As children, we all drew with chalk and played games with our friends. We probably had secret messages and codes we shared, too. But sometimes, those games and secrets go wrong, and they follow us wherever we go.

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor book cover
The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor
Photo courtesy of Amazon

An Overview of The Chalk Man

The Chalk Man, the debut book by C.J. Tudor, tells the story of Eddie and his friends. In 1986, they are just kids hanging around their English town, riding bikes and looking for adventure. They develop a code for each other, the chalk man, a stick figure drawn as a secret message to each other. But then, the chalk men lead them to the woods where they find a dead body, and it changes their lives forever.

In 2016, Eddie receives a letter in the mail with only a chalk man drawing. His friends all receive the same mysterious mail. Thinking it is just a prank, they brush it off—until one of them ends up dead.

With the book alternating between the past and present, The Chalk Man delivers a suspenseful look at the limits of friendship, the secrets small towns keep, and the trauma that stays with you.

Chalk on the sidewalk Photo by Sam Haddad on Unsplash
Photo by Sam Haddad on Unsplash

My First Impressions

I first came across this book when choosing my monthly book with my Book of the Month Club subscription in December 2017. As a fan of true crime and suspense, this one caught my eye as something I may enjoy. I got the book, put it on my bookshelf, and promptly forgot about it.

That is until two years later when I rediscovered that I owned the book. I sat down to read it, and to say I am sad I waited so long is an understatement.

My Review of The Chalk Man

I could not put this book down. The Chalk Man had all the hallmarks of a brilliant suspense book. Complex characters fill every chapter. Tudor carefully crafts and intertwines their storylines, keeping you in the dark about everything you want to know immediately. You grow attached to the characters after seeing them from the innocence of their youth to their troubled adulthood. There’s trauma, and then the characters working through that trauma, but not always in the best ways.

Mysteries surround most of the events and people in this book. There are many twists and turns that do not fall into the trap of predictability; they are truly unexpected. There were many moments where I was gasping with my jaw dropped at what has just occurred. This book is fantastic in all the darkest ways and will keep you guessing until the end.

Final Thoughts

If you are a fan of coming of age stories, mystery, and/or suspense, this is the perfect book to pick. The Chalk Man combines all the greatest things about these genres and creates a fascinating and thrilling book that you won’t be able to put down. I recommend reading in the daylight, because this book is eerie enough that it could keep you up at night.


Have you read The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor, or any books similar to it? Let us know in the comments!