My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 1 day
Pages - 342
Publisher - Penguin
Source - Amazon
Blurb from Goodreads
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.
What a fantastic debut novel, I had bought this after reading a few reviews and then bumped it up my TBRM (to be read mountain) after it was chosen for the Crime Book Club book of the month. A duo timeline see's us go to 1986 with Eddie and his friends, using chalk men and codes for each other. When "the chalk man" leads them to find a body everything changes. Flip to present day, the group are grown up and receive a message with a chalk man it seems the past never really does stay in the past.
So it took me a few chapters to settle into this one, you know which time period you are in as it is clearly marked. The timeline with the kids was, I felt, really well done, the expressions they use, the chain of thought for kids of that age and time. I always find things like that can make or break a book, authentic voices are really needed and help draw the reader in. I heard a few people are saying it has ripped off IT by Stephen King? I have read and seen the book/movie several times and I can tell you it DOES NOT at all. The only stretch of similarity you could say was there is a childhood group of friends, duo timeline of the 80's and present day and an incident with a stone which in the 80's we all have many stories with stones, rocks or boulders.
Some scenes are a bit eerie, there is tension, murder, violence, excitement and I found myself drawn in relatively quickly to find out what happened then. What happens next and what, if any, relevance the past has to the presence. You would never know this was a debut novel, well I wouldn't think so and I read hundreds of books. I would love to read more about these characters and hope maybe the author will revisit them at some point. Worth a watching and I absolutely will be reading this author again, 4/5 for me this time.