Chalk Man (Tudor)

The Chalk Man 
C.J. Tudor, 2018
Crown/Archetype
288 pp.
ISBN-13:
9781524760984


Summary
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

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.

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. (From the publisher.)



Author Bio
C. J. Tudor, born as Caroline and called "Caz," lives in Nottingham, England, with her partner and young daughter. As told to Crime Fiction Lover, she always enjoyed writing but didn't settle into it until her mid-thirties.

Over the years she has worked as a copywriter, television presenter, voice-over artist, and dog walker, which she says she was doing while working on her debut novel. She is now thrilled to be able to write full-time, and doesn’t miss chasing wet dogs through muddy fields all that much. The Chalk Man is her first novel. (Adapted from the publisher and crimefictionlover.com.)



Book Reviews
[G]astly events in the picturesque English town of Anderbury, with the nightmarish inevitability of the Grimmest of tales.…Though Tudor makes a couple of rookie missteps, including excessive plot twists … her storytelling prowess is undeniable.
Publishers Weekly


A band of preteens in a quaint English village in the late 1980s confront true evil and grapple with the lifelong consequences in this gripping debut mystery/thriller.… Taut plotting, smooth writing, and a compelling premise. —Kiera Parrott
Library Journal


[The] first-person narration alternates between past and present, taking full advantage of chapter-ending cliffhangers. A swift, cleverly plotted debut novel that ably captures the insular, slightly sinister feel of a small village.
Kirkus Reviews



Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're available; in the meantime, please use our GENERIC MYSTERY QUESTIONS to start a discussion for The Chalk Man … then take off on your own:



GENERIC DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Mystery / Crime / Suspense Thrillers

1. Talk about the characters, both good and bad. Describe their personalities and motivations. Are they fully developed and emotionally complex? Or are they flat, one-dimensional heroes and villains?

2. What do you know...and when do you know it? At what point in the book do you begin to piece together what happened?

3. Good crime writers embed hidden clues in plain sight, slipping them in casually, almost in passing. Did you pick them out, or were you...clueless? Once you've finished the book, go back to locate the clues hidden in plain sight. How skillful was the author in burying them?

4. Good crime writers also tease us with red-herrings—false clues—to purposely lead readers astray? Does your author try to throw you off track? If so, were you tripped up?

5. Talk about the twists & turns—those surprising plot developments that throw everything you think you've figured out into disarray.

  1. Do they enhance the story, add complexity, and build suspense?
  2. Are they plausible or implausible?
  3. Do they feel forced and gratuitous—inserted merely to extend the story?

6. Does the author ratchet up the suspense? Did you find yourself anxious—quickly turning pages to learn what happened? A what point does the suspense start to build? Where does it climax...then perhaps start rising again?

7. A good ending is essential in any mystery or crime thriller: it should ease up on tension, answer questions, and tidy up loose ends. Does the ending accomplish those goals?

  1. Is the conclusion probable or believable?
  2. Is it organic, growing out of clues previously laid out by the author (see Question 3)?
  3. Or does the ending come out of the blue, feeling forced or tacked-on?
  4. Perhaps it's too predictable.
  5. Can you envision a different or better ending?

8. Are there certain passages in the book—ideas, descriptions, or dialogue—that you found interesting or revealing...or that somehow struck you? What lines, if any, made you stop and think?

9. Overall, does the book satisfy? Does it live up to the standards of a good crime story or suspense thriller? Why or why not?

(Generic Mystery Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

(Resources by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online and off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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