When it comes to psychological thrillers – or any book for that matter – you’re either going to forget about it or it’s going to leave a permanent mark in your mind. The Chalk Man, for me, is the latter.
If you love ‘Stand By Me’, then this is a book that you’re going to want to invest your time in to. The Chalk Man is a story of five young friends – 4 boys, 1 girl – who go through an experience that no young person should ever have to witness. Something so incredibly terrifying and unresolved, that it still haunts them 30+ years later.
The book splits between 1986 and 2016. 1986 shows us the five as young, carefree kids who shouldn’t have a single problem on their shoulders. We have our main POV, Eddie. Then we have his 4 best friends, Gav, Hoppo, Mickey and Nikky. They hang out at fairgrounds and parks, they ride their bikes all over town, and they innocently send messages to one another with different colours of chalk. However, that innocence is soon taken away from them, when chalk becomes a part of something much darker.
Fast forward to 2016, Eddie is still living in the same town where everything went wrong, as a school teacher. The past will forever haunt him whilst living in town, as it does with his two other friends, Gav and Hoppo, who also stayed. Except, Micky doesn’t want the past to be the past and he returns in hope to tell the story of that day, in all it’s truth. Bringing up the past is never the answer and bad things begin to happen – including the return of the Chalk Man. Gav and Hoppo believe it all to be a joke, however, Eddie believes it is so much more than that and won’t give up until he solves the mystery that no one else was able to.
Whilst this book was a little slow to get in to at first, by the middle and the end, I was absolutely hooked! I couldn’t tear myself away to the point I was reading it on the bus to work, in my breaks at work, staying up late, etc. The 5 main characters as children reminded me of Stranger Things, IT and Stand By Me, which made this book all the more enjoyable – plus, they were all great characters individually and they now have a special place in my heart. CJ does NOT disappoint when it comes to plot twists and making your head feel like it’s going to explode, honestly, the last chapter had me with my head in my hands, re-reading the lines over and over again because I was so baffled! We need more CJ!
This is an absolute must-read if you love psychological thrillers and a good mystery to solve!