Happy Publication Day, C.J. Tudor!
My December BOTM choice was so absurdly easy to make (well, I actually ended up buying another one of the books that intrigued me, but it was definitely second in my mind, so my statement still stands). The Chalk Man has literally been all over Bookstagram, Goodreads, even my podcast addiction Read or Dead, so when it showed up in BOTM…before the publication date?! Sign me up, clear my schedule, and do not disturb.
The story is told from two time periods (1986 and 2016). In 1986, Eddie spent his days with his group of friends (Fat Gav, Metal Mickey, Hoppo, and Nicky), riding bikes and trying desperately to avoid Metal Mickey’s bully of an older brother. They even created a secret code of chalk figures that only they understand, with each person having their own assigned color…until a stick figure in an unassigned color leads them to a dismembered body.
Flash forward to 2016, and the friends are fully grown. Eddie (now Ed) still lives in his childhood home and works as an English teacher at the local school. He thought the events from his childhood were behind him until he receives a package in the mail, featuring a picture of a stick man and a piece of white chalk. The rest of his friend group also received the letter, so they assumed it was a prank until one of them is found dead. Now, Ed must return to the details of his childhood to determine what really happened 20 years ago.
As you know, I normally hate books that are written with a dual timeline, but this one is so clear and honestly enhances your understanding and experience as a whole. I was constantly analyzing the 1986 portion and looking for a parallel in the 2016.
And the ending, OH THAT ENDING! I can’t say much more (trying to keep the spoilers at bay), but I can say that I initially felt a bit cheated after the “big reveal”, not knowing the answers to a few major questions (which is a weird feeling for me, because as I’ve said in other reviews, I hate neat little bows on my stories), but then BAM. I’m honestly not sure if I should have seen it coming, or if it should have blindsided me so much, but it gave me everything that I needed to shut the book in satisfaction.
I cannot believe this was C.J. Tudor’s debut novel. Holy Shih Tzu! This is the thriller to beat in 2018 (even though I *technically* read it in 2017… whatever). If this is what we’re starting the year with, I can’t wait to see what else we have in store.
Speaking of Holy Shih Tzus….how handsome is this little angel?! Sorry, just couldn’t resist!
With all of the hype brought on by this book and the recent infatuation with films/shows that follow a young group of friends in the 1980s (looking at you Stranger Things and It), I will be extremely surprised if we do not see a screen adaptation. I just hope they can do it justice!
Place it on your TBR, order it, put it on hold at your local library… do whatever it takes to get your nose in this read. Oh, and make sure you set aside plenty of time for this one because trust me, you’re not going to want to put it down.