The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

January 8th, 2018 Kimberly Review 26 Comments

8th Jan
The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor
The Chalk Man
by C.J. Tudor
Narrator: Euan Morton
Genres: Thriller
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
Narration: 4 cups

In 1986, Eddie and his friend are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy little English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code; little chalk stick figures they leave for each other as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing will ever be the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he's put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out his other friends got the same messages, they think it could be a prank... until one of them turns up dead. That's when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

Expertly alternating between flashbacks and the present day, The Chalk Man is the very best kind of suspense novel, one where every character is wonderfully fleshed out and compelling, where every mystery has a satisfying payoff, and where the twists will shock even the savviest reader.


A brilliant suspense thriller, The Chalk Man, written by C.J. Tudor and narrated by Euan Morton was both thriller and mystery. The Chalk Man is Tudor’s debut novel, and I get chills just thinking about her next book. The story that unfolded had a beautiful, addictive flow that allowed the listeners to step into the tale and lose themselves.

The story told from the perspective of Eddie with an alternating timeline between 1986 and present day (2016) hooked me immediately. In 1986, Eddie is twelve years old and fondly referred to as Eddie Munster by his best friends and schoolmates, Metal Mickey, Fat Gav, Hoppo and the only girl of the group, Nicky. They spend their days biking, exploring and hiking in the woods. In 2016, Eddie is a single, forty-two years old school teacher. He lives in his parent’s former home and has a young female tenant named Chloe. Eddie is a bit of an oddball, with some issues that I will leave the listener to discover.

The story begins with a prologue that sets the tone for the entire story. I immediately settled in with the narrations of Euan Morton and enjoyed both his tone and voices for each character.

We spend time getting to know Eddie and his friends as we experience life in 1986. From controversies to kids roaming free in the lazy days of summer we get a sense of their friendship and daily lives. I loved their friendship and getting to know the dynamics of the group. When I think of them, the young characters of Stand By Me, It, and Stranger Things come to mind.

The kids are brimming with excitement one Saturday because they are attending the fair. It will be their first time without adult supervision. Tudor vividly brought their enthusiasm and the sights and sounds of the county fair to life as he introduced each friend. What should have been one of their fondest childhood memories ends in tragedy. Events over the summer will split them apart and strip them of their childhood innocence. But for now, the promise of summer lies before them. They spend their days together, face down bullies and tease each other relentlessly. When one gets a bucket of chalk, they begin leaving messages for each other. I loved the secret codes they created. However, a mysterious chalkman leads them to a grizzly discover, and nothing will ever be the same.

Tudor touched on controversies such as abortion, tight-knit communities, Eddie’s disorders and character’s issues with Alzheimer’s. These matters grounded the story while adding depth, doubt, and insight into the characters and events. The switch from the past to present was done with dates and by chapter making it easy to know exactly where you are. It also allowed for slow reveals and created suspense. Tudor also had a firm grasp of their language, and it reflected in the switch from youth to adulthood.

As an adult, Eddie is taken aback when he receives a note in the mail with a chalkman figure. He soon discovers he isn’t the only one. Tudor kept me listening as the past met the present. We got to know the kids as adults, find out what happened in the past, and see them join together again. The plot was dark and twisted with moments where I doubted everything. While I figured somethings out, I was surprised by some of the reveals. I even appreciated the theories presented for the pieces that didn’t quite fit.

A brilliant page-turner, The Chalk Man, providing all the elements I love in a suspenseful thriller. Euan Morton’s narration combined with Tudor’s storytelling made this a captivating listen.

Debut novel, The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor narrated by Euan Morton offered a suspenseful thriller that should be on your #mustlisten #audio list! #loveaudioooks Click To Tweet
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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

26 Responses to “The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor”

  1. AngelErin

    Oh, I want this one so bad! Your review just makes me want to read it so much more. Excellent review! I just love thrillers. I need this as soon as my wallet says yes. LOL! :o)

  2. Suzanne

    I just added this book to my TBR a couple of days ago so I’m excited to see how much you enjoyed it. I do love a great suspenseful read.

  3. ShootingStarsMag

    This will be one of my next reads, and I can’t wait! It sounds fantastic and I’m really glad to hear that you enjoyed it so much.


  4. Lorna

    Sounds so very good! Wish I had more time for thrillers-addicted to contemporary right now and I still have to read paranormals. Do you watch Netflix? The series called The Five sounds a bit similar with the childhood to adulthood and flashbacks. Harlan Coben wrote it and it’s an amazing mystery/thriller.

  5. Ethan

    I agree with everything you said about this one. I read it into all hours of the morning and couldn’t stop until I finished!

  6. Trish @ Between My Lines

    Hmmh I have a paper copy but now I feel like I need the audio! Either way looks like I need to get on with it and read in some format soon. I love the 80s setting and your comparison to Stand By Me and Stranger Things excites me.

  7. Daniela Ark

    I was so curious about this book! SO happy to hear is good! I made one of my goals to read at least 4 thrillers this year [I usually read 1 or 2] I think this will be one of them! Great Review Kim

  8. Heidi

    I am totally hooked in the eighties right now because I am listening to Ready Player One, so good. Reading your review, I was reminded of IT, so I now have to read this!

  9. Fran

    This is not generally my cup of tea, as you know, but for some reason I find it intriguing… I may be giving this a go at some point, who knows! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Kimberly!

  10. JJ @ This Dark Material

    I thought this one was just o-k, but that last chapter had me reeling! There was a great foundation in The Chalk Man, though, so I’m definitely going to be checking out whatever Tudor writes next.

  11. Lily

    so excited to read this 😀 I have it, now that the holidays are over I cannot wait to dive right into it. Did not know it was a debut!

  12. Tyler H. Jolley

    What a freaking awesome debut novel. I totally got a Stand By Me/IT feeling with the friendships. And the chalk, of course, made me think of the Rythmatist (Sanders). It’s like the best of these books redone in an impressive way.

  13. Debbie Haupt

    I love Euan Morton’s narration Kim, he did the narrating on Mr. Dickens and his Carol and was fabulous. This one sounds excellent thanks for sharing your thoughts

  14. Nick

    This sounds brilliant, Kim! You sold me with your comparison to the kids of Stranger Things!
    Great review!

  15. kindlemom1

    I’m still on a mystery and thriller kick so I definitely need to check this one out more. Great review Kim and hope you are feeling better!