The Chalk Man

C.J. Tudor. Crown, $26 (288p) ISBN 978-1-5247-6098-4
In 1986, Eddie Adams, the narrator of British author Tudor’s promising debut, and his four best mates, all early adolescents, become ensnared in a series of ghastly events in the picturesque English town of Anderbury, with the nightmarish inevitability of the Grimmest of tales. In the most shocking episode, a mysterious man leads them to the dismembered remains of a teenage girl in the woods. Not surprisingly, these traumas, which also include abuse, sadistic bullying, and a prank that turns deadly, cast a sizeable shadow over the friends’ futures. In 2016, Mickey, one of Eddie’s old friends, returns to town after more than 20 years away, planning to write a book about the girl’s murder upon the occasion of the murder’s 30th anniversary. Danger looms after Mickey announces that he knows who really killed the girl (the prime suspect killed himself before his likely arrest). Though Tudor makes a couple of rookie missteps, including excessive plot twists seemingly for the sake of surprise, her storytelling prowess is undeniable. Agent: Madeleine Milburn, Madeleine Milburn Literary (U.K.). (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/2017
Release date: 01/09/2018
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-385-69007-2
Paperback - 460 pages - 978-0-525-59001-9
Compact Disc - 978-0-525-52638-4
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio

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