Tuesday, January 9, 2018

book review: The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

The backstory: The Chalk Man is the debut psychological thriller from British author C.J. Tudor.

The basics: Told in dual narratives in 1986, when Eddie and his friends discover the dismembered body of a young girl in the woods, and 2016, when Eddie and his friends each receive a cryptic chalk drawing in the mail.

My thoughts: I didn't order The Chalk Man as my December Book of the month, but judge Kristin Iverson's blurb did make me immediately start the egalley I had on my Kindle. This mystery wasn't even on my radar, and I'm so glad she convinced me to read this one. (Want to try Book of the Month? I'd love it if you use my referral link!)

The Chalk Man is a crime novel, but it doesn't necessarily read like one, as the crime is only part of the story. To be sure, there is a body discovered, and her head remains missing (how eerie is that?), but part of the benefit of the two timelines is the very ordinariness of life that infuses this story too. The characters are dynamic and fully formed, and there is much to their lives beyond the dead body and chalk figures. The shifting timelines work so well and help build the suspense, but they never feel like a gimmick.

The novel builds beautifully to its last third, which is a tour de force filled with expected and unexpected twists. When I finished, I was astonished it's Tudor's first novel.

Favorite passage: "The thing you have to understand is that being a good person isn't about singing hymns, or praying to some mythical god. It isn't about wearing a cross or going to church every Sunday. Being a good person is about how you treat others. A good person doesn't need a religion, because they are content within themselves that they are doing the right thing."

The verdict: This mystery is remarkably smart, suspenseful, complicated (without being confusing), and accomplished. I'm shocked it's a debut novel, as the plot is so delightfully intricate.

Rating: 5 out of 5
Length: 288 pages
Publication date: January 9, 2018
Source: publisher

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy The Chalk Man from Amazon (Kindle edition.)

Want more? Follow C.J. Tudor on Twitter.

As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment. Happy reading!