The Chalk Man

Publisher: Doubleday Canada
A riveting and brilliantly plotted psychological suspense, this razor-sharp debut 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 little 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 each other as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing will ever be 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 his other friends got the same messages, 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.


"Want to read something good? You won't find it on the front bestseller table at your bookstore, but it's new, and will be there. The Chalk Man, by C.J. Tudor. If you like my stuff, you'll like this." —Stephen King

"I haven't had a sleepless night due to a book for a long time. The Chalk Man changed that." —Fiona Barton, New York Times bestselling author of The Widow

"This debut novel is cunning, compelling and decidedly creepy." —Canadian Living

"A swift, cleverly plotted debut novel that ably captures the insular, slightly sinister feel of a small village." —Kirkus Reviews

"[Tudor's] storytelling prowess is undeniable." —Publishers Weekly

"A must-read for all horror fans." —Sunday Express (UK)
"A tense gripper with a leave-the-lights-on shock ending" —The Sunday Times (UK)

"[A] compelling debut. . . . Unpredictable twists. The Chalk Man fits well with other stories about troubled childhoods such as Stephen King's novella Stand by Me. Tudor never misses a beat in showing each character as both a child and an adult while also exploring the foreboding environs of a small town." —Associated Press

"Tudor delivers an assured debut that alternates between 1986 and 2016 with unpredictable twists. . . . Tudor never misses a beat." —National Post

"[A] well-plotted and well-told story." —Literary Review

"An intriguing puzzle with an engaging cast of characters. . . . A highly promising debut" —The Mail on Sunday (UK)

"It's hard to believe The Chalk Man is the debut novel from CJ Tudor. The writing is sublime, and the ending is spine-tingling chilling." —The Sun (UK)

"Strong characterization, plenty of plot twists and an evocative portrait of small-town life in the 1980s add up to a riveting read." —The Guardian (UK)
"Deliciously creepy with a side order of Eighties nostalgia" —Good Housekeeping
"A lively and entertaining read. . . . Tudor's got talent." —The Times (UK)

"If you can't get enough of psychological thrillers with sharp twists and turns, you need to read The Chalk Man." —Hello Giggles

"Scare yourself silly with this brilliant chiller…spine-tingling read" —Best Magazine
"Genuinely creepy books don’t come along very often, but this one can hold its missing head up high" —Heat

"This insanely readable chiller has it all—a brilliant, nostalgic flavour, humour and heart. . . . A fantastic debut from a major new talent." —Sunday Mirror (UK)

"What a great book. A twisty thriller and downright creepy ending. 5 stars." —Sarah Pinborough, New York Times bestselling author of Behind Her Eyes

"C.J. Tudor knows the twelve-year-old who still lives in all of us, that kid who chills himself to the bone with an intuition of what lurks in the woods, or in his own closet. The Chalk Man walks the haunted bridge between then and now—between sheer childhood terrors and a true crime so grisly and personal it's cold hand never leaves the back of your neck." —Tim Johnston, New York Times Bestselling author of Descent

"CJ Tudor has written an utterly original novel—a thriller in which the suspense comes not simply from what happens, but from that dark place within the human mind from which all the greatest mysteries and terrors emerge. This one will hold you in its grip to the last page." —Joyce Maynard, New York Times bestselling author of Under the Influence and To Die For

"A frenetic ride that's deep and alluring, oozing with suspense. A rollicking good time." —Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of The 14th Colony

"The Chalk Man is an intricate and surprising book that will reward the reader who approaches it with the attention it deserves." —Thomas Perry, New York Times bestselling author of The Old Man

"Tense, skillful storytelling." —Ali Land, internationally bestselling author of Good Me Bad Me  

"Kept me up until five in the morning. Wonderfully written. I loved it!" —Kimberley Chambers, bestselling author of Backstabber and The Wronged

"CJ Tudor's The Chalk Man is a stunning debut, a riveting thriller about the powerful grip of the past and the unbreakable bonds of childhood friendship. The ending of this smasher will completely throw you for a loop. Don't miss a word of it!" —David Bell, bestselling author of Bring Her Home and Somebody I Used to Know

"Utterly hypnotic. The Chalk Man is a dream novel, a book of nightmares: haunted and haunting, shot through with shadow and light—a story to quicken the pulse and freeze the blood. A dark star is born." —A. J. Finn, author of The Woman in the Window

"It's been a while since I've read such an impressive debut. The pace was perfectly judged, the characters superbly drawn and there's a creeping sense of unease that starts with the prologue and grows throughout the book. And then that ending! It feels so fresh and deserves to be a huge success." —James Oswald, bestselling author of the Inspector McLean series

"What an amazing debut! Such an ingenious, original idea. I was engrossed from the very first page. I loved how the 1986 and present day storylines weaved so skillfully together to create that unforgettable and unexpected ending. Compelling, taut and so very, very chilling. This book will haunt you!" —Claire Douglas, bestselling author of Last Seen Alive

"A cleverly constructed, artfully told tale of secrets, lies and warped passions—featuring a troubled protagonist, a terrible murder that wasn't what it seemed to be and a raging monster at the heart of it all." —John Verdon, internationally bestselling author of Think of a Number and the Nero Award-winning Peter Pan Must Die

"Impossible to put down, cleverly constructed and executed." —Ragnar Jonasson, author of the bestselling Dark Iceland series

"Completely engrossing. Reminiscent of those unsettling Stephen King stories of childhood." —John Boyne author of The Heart's Invisible Furies