The Chalk Man

A Novel
Narrated by: Euan Morton
Length: 9 hrs and 50 mins
4 out of 5 stars (2,269 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

“Want to read something good?... If you like my stuff, you’ll like this.” (Stephen King)

Winner of the ITW Thriller Award

Winner of The Strand Magazine Award for Best Debut Novel 

A riveting psychological suspense debut that weaves a mystery about a childhood game gone dangerously awry, and will keep readers guessing right up to the shocking ending.

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are on the verge of adolescence, spending their days biking in search of adventure. The chalk men are their secret code, stick figures they draw for one another as hidden messages. But one morning, the friends find a chalk man leading them to the woods. They follow the message, only to find the dead body of a teenage girl. 

In 2016, Eddie is nursing a drinking problem and trying to forget his past, until one day he gets a letter containing a chalk man — the same one he and his friends saw when they found the body. Soon he learns that all his old friends received the same note. When one of them is killed, Eddie realizes that saving himself means figuring out what happened all those years ago. But digging into the past proves more dangerous than he could have known. Because in this town, everyone has secrets, no one is innocent, and some will do anything to bury the truth.

Praise for The Chalk Man

“Wonderfully creepy — like a cold blade on the back of your neck.” (Lee Child)

“An assured debut that alternates between 1986 and 2016 with unpredictable twists. The Chalk Man fits well with other stories about troubled childhoods such as Stephen King’s novella Stand by Me.... Tudor never misses a beat in showing each character as both a child and an adult while also exploring the foreboding environs of a small town.” (Associated Press)

“Utterly hypnotic. The Chalk Man is a dream novel, a book of nightmares: haunted and haunting, shot through with shadow and light — a story to quicken the pulse and freeze the blood. A dark star is born.” (A.J. Finn, number-one New York Times best-selling author of The Woman in the Window)

“If you can’t get enough of psychological thrillers with sharp twists and turns, you need to read The Chalk Man.” (Hello Giggles

“I haven’t had a sleepless night due to a book for a long time. The Chalk Man changed that.” (Fiona Barton, New York Times best-selling author of The Widow)

©2018 C.J. Tudor (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Utterly hypnotic. The Chalk Man is a dream novel, a book of nightmares: haunted and haunting, shot through with shadow and light - a story to quicken the pulse and freeze the blood. A dark star is born." (A.J. Finn, author of The Woman in the Window)
"What a great book. A twisty thriller and downright creepy ending. Five stars." (Sarah Pinborough, New York Times best-selling author of Behind Her Eyes)

What listeners say about The Chalk Man

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
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    4 out of 5 stars

Losing One’s Head

Slyly woven story, but more psychological/emotional than suspense... The slow burn w/ some well placed surreal moments holds your interest while you keep thinking you see the answers outta the corner of your mind’s eye, then you think you see a flicker in a different direction, and so on... Loved the circular story arc and plot points, everything comes back around in nearly every instance... Excepting a couple of characters there isn’t a lot of depth or investigation, but where done is done mindfully... The dissociative/dream sequences adds a creepiness factor, and overall the book ticks most of the boxes;). The narration is insinuatingly excellent... Wouldn’t go as far as to call it one of the best of 2018, but worthwhile and engaging read/listen regardless...

39 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Sufficiently interesting and fast paced

After listening a while I almost felt like it was paying a bit of UK homage to Stephen King's IT. Lots of story similarities with regard to the characters. No clown and horror but I kept having that same vibe throughout the story. Plenty twisty and turny with a bit of surprise supernatural thrown in there. There was great character development too. I was made to believe the end was going to be holy-cow didn't see that coming but I was left a little - eh - ok, that makes sense, sounds reasonable. Welllll the last little bit WAS a bit of a shocker I guess but it was almost a second thought.

Overall decent suspense mystery. Not mad at spending the credit. Interested in seeing what else the author has to offer.

43 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Well done modern murder mystery

This is a well written, well edited book about an unsolved murder that took place in the main character's childhood, but such a refreshing change from many "psychological thrillers" on the market today. The characters behave in ways that are reasonably unreasonable - just like real people do - to make the entire story compelling. I was not waiting breathlessly to find the mystery solved, but enjoyed the book from beginning to end.

28 people found this helpful

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What a plot!

It starts off like a pretty average mystery: two time lines, 1986 when the protagonist was 12, and his present day at 40 or so. But, oh, how the pieces come together! A flawless puzzle.

8 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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It doesn’t quite work

I can see how this book might appeal to certain readers. It’s engaging, mysterious, and there is an abundance of creepy vibes. Therein lies the problem. There is a ton of atmosphere, but very little character development. As a reader, I find that incredibly boring. Additionally, the resolution of the story just seemed really dumb to me. Something disturbing is revealed in the last few minutes that had me rolling my eyes in frustration. It was completely unnecessary and just felt like something added on to hit the reader over the head with the “creepy vibe”.
Overall It’s entertaining, but don’t expect much more than that.

14 people found this helpful

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Thoroughly enjoyed this book !

Very seldom do I arrive home and sit in my car to finish a chapter. The story had twists and turns right down to the last five minutes. The narrator was outstanding. Sometimes I have difficulty understanding British accents but not this time. I highly recommend !

11 people found this helpful

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Kinda odd but I liked it...

Liked it, didn't love it but couldn't stop listening. Nice twists and turns. you get to think outside the box. At the end you are asking yourself did I really just hear that.

9 people found this helpful

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Cool....But SUPER DARK

Overall a good, compelling story with great narration. If you enjoy books with a million funerals then this is the book for you lol...

11 people found this helpful

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Hokey!

Way too many bad guys to develop characters well. Too contrived to be really interesting.

14 people found this helpful

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TO ALL: Get rid of ALL Expectations!!!

I'll tell you what made this book about half as good as it could've been: Fiona Barton (author of The Widow) wrote a review that said, "I haven't had a sleepless night due to a book in a long time. The Chalk Man changed that."

I try my hardest NOT to read reviews or anything like that before I go into a book. I really only like reading the synopsis, but that was the one that flashed every time I got on goodreads AND audible for that matter. So, if I went into this book with no expectations, it MIGHT have gotten a four on the story--MIGHT HAVE.

The book was wonderfully written, so CJ Tudor definitely has skill in that area. The storyline just didn't...flow as well as I thought it could have. The bouncing back and forth in time wasn't horrible, but it has been done a million times better by other authors. Honestly, I can't say what made this book fall flat for me, but there was something wrong. Now, the book has intrigue, suspense and a semi-interesting story. So, I don't want people to NOT read this because of my review. I don't feel as though I've wasted my time like I did with Jac Jemc's "The Grip of It" and Robyn Harding's "The Party," but I just think it could've been done better. I know some people will read this review and just skip this book and that's fine, but that is not my intention. I just want listeners and readers to lower their expectations so that they don't end up feeling let down like I did.

Euan Morton--decent, but I wouldn't say there was a ton of range in his performance. The best thing I can say about it is that it wasn't annoying, because a lot of narrators put on the voice of the opposite gender and it sounds SILLY. So, Mr. Morton did a fairly decent job with what the book gave him. I'm sure there was someone who could've done a better job, but he was good. I'd give him a solid B.

The book, whether it's print or audio, gets a B- from me. I do think that someone else could read this, lower their expectations, and really enjoy the book. I just had my reading ruined by hype, unfortunately. Despite all this, I don't think it'll ever deserve more than a B+ and that's a good score when it comes to how harsh I tend to be.

34 people found this helpful