Sunday, 18 March 2018

The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor - review

Publisher: Michael Joseph

You can feel it in the woods, in the school and in the playground; you can feel it in the houses and at the fairground. You can feel it in most places in the small town of Anderbury... the fear that something or someone is watching you.

It began back in 1986, at the fair, on the day of the accident. That was when twelve-year-old Eddie met Mr Halloran - the Chalk Man. He gave Eddie the idea for the drawings: a way to leave secret messages for his friends and it was fun, until the chalk men led them to a body.

Thirty years later, Ed believes the past is far behind him, until an envelope slips through the letterbox. It contains a stick of chalk, and a drawing of a figure. Is history going to repeat itself? Was it ever really over? Will this game only end in the same way?

I really wish there were more YA horrors, especially more like this one. The Chalk Man is a genuinely scary, tense and cleverly plotted book. 

The characters were a real strength. Fans of IT and Stranger Things will appreciate the lively group and I especially liked the narrator, Eddie. The alternating narrative between 1986 and 2016 was really effective, giving insights into Eddie's character and slowly revealing a fascinating plot. 

That was another thing I loved about this book. I'm not easy to scare and this book was a brilliant balance of unsettling, gruesome and downright terrifying. It had a plot that drew on elements from the horror genre but used them in a creative, unexpected way.

The setting of this book was really evocative in both the past and the present, and I loved how the setting was significant in both time periods.

I can't say much more without major spoilers except that I thought this book was fantastic, with an unpredictable plot and plenty of scares. I'm very excited to read whatever CJ Tudor writes next!

If you liked the sound of this, now try The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart, which I reviewed here.

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