THE CHALK MAN
by C J Tudor
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?
None of us ever agreed on the exact beginning.
Was it when we started drawing the chalk figures,
or when they started to appear on their own?
Was it the terrible accident?
Or when they found the first body?
The Chalk Man sparked a fierce bidding war, became an international bestseller and has now been shortlisted for a Crime Writers’ Association Steel Dagger Award.
There are many elements of horror to be found, the woods, childhood ghost stories, the creepy outcast, and of course, the chalk men. Are these chalk figures simply part of an innocent kids’ code or something more sinister?
It has the atmosphere of Stephen King’s carny coming-of-age novel Joyland with the cast of Harlan Coben’s Mickey Bolitar series. Or, if you’d prefer a cinematic reference, it’s The Wicker Man meets The Goonies. There are duel timelines, 1986 and 2016, as the unreliable narrator Ed switches between the two. Tudor does this well. The hooks make you want to keep reading and both time periods skilfully reveal plot that impacts on the other.
The nature of memory and the impact of time, Alzheimer’s and alcohol are explored whilst dreams (or nightmares) also add to the mix, helping to create an unpredictable plot with more secrets than the magic circle. I enjoyed the nostalgic return to the mid-80s and how people can change, or not, in 30 years.
This debut has been a runaway international success and when you read it you'll see why.
About C J Tudor:
C. J. Tudor lives with her partner and young daughter in Nottingham. Her love of writing, especially the dark and macabre, started young. When her peers were reading Judy Blume, she was devouring Stephen King and James Herbert.
Over the years she has had a variety of jobs, including trainee reporter, radio scriptwriter, dog walker, voiceover artist, television presenter, copywriter and, now, author.
Her first novel, The Chalk Man, was a Sunday Times bestseller and sold in thirty-nine territories.