Tuesday, January 16, 2018
The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor
It was summer in England and a group of twelve year olds had it to themselves. Their parents worked and anyhow, who really watched kids in 1986? They spent the days playing in the woods or on the playground, riding their bikes and trying to impress each other. Each has his own issues. Eddie's mother has just opened the first abortion clinic in town and their family is getting threats. Fat Gov is the leader as he is the most confident; his parents run the local pub. Hoppo's mother was the local cleaning woman. Metal Mickey had an obnoxious older brother who loved to make the gang's life miserable. Nicky was the only girl; her father was the preacher and he had a group that protested at the clinic every day.
The kids led a generally carefree life but that summer everything changed. It started at the fair where they witnessed a horrific accident and Eddie helped save a life, making him a hero for a while. The real hero was their teacher, Mr. Halloran. That was the summer they got chalk and spent time leaving coded messages for each other. That was also the year they found out about death.
Now it's thirty years later and Micky has come back to town, the most apparent success among them all. Eddie is now a teacher himself but still lives in the same house where he rents a room to a young woman named Chloe. Fat Gov now runs the pub his parents ran and Hoppo is still his best friend. Micky left town and is a successful ad executive. Nicky moved away after the events of that summer and the guys lost track of her long ago.
Micky comes to see Ed (as he now thinks of himself) and Ed's not sure he's glad about it. Micky wants to make money off the events of that summer thirty years ago and the gang who discovered the bodies. He's back in town to try to get Ed to help with the writing of a book and has lined up media events. But his return leads to the return of tensions and death. Can Ed and his gang from that long ago summer find the truth once and for all?
C.J. Tudor has written a nostalgic yet suspenseful psychological thriller that readers will enjoy. This is her debut novel but won't be her last as this one is getting great reviews. Each character is fully developed and readers will remember their own young days and young friendships, taut with shared adventures and the first stirrings of danger and betrayals. This book is recommended for mystery readers.