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Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor, read by Andrew Scott and Asa Butterfield.

None of us ever agreed on the exact beginning.

Was it when we started drawing the chalk figures, or when they started to appear on their own?

Was it the terrible accident?

Or when they found the first body?

©2017 C. J. Tudor (P)2017 Penguin Books Ltd.

Critic reviews

"[I] haven't had a sleepless night due to a book for a long time. The Chalk Man changed that. Many congrats C. J. Tudor." (Fiona Barton, best-selling author of The Widow)
"It's been a while since I've read such an impressive debut." (James Oswald, author of the Inspector McLean series)
"Tense, skillful storytelling." (Ali Land, best-selling author of Good Me Bad Me)

"If you like my stuff, you'll like this." (Stephen King)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

More Gold Dust Than Chalk Dust!

I do enjoy trying a few new authors particularly those making their debuts each year. Of course you get mixed results but every so often it’s worth it because you come across something like The Chalk Man. C.J. Tudor draws from her favourite authors and her personal experiences to give us a real sparkler of a mystery story which genuinely had me guessing from start to finish. There are quite a few echoes of Stephen King’s epic masterpiece, IT in The Chalk Man. A dual timeline, traumatic events in damaged childhoods of much nostalgia, playing outside in the woods, bikes. Those events re-visited and confronted decades later by the adult remnants of those children and the baggage they have accumulated.

Those influences are very clear but it’s very much a book with its own identity and it’s much more a mystery, or even set of mysteries, than a horror. The narration is shared between the past in 1986 and the present in 2016. Andrew Scott gets 1986 and he evokes a bright, direct approach well suited to young twelve year olds and their world as the memories unfold. Asa Butterfield takes the present and he strikes a quieter and far more measured tone that evokes the languid nature of the characters three decades later and the regrets and fading memories they carry with them. It’s a stunningly effective way to use two different narrators and the book is almost perfectly structured for it. The only point I’d raise is that Butterfield at times goes fairly quiet and with that wistful nature almost seems to trail off at the end of some sentences which if listening in a noisy environment could prove awkward.

The Chalk Man is a quality piece of work hovering between a murder mystery and an examination of tortured minds affected by trauma and mental deterioration. There are some real stand out moments and a lot of guessing to be done before the final reveal. The moment that will live with me longest though is the very end of the book. In a book largely about memories, their nature and how they affect us it’s a very powerful and moving conclusion.

14 of 19 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Highly recommended

I have been looking forward to this book being released for weeks. It did not disappoint. Very well written & performed. I was gripped all the way through, loving each twist & turn.

22 of 31 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Chillingly brilliant

A brilliant chilling suspenseful story full of twists and surprises.

Beautifully narrated.

Should be a TV crime drama, preferably starring Andrew Scott.

21 of 30 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Narrator made this hard work

Good book, nice premise, interesting storyline. Young Ed was great and captivating, but older Ed was another thing entirely. His often inaudible monotonous whisper drawl was just infuriating to listen to, especially when driving the volume had to be turned right up to hear these disinterested mumblings, only to then have to quickly reduce back down when he decided he was interested in the story again. I can see how it may have been a method of communicating the difference between internal monologue to action but it just made it a real effort to listen to in the car. Would definitely not purchase a book with this narrator again.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting story- odd performance.

The story was engaging, as was Asa Butterfield’s narration. However, I didn’t enjoy Andrew Scott’s performance. He swallowed the ends of his words so it was hard to hear and sounded like he was disinterested in the performance. It was also strange that the narrator developed an Irish accent once he’d grown up!

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

shame about the narration

Having read the publishers reviews and a short extract I looked forward to listening . All started ok but then narattor number 2 took over as senior story telller. Apart from the occasional moment of good character intetpretation , he mumbled , fading lazily at the end of phrases and often reduced to a slurred whisper. An incongreous match to the other readers interpretation of story teller in his youth. This detracted greatly from the intended theme which was not exactly brilliant or gripping . Howver I listened to the end , albeit irritated by the often monotone lazy rendition. I would say save your money and move on to better entertainment .

10 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good story, narration less so

I enjoyed the story but did find adult Eddie sounded really bored and distracted at times... and did this weird whispering voice thing which detracted from an otherwise good story.

7 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent debut book!

What did you like most about The Chalk Man?

The flashbacks to the 1980s from the present day

What did you like best about this story?

The whole concept was great and it was a gripping story

Which character – as performed by Andrew Scott and Asa Butterfield – was your favourite?

I enjoyed all the characters - they worked so well together

10 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Terrible performance

The story was okay but ruined by the narrator. Narrator of child has an English accent, narrator of same person as adult Irish accent?
Adult Irish narrator was awful, continually dipping his voice to a mumble throughout making it hard to hear what he was saying...

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Dreary

It could have been so much better.
The narrative was awful and dreary. The storyline not much better.
It does matter that the older narrative somehow turned into an Irish accent after the the young narrative was English, it does not make sense.
I stuck with the book but one I should have and would have felt quite happy to miss. Recommend late night reading as it's a good cure for insomnia. Overall grim.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Tom
  • 07-03-18

Great story. 1/2 the narration god awful.

The story is great let’s get that out of the way. The one narrator who does the chapters from flashbacks is great. The man whoever that does the 2016 chapters. Is beyond horrible. I noticed that on some of the reviews before buying people saying the same thing. I’ve never seen such a harsh review be so correct. He is so bad, honestly doesn’t seem like he’s even trying. He mumbles so some words aren’t even understandable. He also whispers for intense moments trying to make it sound creepy but it doesn’t work. They should have just had the one guy do both parts. Duo narrations always are weird but this was bad. I would have just rather bought the book.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • OA
  • 12-03-18

Ok, but flawed narration

I really don't understand why the producers of this book decided to use an Irish narrator for the 2016 parts. It suggests that Eddie grew up to become Irish, which doesn't make much sense, since he stayed in the same town until the age of 42.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful