The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor

Genre: gory.  ⭐️Stars from Goodreads: 3.74. ⭐️Stars from me: 2.

General information about The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor

The Chalk Man is supposed to be a very scary book about children and some games they play. The book is, indeed, gory. If you get squeamish about body parts spectacularly falling out of places they originally belonged to, this book is not a proper reading choice for you. I don’t watch such scenes in movies but looks like I need something more than the scrutinised anatomy of amputated limbs to scare me when it comes to books.The only thing that scared me, actually, was the wish to drop The Chalk Man 50 percents into the story. I had been longing for the book so much! I had been so excited to have my request for it approved! I had thanked the publisher, I had received good wishes from the author and here I was, not being able to last through another page. I summoned my courage and continued. Here is my obviously honest review.

What’s good about The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor

The story does manage to become slightly more interesting after the middle of the book. You start getting a clearer picture of who the victims are and what actually happened to them. There are also a few unexpected and well-arranged plot twists. The whole plot is knitted from many different threads so it’s also interesting to see how they connect eventually.


What’s bad about The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor

The dialogues

The dialogues in any book could help reveal a character. It doesn’t mean that a dialogue should be rubbed over a character like a thick layer of warning signs: attention, she’s a bitch! Look out, he’s an idiot! Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happens with the dialogues in The Chalk Man. The lodger of the protagonist, for example, is not able to appear in any scene without producing a bitchy remark. Like a stupid robot, she says something unpleasant whenever she opens her mouth, just for the sake of it. The protagonist himself is not able to mention her without a snappy remark of his own even if it’s about a banal, unrelated to the plot, shopping list. In fact, he always tries to impress you with his misplaced humour but instead he just sounds like a distant relative whose silly jokes you have to acknowledge with a polite smile.

The characters

None of them is developed enough to be multidimensional. They are all just tools to serve the plot. They never grow larger than a function assigned to them.

The clichés

Warning: if you know these clichés they will turn into spoilers for you.

Below are a few clichés from the book. How many of them will you be able to guess? If you do recognise a cliché though, it will be a spoiler for you. Question one: what will happen to a pet in a spooky thriller? Question two: what will happen to a person who announces he knows who the murderer is but will reveal the name later? As for the villain, it’s not a butler (because there’s no butler troll face.png) but it gets close to that.

The constant premonitions in The Chalk Man

Suspense is a condiment. You add it to the whole dish to spice it up, to make it more interesting. What will happen to the dish if you unload the whole pack of spices in it? Exactly. Suspense is a must in a thriller but it cannot be the main substance of the plot! You can’t lead a reader through the most of your book just by a mere promise to reveal something spooky later.

Final thoughts on The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor

I’ve seen people praising the book and saying they left the lights on at night and couldn’t go to sleep while reading the book. My experience wasn’t anything like that. I guess I should be scared by a different type of things and whatever they are, they should be better written.

Thanks a lot to the publishers for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

7 thoughts on “The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor

  1. I love the gifs! I was pretty excited to read this novel and I haven’t read it yet but I’ve been warned now to dial my expectations down a little bit. I still want to read it though and see if I like it or not, you knew pretty fast so I won’t have to wait long to make up my mind. Thanks for your review !

    1. Thank you! Choosing these GIFs is always a separate challenge but a fun one. I was also very excited about the book but you see where it got me. Maybe it will be better for you. When do you think you’ll read it?

    1. Thanks for leaving this comment, Claudia! I’m happy to learn that someone else thought the same. It’s a mysterious book. Everyone seems to know it but when I searched for actual reviews I couldn’t find much feedback from bloggers I knew and didn’t really trust all those praises from unknown sources (and will not ever trust them again 🙂 )

  2. I had such high hopes for this book, too, because of all the advance praise it was getting. I read it pretty soon after it published, and I remember having the same reaction you did — holy heck, was this grisly!! I was pretty surprised by that. Overall, I thought it was a good debut novel from a new author, and that the author has a lot of potential for better books in the future. I enjoyed reading this one, but not as much as I had thought I would. I just entered a contest to win an ARC of Tudor’s new novel coming out next year, and I’m looking forward to giving her another try since there were some elements of THE CHALK MAN I really liked. Many skin-crawling, creepy moments, some of the supernatural kind, and some just of the humans-are-the-worst kind. And, the ending was pretty disturbing!

    1. Thank you for letting me know you liked it! You know I already started imagining how it was possible that the book got such good reviews. I was googling for actual bloggers to say it themselves but didn’t find any reviews from those who I know. So it’s great to know that people did, indeed, liked it. I hope you will enjoy her second book!

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