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I noticed this book as I was browsing WHSmiths at Birmingham Airport. I always like to take a gander at the books they have in their recommended, best selling, and half price sections. However, this book was harmoniously shoved with the magazines on the other side of the library section. That’s what caught my eye, the fact that it was propped in such an odd place. The front cover pulled me in further, telling my brain to reach out and grab it. Furthermore, Stephen King had read it. Stephen King. Anything recommended by him must be good, I thought. So, of course, I did pick it up, to the bemusement of my partner who was going to pay for it.
I started reading it on the plane to Dublin. The flight was 40 minutes so I was able to cram in a couple of chapters.
I was in Dublin for two days of the New Year. I finished the book on the way home to Birmingham.
When I tell you I couldn’t put it down, I meant I couldn’t put the bloody thing down. It was attached to my fingers, aching for me to read more and turn the pages. I gave in, and kept reading and reading and reading. The sleepless nights in that Travelodge were worth it.
The Chalk Man is focused around Eddie Adams and his friends, who live in the quaint town of Anderbury. As a young boy, he witnesses strange happenings and adversities. Then the deaths of Anderbury residents start to occur. Then the chalk men in the street start to appear.
Through his eyes, we are told his story, and how it has sculpted his perspective of the modern world as he ages. Then the chalk men start to appear again…
So, here is my verdict:
- Incredibly thorough story-line, with strong characters and lovely use of flashbacks/flash forwards.
- I was utterly reminded of Stephen King and his novel, It, as the characters and setting chime resemblance to the Loser Club and Derry, Maine. For example, the boys in the book ride bikes and go to the forest to make dens; the boys have a girl in their gang who, at first, they isolate. Ring any bells?
- It leaves you questioning "whodunnit?" all of the time! Because of the twists, turns, and obstacles in the way. I love it when a book does that.
- Description and the use of language wasn’t too frothy and forced. It came naturally to the time frames in the story; you could see the clear age differences and the growth between young and adult Eddie, which I found to be very refreshing.
- The writing style of Tudor is impeccable. To say that this is her first novel, she did a fantastic job of reeling in the reader, forcing them to read on. Her use of personification and metaphors really stood out to me.
- The setting reminded me of Derry a little bit too much. However, the use of chalk drawings, which is such an innocent pastime when you’re a little kid, gave the storyline its chilling and sinister vibe. Such a unique staple for a horror/thriller novel!
- The book touches on issues such as abortion rights, rape/sexual assault, and dementia/Alzheimer’s, which is all intertwined in one huge chalk drawing on a pavement. I particularly enjoyed how Eddie, at the end of the novel, is showing signs of dementia like his father. The writing style was fantastic and foreshadows Eddie’s growing illness.
- If there were to be a follow up to this, or even a prequel, I would be sure to read it. However, it ended on a good, easy note which left me wondering: How will Eddie get on in Manchester? Is he really rid of the anxieties of his past? We'll never know. A suitable cliffhanger... yet not a cliffhanger. Oh, I love books.
Score: 4/5 pens.
If you want to check out my mini-review, head over to @tiffreadsandreviews on Instagram!