In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy 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 one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever 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 that his friends got the same message, 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.
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published January 9th 2018 by Crown Publishing Group
Four stars: An entertaining, suspenseful, creepy little read.
It is 2016, thirty years since Eddie and his friends followed the chalk stick figures into the woods and uncovered a body. The past comes crawling back when Eddie and his friends receive letters in the mail with a single chalk stick figure. It all seems like a harmless prank, until one of them dies. Is the killer back? Will they be next?
What I Liked:
- The Chalk Man is a thrilling read with a touch of horror. This one isn’t too gruesome or scary so don’t hesitate. It will keep you up past your bedtime because every chapter is a cliffhanger.
- I liked the way the story moved forward and back in time. Each chapter alternates between 1986 when the kids were 12 to 2016 finding them as grown adults. I thought the author pulled off the time shifts perfectly and it added suspense to the story.
- This is one of the books that grabs you with its creepy story line, and then it keeps you hooked with its cliffhanger chapter endings. Practically every chapter ends with a hook that will keep you reading well past bedtime. Loved the suspense.
- The climax and the ending were fantastic. Everything starts to fall in place and the secrets explode. I won’t say too much, but I thought the way it all came out was brilliant. Everything doesn’t end nice and neat. There are all these little fingers that spread out. Some big surprises for sure. You won’t ever be able to piece it all together!
- The ending is great. Almost everything is answered with a few little niggles to ponder upon.
And The Not So Much:
- My biggest complaint is I felt no connection with any of the characters. They are all a bit neurotic and rather unlikeable. I really wanted to like Eddy, the main character, but he is a hopeless drunk with kleptomaniac tendencies. As the story goes along, he becomes creepier. The rest of the characters aren’t warm or likeable either. I just didn’t care about any of them, so I was not emotionally invested in the story.
- There are several scenes with strange dreams that are not explained. Was there sleep walking involved or what?
- The other thing that really bothered me was that it wasn’t explained whether one character was faking it all the time or whether he had only times where he was cognizant. What was up with that?
- That final reveal was a bit too much. Why would anyone keep something like that? Ugh!
The Chalk Man is a suspenseful story that is a bit scary. I enjoyed the story, the creepiness and the way it all played out at the end. My big hesitation with this one is that all the characters are unlikeable so I was never emotionally invested in the story. Still if you want a book that will keep you reading well past your bedtime, try this one.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.