A riveting and relentlessly compelling 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.

It’s only January, but we already have a must-read for the year! First Look Club reviewer EL and Fully Booked Staff Hannah dive into C. J. Tudor’s debut novel, The Chalk Man, and share their thoughts in this First Look feature.

First Impressions

EL says: The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor serves as a catalyst for that one trigger memory… the one that brings back the taste of that lollipop flavor you really liked, or the sting of soap and running water on that scraped knee from the time you rode your bike a bit faster because you thought you were invincible. It takes you back to your own friendships and the little things you did, but with the addition of a dead body and a mystery to solve.

Hannah says: The opening scene of C. J. Tudor’s The Chalk Man really set the tone of the whole book for me. It was a neatly packed present, given with both arms outstretched, but you know there’s more than meets the eye—something sinister underneath, waiting to be released. As a reader who doesn’t really read thrillers, this was a good first step into unfamiliar territory.

Standing Ovation

EL says: I applaud Tudor’s decision in setting the story in two timelines, one in 1986, and one in 2016, so there’s plenty of space to see just how things were, are, and yet to become. With the time skip, Tudor opens up different directions on how to piece together the missing bits that will solve the death of one of Eddie’s friends. (Yes, they went there!)

Hannah says: What I really like about this book is how everything is a character. Of course, you have the actual characters—childhood friends Eddie, Fat Gav, Mickey, Hoppo, and Nicky. You have their families, all with their own quirks and shadows. But then you have the quiet English town they all live in. You have that town in 1986 and you have that same town in 2016. There’s the pub, the playground, the woods. All the places in that town felt like their own person, and I enjoyed getting to know each one as I try to figure out which one of them will betray me.

Final Words

EL says: A cleverly constructed, creepily concluded, and exhaustingly written thrill ride that’s sure to have you finishing the book without any breaks.

Hannah says: Read this on the weekend because you won’t stop once you start, and when you finish you’ll need time to check your surroundings for chalk figures that may have appeared out of nowhere.


Read EL’s full review here.


The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor will be available soon at Fully Booked. To reserve a copy, email us at greatreads@fullybookedonline.com.

EL is a notorious book sniffer whose writing is littered across messy notebooks, literary publications, and his white-walled room. Hannah writes stuff and goes places.

[Thoughts and views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Fully Booked. Then again, we love our authors anyway.]

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