A fast-paced thriller, with plenty of unsettling elements...
Well. With a title like that, you can't help but want to know what this book is about - and I'm glad my curiosity got the better of me. The Chalk Man is a sinister, pacey read, with plenty of twists and turns, plus some strong characterisation that sets it apart from the crowd.
Eddie is a typical kid, growing up in a typical town with his mates; Fat Gav, Hoppy, Metal Mickey and Nicky (the girl he secretly fancies). Except straight away, after the terrifying accident on the Waltzer at the funfair, we realise this isn't your average 'Stand By Me' style book.
It transpires that this town has a lot of secrets - and plenty of people who aren't telling the complete truth about certain things. The result? Deception, abuse and even murder.
There's much in this book to admire - not least the strong narrative voice, which makes the plot seem so much more authentic. The flitting from past to present was also handled very well (sometimes this can be clunky, but not so in this novel), and the sense of growing dread built up excellently. Best of all, it was a page-turner; which I devoured in under 48 hours... it really was that gripping!
Be prepared for some grisly bits, plus some genuinely eerie moments; this is a book about killing, after all - but certainly nothing that's too off-the-scale horrific.
I won't spoil the book's conclusion (where's the fun in that?) but will say that it was a rollicking good read that I devoured in around two days flat. Definitely one to add to the 'to-read' pile if you like your thrillers to be fast-moving, minus any fluff, and with plenty of 'I didn't see that coming' moments.