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chalk ManWhen I was a little girl we used chalk to mark out beds to play peever on – hopscotch, for non-Scots. Sometimes we’d use them to draw pictures, the braver among us describing an approximation of male genitalia on the hot summer pavements of Glasgow. In The Chalk Man, a group of disparate friends use chalk figures to send messages to each other. Lets meet at the park, see you in the woods.

But when the chalk figures start to reappear when the kids are all grown up, they know something sinister is afoot.

On the basis of this book it would be easy to call CJ Tudor the British Stephen King: outsiders? check; death? Check; a band of kids? Check; the past coming back to bite them on the bum? Huge check.

I have read several thriller/mystery books recently that share the King vibe, yet each one has been different and enjoyable in it’s own way. Knowing the time between writing and publication, it’s unlikely this is a fall out from the recent successful film of It. But I do wonder why there seems to be so many. At least it’s a welcome change from all ‘The Girl …’ titles.

The Chalk Man is well written. The characters are well drawn, not all likeable, but their actions seem reasonable within their circumstances and I really was rooting for the main protagonist, Ed. I enjoyed the plot and the creepy vibe and I’d definitely read more by this author. It’s a shame that the book’s impact might be diluted because of other similar themed titles, but if you decide not to read this book because of that, you’d really be missing out.

The year is yet young, but if this is the standard of book I can expect this year, I’m going to be a very happy Nettie!