Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Chalk Man; Tudor and The Outsider; King - a couple of creepy reads - mini reviews

 The Chalk Man; CJ Tudor
Crown and Random House Audio - 2018

I wasn't actually sure what to expect when I first started listening and also reading this book but, it wasn't long before it started to feel like a story Stephen King might write.  It had a small town setting, gritty, some nail biting moments and even a bit a horror.

The story begins in 1986 and follows Eddie Adams and his buddies as a young boys when the gang would draw chalk figures leading others to a particular location.  One day someone else leaves an unrecognized chalk figure drawing leading to a body in the woods.  Fast forward 30 years with the guys now in their 40's, when a letter arrives with a chalk figure drawing. The letter arrives while one friend is visiting another to work on a book about that terrible year, 1986. When a friend ends up dead with a chalk figure drawing attached to the body, finding the identity of the "chalk man" killer is critical.

The story alternates between flashbacks of 1986 and the present day, the characters are great, a nice dose of creepy and enough twists that led to an ending that I didn't expect.  This was a nice surprise by a new to me author, it's worth reading or listening  to for fans of creep fiction.

Rating - 4.5/5 stars
(eGalley and Audio)


The Outsider; Stephen King
Scribner - 2018

In this 58th King novel in the last 44 years, a young 11 year old boy is found brutally murdered. All evidence seems to be leading to Terry Maitland, an English teacher and youth sports coach.  Terry is a well respected, family man who seems like an unlikely suspect but, the evidence against him is strong.  Yet, there is one opposing piece of evidence that seems to contradict all the other facts that have been gathered including DNA.  How can this be? Has Terry been living a lie?

I loved the first half of this 500+ page novel. I also liked that the strong central characters from the Mr. Mercedes trilogy reappeared in this book.  I found myself quickly turning pages and thinking that King plot style was about to change and soften a bit but, then by the second half the old King style had returned with some blood, gore and supernatural elements at work.  I should have known better.  I loved the set up, the small town mystery elements and the characters but, I ended up a bit disappointed by the end -- don't get me wrong it was still worth reading just headed into territory I wasn't expecting.

Rating - 4/5 stars
(library) 

24 comments:

  1. As far as King books go, I felt this one was pretty mild in the gore dept. My only issue is violence against a child. I never enjoy that topic.

    The author who wrote The Chalk Man was interviewed and she admitted to being a huge King fan so it's no wonder her tone was similar.

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    1. Oh wow, thanks for sharing that tidbit about CJ Tudor being a King fan -- makes sense.

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  2. Both of these sound scary. I enjoyed reading your mini reviews, Diane.

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    1. Thanks Susan, I find the mini review a bit easier to manage.

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  3. Hi Diane,
    I've always wished I could read novels in the horror genre. And for some reason, I have never been able to. I admire King for his commitment to and mastery of horror, but I've never been able to get beyond page 4 or 5 of any of his books. And no, I have never, ever seen a movie based on one of his books. I would have liked to, but I just get too uncontrollably creeped out.
    It's funny, because I don't mind blood and gore in police procedurals or suspense thrillers. It's the twistedness of horror that I just can't take. Darn!
    I hope you'll be heading into some more reasonable, less humid weather very soon. We're expecting a change in the early hours of the morning tomorrow. Some respite from this 9-day heat wave will be heaven-sent.


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    1. Judith, look forward to a slight break in the humidity and heat. As for King, I can take the books more than some of his movies but I do try. In fact yesterday, I watched his most recent movie - IT -- and that creepy clown made me turn away from the screen several times LOL

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  4. You liked The Chalk Man more than I did but I think I would have enjoyed it more in print since I struggle with British narrators. I might give The Outsider a try.

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    1. I thought the narrator was pretty good and, I was actually surprised as like you I have difficulty at times. I just tried to listen to The Dry, Jane Harper, but didn't get past chapter 1. I think the narrator had a heavy Australian accent that I did not do well with.

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  5. We do like scary, well, except for fireworks. The Clalk Man sounds good.

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  6. I do so like these concise reviews. So much in such a little space!

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    1. Oh thank you; you are sweet. I find it much easier to handle this style.

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  7. The first one sounds good, kind of like Tana French? The real question is, will I ever read King?

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    1. King is not for everyone but, he does have so very many fans.

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  8. I see we're still reading the same kinds of books! I finished The Chalk Man a few weeks ago (I'm horribly behind on reviews) and just downloaded The Outsider. I had no idea what to expect with Chalk Man either, but it hooked me right away.

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  9. I read the chalk man, too. THE CHALK MAN is a good book. But it has been overly praised. You will enjoy the book more if you don't let all of the five-star reviews set your expectations too high.

    Probably it's the end of THE CHALK MAN that grabs so many great reviews. Although the reader knows already that a certain character is flawed, the ending italicizes and boldfaces "flawed."

    I thought this end was funny, though. I know the author did not intend this reaction.

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  10. I have only ever read Mr. Mercedes by King so I am looking forward to this one.

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    1. It's funny, I generally really like King, but his previous book, Sleeping Beauties that he wrote with his son Owen was a DNF for me. I didn't even get all the far either.

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  11. These both sound great to me. It's been a few years since I've read King and I'm thinking this might be a good summer read.

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  12. I have never read King and I'm not sure why really. I admire the man and I think I would like his writing - just never got around to it. Maybe this is the year. I'm not familiar with Tudor but the book sounds interesting.

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    1. Funny, I can remember being a young mom when he first started writing, so he and I go way back LOL

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