The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor, Crown Books 2018 hardcover, mystery novel.
In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy little 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 he is in jeopardy, and that finding out what really happened all those years ago is the only thing left to do.
I’m not usually a fan of books and run on two timelines and jump between them. This book does that throughout, but I got used to it. There’s a lot more to the story than in the brief plot summary I gave above, including the new teacher (who is an albino) at school who gets Ed’s help in saving a girl’s life after an accident at a Fair, and Ed’s father, who is a writer, the Vicar whose words and deeds don’t align and others. The book is full of characters, most well-drawn, and they move the book along. I saw the twist(s) at the end coming, but no matter.
This is one of those books you like better the next day then when you finish the last page. While there are some first novel problems with the plot, I expect this one will stay on my mind for a while. I guess I’ll curse it with good, but not great. Your mileage may vary.
Have you read this? What are you reading?