Monday, April 2, 2018

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor (Review)

Adult Fiction, Thriller, Murder Mystery
Publication Date:January 9, 2018
Pages:280 (Hardcover)
Published By:  Crown Publishing
Website:CJ Tudor

The Chalk Man on Goodreads
My review copy:
Received from the publisher in exchange for my honest review

Where to get:


You can feel it in the woods, in the school and in the playground; you can feel it in the houses and at the fairground. You can feel it in most places in the small town of Anderbury . . . the fear that something or someone is watching you.

It began back in 1986, at the fair, on the day of the accident. That was when twelve-year-old Eddie met Mr Halloran - the Chalk Man.

He gave Eddie the idea for the drawings: a way to leave secret messages for his friends and it was fun, until the chalk men led them to a body.

Thirty years later, Ed believes the past is far behind him, until an envelope slips through the letterbox. It contains a stick of chalk, and a drawing of a figure.

Is history going to repeat itself?

Was it ever really over?

Will this game only end in the same way?


What shapes us is not always our achievements but our omissions. Not lies; simply the truths we don’t tell.
We think we want answers. But what we really want are the right answers. Human nature. We ask questions that we hope will give us the truth we want to hear. The problem is, you can’t choose your truths. Truth has a habit of simply being the truth. The only real choice you have is whether to believe it or not.

      I picked the Chalk Man up after I saw Stephen King tweeting about it and recommending it to fans of his own stuff. Needles to say, my expectations were high. Unfortunately, I can’t say that the story lived up to the hype surrounding it. At least not for me.

     If you have read IT or watched Stranger Things, you are probably going to be disappointed in this book, too. The similarities are there - a teenage squad (few boys and a tomboy girl with a more complicated, darker backstory), a series of mysterious events, gruesome murder(s), secrets, twists.. you name it - but it all falls rather flat compared to the iconic IT or the ever amazing Stranger Things. 

     For me, The Chalk Man lacks the emotional punch and amazingly creepstastic (but also kind of cool) atmosphere. The parts of the story told through the eyes of teenage Eddie are not convincing enough. They don’t read all that different from the parts he tells 30ish years later. The story itself is somewhat engaging, but also rather strange (and not in a good way), a little cringe-y and off-putting. I can’t really put my finger on it, but all of it combined just didn’t work for me. Admittedly, I came into it expecting something as epic as what Stephen King can create and perhaps that spoiled my enjoyment of the book a bit, as I was constantly comparing the writing styles and noticing the shortcomings of The Chalk Man. 

     The ending lacked the oomph, too. I’ve seen people say they enjoyed the build up to a crescendo type of ending, but I personally didn’t feel that at all. Some of the revelations were somewhat surprising, but I wasn’t particularly invested in any of the characters and couldn’t bring myself to care when one (or rather more than one) turned out to be a bad guy. Eddie’s big reveal in the final chapter? Really underwhelming - I’ve called it at the beginning of the book and was disappointed to see I was right. 

     Overall, it’s not a bad book per se, but it isn’t worth all the hype in my opinion. 

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