2016, now they are being haunted by the chalk men that led them to it.
“There are some things in life you can alter – your weight, your appearance, even your name – but there are others that wishing and trying and working hard can never make any difference to. Those things are the ones that shape us. Not the things we can change, but the ones we can’t.”
I always have a difficult time writing reviews for thrillers. Why? Because I want to flail and scream about ALL THE THINGS! But… ya know… spoilers 🤷♀️
The Chalk Man is a story that unfolds in two different timelines, the past (1986) and the semi-present (2016). We meet Eddie and his group of friends first during the summer of 1986, when they are living their best, adolescent lives. And part of their lives are the chalk men that they draw, leaving secret messages that only their friend group can decipher. And then a strange chalk man leads them to a body in the woods. Fast forward to 2016, where the chalk men make a reappearance, bodies start turning up, and Eddie throws himself into unraveling the past.
This book was such a freakin’ ride! Everything hits the fan from jump and you get hooked into the story of this odd friend group and the mystery of the chalk men. I loved the writing of this novel because it gave this fairly standard thriller a level of creepiness that made it shine. Even when I didn’t want to be immersed in certain scenes, the writing just pulled me in so much that it was like I was sharing the experience with Eddie and his friends.
Speaking of Eddie and his friends, my goodness were they an unlikable bunch! Unlikable, but incredibly compelling. You want to know what makes them tic and you want to learn about all their dirty secrets. Especially Eddie! Eddie was a well fleshed-out main character which helped to keep me invested in the story. I will say that the other kids in the friend group felt a little flat to me. Like they were only there to further the plot for Eddie. That’s really the only aspect of the book that I didn’t enjoy, which is usually a book killer for me.
But the story was just so damn readable! I had to know what happened! And I was actually surprised by the twist, which is somewhat hard to do with me, the ID Channel junkie. Well… I was surprised by the whodunit. It was definitely not who I was expecting. There was another twist that I guessed early on, but it was so deliciously creepy that I still loved when it was revealed.
Honestly, the creepiness of this book was my favorite part about it. It gave me literal chills and, apparently, I’ve been jonesing for that. Because after finishing The Chalk Man, all I want to do is read ALL THE THRILLERS! I want to be creeped out! The descriptions, the circumstances, and the jumping back and forth between timelines, just made the whole atmosphere of this book phenomenal.
Final thoughts: Though most of the characters felt flat, the atmosphere and the mystery of this novel kept me hooked until the final, twisty end!