The Chalk Man
by C.J. Tudor
The Chalk Man, C.J. Tudor’s debut novel, is told in two timelines: the first by 12-year-old Eddie; the second, by the same narrator, only 30 years older. There are multiple mysteries in both timelines and the author uses the time-switching device effectively to escalate suspense and dole out clues to you, the wary reader.
The 1986 story has a maiming, a drowning, some extremely brutal bullying and a murder. All the while, there is a big story involving the adults happening just outside the periphery of the children’s attention.
Fast forward to adult Eddie in 2016 who is dealing with a life he didn’t expect. With the reappearance of old friends, another drowning and some other strange goings-on, Eddie has no choice but to re-examine his discovery of a headless body in the woods in ‘86.
There are so many great themes in this book – the powerlessness of children, the pull of childhood friendships, growing up and not having the life you thought you’d have. Add to all of that, strange chalk drawings, an albino, an abortion doctor and a hell-fire spouting preacher and you have a weird, wild ride where you can’t take anything for granted. What a thrill!
Thanks to Crown Publishing for the ARC!