Cover image for The chalk man / C.J. Tudor.
The chalk man / C.J. Tudor.
Publication Information:
Toronto : Seal Books, [2019]

Physical Description:
348 pages ; 18 cm
General Note:
Includes excerpt from The hiding place.


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
TUD Paperback Adult Paperback Fiction
TUD Paperback Adult Paperback Fiction
TUD Paperback Adult Paperback Fiction

On Order



A riveting and brilliantly plotted psychological suspense, this razor-sharp debut will keep readers guessing right up to the shocking ending.

In 1986, Eddie and his friends 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.

Author Notes

C. J. TUDOR lives in Nottingham, England, with her partner and three-year-old daughter. Over the years she has worked as a copywriter, television presenter, voiceover actor and dog-walker. She is now thrilled to be able to write full-time, and doesn't miss chasing wet dogs through muddy fields all that much. The Chalk Man is her first novel.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Scottish theater actor Morton performs a dramatic rendition of Tudor's debut novel, a psychological thriller focusing on five 12-year-olds who experience a series of life-altering events in an English village in 1986. The preteen quintet includes Eddie, the thoughtful narrator; boisterous Gav; soft-spoken introvert Hoppo; raspy-voiced, annoying Mickey; and Nicky, the tomboy daughter of the town's vicar. The book shifts from the preteen memories to Eddie's unsettled life in 2016, in which he is still haunted by the series of horrific accidents and unsolved murders he and his friends witnessed 30 years earlier. Reader Morton adds depth to each of the characters in his reading for the audio edition. His Eddie has a melancholy personality that lingers from childhood into his 40s. There's a touch of menace in the latter-day Mickey, while Gav's brashness is diminished in adulthood. Tudor's novel is more character study than psychological thriller, and Morton's fully realized character voices help convey that. A Crown hardcover. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

Eddie Adams was 12 years old in 1986 when he witnessed a terrible accident at a fair that left a beautiful young girl's face mangled and her leg nearly severed. After Eddie helped administer first aid, he did not expect to see her again. Life continued as usual, with Eddie and his friends communicating through colored chalk drawings left outside one another's homes. One day, they were each called to meet in the park by chalk drawings no one claimed to have left. More drawings led them to the woods where they discovered the murdered and mutilated body of the girl from the fair. The murder was attributed to a teacher who was new in town and had befriended the girl. His suicide soon after the discovery of the girl's body conveniently wrapped up the crime. In 2016, Eddie and his friends begin to look at the 30-year-old mystery from a new perspective, and violence visits them again. Narrator Euan Morton smoothly and expertly distinguishes the voices of the varied characters. Verdict Ghosts and nightmares, blood and guts, are all part of this suspense story. Although half of the story is told through the eyes of an adolescent, it is truly for mature audiences. This engaging work will be in demand. ["Taut plotting, smooth writing, and a compelling premise will satisfy fans of Jo Nesbo, Camilla Läckberg, and Tana French": LJ 11/15/17 review of the Crown hc.]-Ann Weber, San José, CA © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Prologue  The girl's head rested on a small pile of orange-and-brown leaves. Her almond eyes stared up at the canopy of sycamore, beech and oak, but they didn't see the tentative fingers of sunlight that poked through the branches and sprinkled the woodland floor with gold. They didn't blink as shiny black beetles scurried over their pupils. They didn't see anything any more, except darkness. A short distance away, a pale hand stretched out from its own small shroud of leaves as if searching for help, or reassurance that it was not alone. None was to be found. The rest of her body lay out of reach, hidden in other secluded spots around the woods. Close by, a twig snapped, loud as a firecracker in the stillness, and a flurry of birds exploded out of the undergrowth. Someone approached. They knelt down beside the unseeing girl. Their hands gently caressed her hair and stroked her cold cheek, fingers trembling with anticipation. Then they lifted up her head, dusted off a few leaves that clung to the ragged edges of her neck, and placed it care- fully in a bag, where it nestled among a few broken stubs of chalk. After a moment's consideration, they reached in and closed her eyes. Then they zipped the bag shut, stood up and carried it away. Some hours later, police officers and the forensic team arrived. They numbered, photographed, examined and eventually took the girl's body to the morgue, where it lay for several weeks,  as if await­ing completion. It never came. There were extensive searches, questions and appeals but, despite the best efforts of all the detectives and al the town's men, her head was never found, and the girl in the woods was never put together again.  Chapter 1 2016 Start at the beginning. The problem was, none of us ever agreed on the exact beginning. Was it when Fat Gav got the bucket of chalks for his birthday? 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? Any number of beginnings. Any of them, I guess, you could call the start. But really, I think it all began on the day of the fair. That's the day I remember most. Because of Waltzer Girl, obviously, but also because it was the day that everything stopped being normal. If our world was a snow globe, it was the day some casual god came along, shook it hard and set it back down again. Even when the foam and flakes had settled, things weren't the way they were before. Not exactly. They might have looked the same through the glass but, on the inside, everything was different. That was also the day I first met Mr. Halloran, so, as beginnings go, I suppose it's as good as any. Excerpted from The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.