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The Chalk Man

By: C J Tudor
Length: 8 hrs and 39 mins
4 out of 5 stars (1,431 ratings)

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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

Overall

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good story, narration not so good

Whilst this was an interesting story it was ruined for me by the narration of the older Ed. It was monotone and frequently trailed off to an inaudible whisper so that I had to run back the recording too many times for me to enjoy the book. I did stick it out to the end though and whilst I'm glad I did, the ending to the story being superb I would not listen to another book read by this narrator nor could I recommend this one to others

40 of 43 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

46 of 60 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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 .

36 of 47 people found this review helpful

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When I grow up daddy, I want to be Irish...

I don't really know what to say. The story was pretty good but I just can't ignore the elephant in the room. It ruined the entire book for me. Children who stay in their home town (somewhere in the South East of England) do not grow up to become Irish. I kept wondering if perhaps the character would move to Ireland or y'know , have a stroke and wake up with a new accent but no! It was just lazy casting. Not only did Eddie grown up to be a proud Irishman, he also developed a strange dreamy style of speaking, more in keeping with narrating poetic memoirs. Just odd.

What I find more odd is the large number of people who have reviewed this audio book without even mentioning this. Makes me wonder how real some of these reviews actually are....

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    2 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...

17 of 22 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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.

17 of 22 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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.

19 of 25 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Good but not that good...

Not sure what all the hype is about on this one. It’s basically a rehash of IT, Stand by Me & Stranger Things. I enjoyed the twisty reveals enough to read it to the end but some of the writing is toe curlingly bad! The main let down is that none of the protagonists feel like they grow and develop - even the lead is still a whiny little boy at 42. That may be a point the author is making but it’s woefully unrealistic. The narration is also dreadful - absolutely no idea why they used a younger and older actor as they’re both discussing the past. It’s also bizarre that Andrew Scott kept his Irish accent when the younger version of him is English. WTH? Did the character sojourn in Dublin for a few years we didn’t know about or did I miss a chapter?

12 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Narrator difficult to hear at times.

When playing the older person narration was difficult to make out at times. Which was a shame great book.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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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.

34 of 47 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.

7 of 7 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

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-01-19

The narration was awful.

The guy with the Irish accent was a horrible narrator. I still don’t know he had an Irish accent being from England, or why every other sentence he read trailed off in lazy mumblings.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kconnerty
  • 31-12-18

Excellent story

But I will never listen to an Andrew Scott read again, I’m very sorry to say. Some of his reading was barely audible. And some of it was so garbled I missed it. I would pump up the volume and then when Asa came on I would have to turn it down. The whole book was listened to in this way. Remember: you’re reading a book that will be listened to in numerous settings. Amongst those will be noisy places. So being all dramatic with a falsetto type voice is not conducive to those places.

Otherwise,the story was very good and I enjoyed the two voices very much.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • AudioBW
  • 12-05-19

Didn't like

I found the negativity towards Christians and prolife work unfounded and unfair. The narration was ok.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful