The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

Synopsis: In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy 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 one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever 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 that his friends got the same message, 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.

Review:  I see this novel almost everywhere, and the rather positive reviews made me want to discover more about the story. That’s why I was delighted to see the French release!

In this story, two times alternate, 1986 and 2016, the childhood of our hero and his adult life. The mix was really well done by the author, although I confess that I was frustrated to go back to the past or the future at each end of chapter. Yes, because each end ends with a capital element and I wanted more. We thus follow the childhood of a group of 4 children, 3 boys and a girl, a childhood that will make them rub shoulders with things that will not be simple for them, even if they do not sometimes realize the gravity of the events. In 2016, we find some of these now grown-up children who have to deal with what happened when they were younger, and it is Eddie who will try to discover the truth. Yet he did not expect to discover such secrets, to discover that each one carries his/her own guilt secret.

The novel was very well built and I was really curious to really understand what had happened years ago. As I said nothing is simple and we discover little by little the truth about each of the characters. It’s a pretty dark story, terrible things have been done and yet while everyone thought they knew who the culprit was, it looked like there was more.

The author offers us a very good thriller here and I am happy to have discovered and to have seen these children evolve.

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