Story good and would have been great but what spoiled it for me (I became so cross I couldn't concentrate on the story in the same way - this totally ruined my enjoyment), was the author's insistence on the gang of 1980's kids speaking American English! No 80's kids would use the word 'pants' for trousers, say "I guess" over and over again - it would have been, "I s'pose", and other, equally annoying Americanisms. Adults in the story too, the way they structured a sentence - it just doesn't happen, bar 'metrosexual'-types who believe they are 'transatlantic' these days. Shocked that Penguin didn't pick up on it and amend it, too! Please, all authors - if the characters in your stories are English let them speak English! Not being pedantic here, this truly spoils a good story for me. It just isn't true to life.
As the less positive reviews have already pointed out, the similarities to Stephen King, and particularly 'IT' are very strong, to the point for me that I started ticking them off as i read, which distracted from the narrative. The novel started positively for me, but as it continued it became contrived: secrets that hadn't been revealed were suddenly blurted out to answer previous cliff hangers/ red herrings and/ or to advance to plot conveniently. Ultimately, the chalk motive is not particularly relevant, and the ending is quite obvious and feels rushed. I really wanted to like this book, to the point where having bought in hardback and forgetting to take it on holiday I downloaded the kindle version, but after a promising start I found the story disappointing.
‘The Chalk Man’ gets you on your toes from the prologue. It starts with a chopped up body found in the woods. The way author describes the sounds and smells makes you think that you yourself can sense everything. However, you can’t shake off the feeling that you’ve read something similar. For a good half of the book I thought I was reading a shorter, less informative Stephen Kings’ book ‘It’.
There’s a group of children consisting of four boys and a girl. At one point of the story we have a rock fight between protagonists and antagonists. Chasing protagonists around with the urge to kill them. Similar playing ground area. More importantly the group of children have a person that loves joking around and impersonating people. And exactly the same time lapse of jumping between past and present. Now I have really enjoyed ‘It’ and couldn’t put it down. ‘The Chalk Man’ had me a little bit disappointed. I was expecting a gripping horror/thriller, but quite frankly, only got an interesting detective type book.
The book has a potential of being a very creepy, chilling story. Stick men in perspective are already quite unsettling – no face or facial expression, very basic. You might start questioning why these chalk men appear and who is behind their existence? It makes you feel like there is this big boogie man waiting for you in a dark corner, ready to consume the entirety of you. The book has some really interesting twists that might make you gasp and say ‘wow, I didn’t expect that’. It flows really consistently and therefore, is very easy to read. However ‘The Chalk Man’ left me wanting for a deeper more developed story. More background about chalk men.
Despite everything, I would say it is a very enjoyable read if you’ve never read ‘IT’ by Stephen King. The book is a nice introduction to a thriller type story, and does have well developed twists.
I don't know which Steven King gave this his appraisal, but it's can't be the Horror Writer. I struggled to the end in the hope that something exciting would happen. I was glad when I'd finished it and thought the whole story was a waste of time.
Now, The Chalk Man is a book that everyone is going to be talking about in the coming months. It is going to be one of the biggest book launches of 2018. This was an ingenious debut novel about a childhood game that goes horribly wrong. Even as I read the title of the book and when I saw the cover, which is so eye catching, I could hear creepy music playing in my head, I knew that this was a book I was desperate to read and CJ Tudor’s writing definitely lived up to my expectations.
The book is told over two different time periods, in the 1980s and in the present day. In the 1980s Ed is twelve-years-old and hangs out with his group of mates: Hoppo, Mickey, Fat Gav and Nicky. But not everything is plain sailing for them and on the day of the terrible accident at the fair, when a young girl known to Ed as Waltzer girl has a horrific accident on a Waltzer cart and is rushed to hospital, things really do begin to take a dark turn for the group and they are never quite the same again. One summer, they use chalk men as secrets codes, as a way of messaging each other, but one day the chalk men leads them to a dead body and a horrific crime scene. In 2016, Ed is in his forties and lives alone with his lodger, a girl in her twenties called Chloe. It is in the present day that the truth about what really happened when they were kids begins to unravel. I don’t want to say too much more about the plot because I don’t want to spoil it for readers but it has to be a contender for one of my top reads of this year. C. J. Tudor delivers a stomach flipping twist at the end of this book which I did not see coming.
I really liked the characters in this book and C.J. Tudor made them all feel real. For me, a book has to have great and compelling characters to pull you into the story and this book certainly does. Once I finished the book I really wanted to know what happened to them after the final chapter and I’m still thinking about them all months after I read it.
The author also explores some interesting themes in this book, some of them are quite dark and there are some scenes in the book which are a little gory. C. J. Tudor writes these scenes really well and she really makes you feel for her characters as they find themselves in new predicaments.
Once you read the prologue in this book, you won’t be able to stop reading, I can envisage many people picking this book up in a bookshop and heading straight to the counter with it.