THE CHALK MAN
Written by C.J. Tudor
Published by Penguin, January 9, 2018
My star rating – 4 stars
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. Find it on Goodreads
Yet another mystery/thriller review??? Who am I? I think that this is the most mysteries that i’ve read in a very long time. And this was was chosen due to the hype and the positive reviews. Did I think that it lived up to the hype? Well, no, not really. But was it still a good read? Yes, it was!
I really liked that there were two timelines. One, when they were teenagers and the first initial events took place. The second was when they were older and thought they had moved past the tragic events of their past. I know that Stephen King didn’t monopolize on that aspect, but it still gave me “It” vibes. A carefree childhood, riding around the neighbourhood on their bikes, dealing with bullies, and trying to find their place in the world (oh and a group of guys with one random girl – that too). Then, suddenly, their world is turned upside down and they realize that reality is more terrifying than they thought. Then, many years later, the past is brought up all over again and it’s just as painful as it was back then. It’s always interesting to see adults recollect things and view them through more mature eyes. Things that seemed like nothing are now viewed as a game changer. And things that felt so big are suddenly nothing at all.
I also really liked the characters and their “friend dynamic”. Not all the characters were likeable. In fact, a few of them were little shits that I wouldn’t be caught dead interacting with! But, in a group of friends this large, there are bound to be different personalities. Some of them were leaders while others were followers, some were tough and loud while others were sensitive and quiet. Their friendships are what shaped them and realize who they were and what they wanted to be.
I kind of thought (and wished) that the chalk men would have been more of a prevalent theme. Yes, there were many chalk men throughout the book, but I kind of hoped that there would have been more of a misleading “adventure” created by them. I wanted clues, small discoveries, and more leading up to the big discovery. The big discovery in their childhood also didn’t feel as “urgent” in the story either. So much of who was murdered, when and why, was left in the dark for so long. I think we were well past the halfway mark in the book before we even told just the gender of the person murdered.
Maybe that’s the reason for my next negative comment – I felt like the pacing was off just a bit. It wasn’t painfully slow at all, but there was something just off about it that I can’t put my finger on. Maybe it was the lack of detail? I don’t know. I really struggle with mysteries and thrillers when they use suspense. I’ve always been the type of person who craves information and detail – so when we’re left in the dark for too long, I don’t get anxious or excited, I get bored.
But, having said that, there were so many twists and turns in this book! They were sprinkled throughout and I couldn’t predict what was coming and when. A few of the twists caught me completely off guard, even if it was small! The main twist I didn’t see at all!
Even though I struggled a little bit with the lack of information and the secrecy, I still enjoyed this book and was even blown away by the many twists and turns. If you like mysteries, I think this would be a good one!
Until next time, happy reading!