Finished The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor. I received a copy from the publisher for review.
Summary (from Goodreads):
“In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy 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 one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever 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 that his friends got the same message, 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.”
This book has been compared to IT and Stranger Things, which means that it’s been getting a lot of attention lately. If it’s possible, try not to have that in your head when you read this. It’s not as good as those two things, but it’s still an incredibly good (and incredibly creepy) read. While yes, all three deal with spooky occurrences and childhood friends, this didn’t focus on that aspect as much as IT and Stranger Things do. (This isn’t a complaint, because this book is excellent on its own terms.)
There’s a lot going on here (mysterious deaths, childhood friendships, potential hauntings, people in the present—and past, really—who aren’t who they appear to be) and it’s all handled incredibly masterfully.
I will admit that this book has completely freaked me out. There were more than a few full body shudders, and I had no idea what was going on or who was responsible. I’m not sure any thriller fan could reasonably expect anything else.