Book review: The Chalk Man

30 May 2018 / 13:25 H.

DESPITE the slightly slow start in introducing the characters in the book, author C.J. Tudor weaves a complex and captivating story in her first novel.
The story is told from the perspective of Eddie, and alternates between two periods in his life, one in 1986 when he was a boy, and the other in 2016, as a 42-year-old English teacher.
It revolves around Eddie and his group of friends – Fat Gav, Metal Micky, Hoppo, and Nicky – where events stemming in 1986 come back to haunt them in the present.
Back then, the tight-knit group of 12-year-olds started leaving distinct chalk marks for each other after Fat Gav received a bucket of chalk for his birthday.
Eddie actually got the idea from tall and pale Mr Halloran, a new teacher in their school.
Then a series of ugly incidences happen – a macabre accident at a fair, a horrific attack on a pastor (who is coincidentally Nicky’s dad) and finally, chalk markings that led the gang to dismembered body parts, minus a head.
The Chalk Man, as they call the perpetrator, is found guilty and the case of the gruesome body parts found in the woods is finally solved by the police.
The boys all have secrets to keep that somehow relate back to the horrors in their town, but Eddie’s inconspicuous habit of stealing trinkets is probably the greatest thing that comes back to bite them in the future.
Forward to 30 years later, Mickey comes back to town where Eddie is still living and says he knows the real killer responsible for the body parts found in the woods.
And to make matters worse, Eddie receives an envelope filled with chalk in the mail.
Tudor really does a good job of giving her characters depth, which is probably why the start of the book seems so sluggish.
By the end of this murder/mystery, the explanation of every action the group took individually falls into place but the revelation with Eddie was really unexpected, particularly since the reader is reading through his perspective.
If you enjoy a good mystery, you won’t be disappointed with The Chalk Man.

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