The Chalk Man by C J Tudor

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The Chalk Man by C J Tudor

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Category: Horror
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Megan Kenny
Reviewed by Megan Kenny
Summary: The Chalk Man is a creepy, chilling debut from C J Tudor guaranteed to keep you up at night. Following five friends over a fateful summer which ends in horror and bloodshed, the Chalk Man casts a long shadow. Thirty years later, the letters begin and with them comes the realisation that sometimes the past will not stay buried and the fears that haunt your childhood nightmares can come back to terrorise you in the present.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 352 Date: January 2018
Publisher: Michael Joseph
ISBN: 978-0718187439

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The Chalk Man follows a group of friends haunted by an eerily terrifying spectre, conjured during one fateful summer. By the time the new term begins, friendships will be fractured, and a girl will be dead. But who is the killer; is it The Chalk Man, whose dusty white grip squeezes ever tighter, or someone much closer to home? Thirty years later, Ed has tried to forget about that summer, about all the poisoned, sinister memories of The Chalk Man. However, someone seems determined not to let him and when the letters start to arrive, the past follows, plaguing him and dredging up the fever dream nightmare of the summer of 1986, populated by fairs, ra-ra skirts and death. Driven deeper into the mysterious events surrounding Ed's sleepy suburban life, the reader cannot help but wonder; who is The Chalk Man, and will he ever let Ed go?

I didn't so much read The Chalk Man as devour it. Or did it devour me? It became hard to tell, by the end. I can only say that I started with every intention of whiling away a Sunday hour and was left breathlessly rushing to get to the chilling conclusion. I don't want to give too much away, and indeed so much of this book deserves to be discovered and enjoyed first hand, but this is a thrilling ride filled with mystery and small-town horror. The Chalk Man evokes a palpable sense of nostalgia and bittersweet recollection, whilst hinting at the adult world which lies just out of reach of Ed, Fat Gav, Metal Mickey, Hoppo and Nicky. Exploring love and loss as well as ageing, missed opportunities and evil, this is an all-encompassing novel, filled with heartfelt recognition about the weight of secrets and the confusion of adolescence.

Tudor displays a masterful lyricism throughout this spooky tale and manages to conjure up moments of horror in the same breath as humour and tenderness. Moving seamlessly between the late '80s and the present, The Chalk Man captures all the delicious elements so necessary for a blood-curdling horror; well-realised characters, a strong, story-driven plot, buckets of fear, and intrigue, a dash of gore and gritty realism. Never straying too far into the fantastical, Tudor keeps a tight grip on the reader and drags them ever closer to a neatly satisfying, yet ultimately horrifying, conclusion which haunted me long into the night. No loose ends here, you will be pleased to know although as the old saying goes, be careful what you wish for. This finale is no soft caress on the cheek for the reader, but rather an icy talon of dread which sweeps mercilessly down your spine as the ghastly mystery at the heart of The Chalk Man is finally revealed.

Those interested in coming of age tales with a chilling edge could try My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix.

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Buy The Chalk Man by C J Tudor at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Chalk Man by C J Tudor at


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