Review: The Chalk Man

My head in a book….a review of Chalk Man

The Chalk Man by C J Tudor

Crime & Thriller

Penguin Books recommended retail price $19.99 AUD

“They lifted up her head, dusted off a few leaves that clung to the ragged edges of her neck, and placed it carefully in a bag.” Well after a sentence like that you’ve got nowhere to go expect speed reeding to the first chapter and then to the end of The Chalk Man.

Twelve-year-old Eddie Munster Adams starts the book as a normal kid with some bizarre events that disrupt his life with dramatic consequences.

With the head in the bag and body parts scattered all over the forrest, enter Fat Gav, Metal Micky, Hoppo, Nicky and of course Eddie.  These five are the misfit gang whose not so random forrest discovery changes the course of their lives forever. Chalked up coded messages to each other around their neighbourhood unite the crew in their high school years and when the mysterious markings reappear 20 years after a freak accident at the local fair.

That accident leaves Eddie with life-long harrowing memories and relationships that he never really escapes, try as he might.

Waltzer girl (Elisa), named after the fairground ride where she finds herself fighting for life and death, and their teacher Mr Halloran become part of Eddie’s life forever.

The Chalk Man flashes between the harrowing accident and murder of the 80’s to the events of 2016 which are freaking out Eddie’s life as a teacher and a bit of a no-hoper.  Especially when history repeats itself when a second body is discovered.

Eddie doesn’t have a lot of people close to him but those like his twice married, once widowed 78-year old mum, dysfunctional flatmate Chloe, fellow gang member Nicky and her child abusing, preacher father play key roles in this book that will have your brain churning into overdrive and pushing your eyes to read faster and find out what happens next.

Who DID do it?

Even before you read about Mr Halloran’s inappropriate relationship with a student, or the second death twenty years after the first, there are just enough twists and turns to get you hooked on the book.

Although I have to say the chalked-up hangman’s noose on the cover is a little bit of a giveaway to what’s written inside the book, the lady sure does know how to write a cracker first book.

C J Tudor will keep you up reading until the end, even if it’s two am and the baby’s going to be awake as the sun comes up.

You can find other reviews here.

You can buy The Chalk Man here on Booktopia’s website although I borrowed mine from my mother-in-law.  Thanks Chezza.