Off the Charts and On the Horizon – the chalk man (C.J. Tudor)

Ahoy there me mateys!  Though this log’s focus is on sci-fi, fantasy, and young adult, this Captain does have broader reading tastes. So occasionally I will share some novels that I enjoyed that are off the charts (a non sci-fi, fantasy, or young adult novel), as it were. I received this thriller eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

the chalk man (C.J. Tudor)

Title: the chalk man

Author: C.J. Tudor

Publisher: Crown Publishing

Publication Date: TODAY!! (hardback/ebook)

ISBN: 978-1524760984

Source: NetGalley

The title and cover are what led me to this very engaging thriller.  I enjoyed playing the game of hangman when I was a wee lass.  Trying to guess the word before me person died was always fun.  Plus it (and other games like boggle and scrabble) led to a lifetime love of word games.  So when I saw this cover with the hangman and lovely addition of a noose, I just had to see what it was about.

So the very toned down premise is that a group of children in the 80s hang out looking for adventure.  One of their many activities is leaving chalk messages for each other in code.  That game abruptly ends when chalk messages lead them to a body in the woods.  Thirty years pass and the group has grown up and put the past behind them as best they can.  Until the day that Eddie gets a message in the mail with a figure and a single piece of chalk.  Is it a prank?  Eddie hopes so  . . . but one of the old gang turns up dead.  The past is back in a haunting way and Eddie finds himself tracking down a killer and reanalyzing what he thought he knew about a murder from 30 years ago.

This book was suspenseful and hard to put down.  Lots of me crew are raving about it and it is easy to see why.  It is extremely character driven with superb use of flashbacks.  The plot is complex, yet easy to follow.  Eddie drives the plot forward as most of the story is told from lens of his thoughts and memories.  It is wonderful to see how that one summer in 1986 has far-reaching consequences in unexpected ways – big and small.  The repercussions are both logical and fun while being surprising as well.  That is quite the combination.  And the last page was perfect.

The only minor issue I had was the resolution of one character’s plot line that I thought was truly implausible and made me incredulous.  That scene I could have done without.  But if ye love thrillers then I would certainly get this one.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Crown Publishing!

Netgalley’s website has this to say about the novel:

To visit the author’s website go to:

C.J. Tudor – Author

To buy the novel go to:

the chalk man – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

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11 thoughts on “Off the Charts and On the Horizon – the chalk man (C.J. Tudor)

  1. I’ve seen this one around but never really saw anyone talk much about it. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it this much though. Loved this pun too: “children in the 80s hang out looking for adventure” hahaha no clue if it was intentional or not. By the way, when you say “your crew” do you mean real-life pirates? Or are we talking about fellow pirates online? 😀 Great review as always, Captain.

    Liked by 1 person

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