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)
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:
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 deadThat’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.
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