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