THE CHALK MAN by C.J. Tudor

THE CHALK MAN

BUY NOW FROM
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Murder, mayhem, and chalk figures in a sleepy English village.

In 1986, 12-year-old Eddie Adams enjoys spending time with his group of friends: Fat Gav, Metal Mickey, Hoppo, and the lone girl in the group, Nicky. He’s largely insulated from his mother’s work as an abortion provider and its accompanying risks, and it’s her income that keeps the household afloat, since his father’s freelance writing jobs are hit and miss. When Eddie finds the decapitated and dismembered body of a local girl in the woods, it stirs up terrible secrets and forbidden passions. In 2016, Eddie is a teacher who harbors a mild crush for his much younger boarder, Chloe, and isn’t eager to revisit the traumatic events of ’86. He still feels particularly bad about his part in the downfall of a teacher with albinism who was kind to him. When he’s contacted by Mickey Cooper, who claims he knows who really killed that girl, it opens old wounds, and a body count follows. Readers will undoubtedly be reminded of the kids of Stand by Me and even IT. The dynamics among the kids are similar, complete with Nicky’s flaming red hair, and Eddie’s first-person narration alternates between past and present, taking full advantage of chapter-ending cliffhangers. The chalk markings the group works out to communicate tap into kids’ universal love for secret code and, of course, getting one over on their parents. Things takes a creepy turn when the symbols are twisted to fit someone’s not-so-innocent agenda.

A swift, cleverly plotted debut novel that ably captures the insular, slightly sinister feel of a small village. Children of the 1980s will enjoy the nostalgia.

Pub Date: Jan. 9th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-5247-6098-4
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2017




9 GREAT READS EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT :

FictionTHE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW by A.J. Finn
by A.J. Finn
NonfictionHAPPINESS IS A CHOICE YOU MAKE by John Leland
by John Leland
FictionA STATE OF FREEDOM by Neel Mukherjee
by Neel Mukherjee
NonfictionHOW DEMOCRACIES DIE by Steven Levitsky
by Steven Levitsky

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

MysteryPENHALE WOOD by Julia Thomas
by Julia Thomas
MysteryHOUSE. TREE. PERSON. by Catriona McPherson
by Catriona McPherson