Title: The Chalk Man
Author: C.J. Tudor
My Rating: 2/5 stars
Eddie and his friends used the chalk figures as a secret code to use amongst them; they’d draw on each other’s driveways to invite one another to different areas of the little English village they all lived in. That is until one day, the figures led the boys into the forest to the remains of a young girl’s body.
That was back in 1986. It’s 2016 now, and Eddie is a school teacher, still living in the village he grew up in. The events of 1986 still haunt him, though, and he’s determined to forget everything that happened; even when he and the rest of the old gang receive chalk men in the mail.
Except one of them dies. It seems that Eddie and the remaining gang members must work together and face their demons in order to solve the murder, or else more of them may die.
This is going to be a difficult book for me to review. Let me start out by saying that I really wanted to like this, and I found myself justifying several things that made me uncomfortable throughout, hoping that it would turn out better. I hoped that the end would just blow me away and it would make everything else seem inconsequential. Unfortunately, the end was not mind-blowing, and the parts I had concerns about remained concerning.
First of all, I’m a religious person. I’m a Christian, but I am also aware that there are many people in the world that consider themselves religious that are also horrible people, and they tend to ruin it for the good people. So to be clear: just because you call yourself a Christian does not make you a good person.
So one of the adversaries in this book was the village vicar, who was an absolutely terrible person. I do not dispute this. He did awful things throughout the duration of this story and he should have suffered major consequences. Still, the author seemed to make anyone who was remotely religious out to be evil, spiteful, hateful people, and all the non-religious characters were understanding and kind and knowing. And I have issues with that.
I won’t get into it more than that. I only feel like I need to stick up for the people in my life who associate themselves with this type of belief system and say that neither I nor any of my peers are like the religious folk in The Chalk Man.
Moving on, the pacing of this was very interesting and well done. The chapters alternate between 1986 and 2016, and each chapter ended in some sort of cliff hanger. So if you wanted to find out how the events of the previous chapter play out, you have to read at least 2 more chapters. This is an interesting strategy but all in all I think it worked out nicely. I finished the book quickly due to both this aspect and of course wanting to get to the end to find out what happens.
Unfortunately, the author made the villain out to be quite obvious from the very beginning. Whenever this happens, I tend to guess that it’s a character you wouldn’t think of, somebody you’d least suspect. I ignore the villain that the author is trying to throw in my face and distract me with because no, it can’t be this guy, it has to be the goofy, side character that no one thinks twice about.
No, it was the character the author was trying to throw in my face.
This is so frustrating for me as a reader who likes to be surprised and see major twists occur. The author did include a morsel of a twist in the final chapter, but it was definitely not enough to satisfy me. The Chalk Man was creepy and at time good, thrilling fun, but was ruined by a disappointing conclusion.