In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.
In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he’s put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank . . . until one of them turns up dead.
That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.
Expertly alternating between flashbacks and the present day, The Chalk Man is the very best kind of suspense novel, one where every character is wonderfully fleshed out and compelling, where every mystery has a satisfying payoff, and where the twists will shock even the savviest reader.
It’s the summer of 1986. Eddie and his friends are planning a great time: hanging out, riding bikes, and the fair. Eddie’s biggest problem is that his mom forces him to wear his “bumbag” so he doesn’t lose his money. Of course, like any twelve year old boy, he ditches the bag when he’s out of his mom’s sight. Perhaps the event at the fair foreshadows what’s to come that summer, but remember, twelve year old kids are fearless and unfazed.
Multiple factors contribute to the brilliance of this book: characters, setting, unpredictable plotline and of course the writing. There is so much depth to the characters. They are so realistic and timeless; I felt like the author was describing my group of friends back in the 80’s but it could easily have been a group of kids from any time period.
The story is told by Eddie and alternates between the past and the present: summer of 1986 and 2016. Eddie remains in his small town becoming the high school English teacher. One of the old gang returns to town and brings with him the memories and the fears of that summer.
The storyline was extremely unpredictable. There were twists and turns throughout the novel that kept me questioning the characters and their credibility. Who sent the letters? Who drew the pictures? The unknowns in the book drove me crazy!
Finally, the writing, oh the writing!! C.J. Tudor uses descriptive language and literary devices so cleverly in her story telling. She uses vivid details to draw dark and gruesome pictures in some parts, then shifts to poetic descriptions to show sorrow and loss. I was truly pulled into this story because of the writing.
I highly recommend The Chalk Man to readers who love psychological thrillers!