Dying Day by Stephen Edger (#2 Kate Matthews)

Dying Day (Detective Kate Matthews, #2)

Dying Day by Stephen Edger

  Published: November 2017 by Bookouture

3starsStar

 

Dying Day by Stephen Edger is the 2nd in the Detective Kate Matthews series.

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Bookouture, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Synopsis:
Kate is supposed to stay away from the office, as she was just involved in a high-speed chase that resulted in both her and the suspect vehicle to be in collisions. As usual, Kate disobeyed orders to cease the pursuit, so the Office of Professional Standards will be involved.

When a body is found in the trunk of a vehicle, Kate wants to be in on the action. Her boss says no, but Kate goes around him and gets involved anyway.

Meanwhile, it is the anniversary of Amy Spencer’s death. She was a young officer who held Kate in high regard, and volunteered to go undercover in a case to prove herself, and to help Kate keep her job. There had been three girls murdered, and Kate seemed to be the only one who thought they were all killed by the same person. Amy died. Kate was removed from the case. No one was ever arrested. Now, a year later, a team is looking into the murders again. Kate is being purposely excluded from the investigation. That, of course, won’t stop her.

My Views:
Well, I didn’t really like Kate Matthews in the first book, and my opinion still has not changed. Her ego knows no bounds. Apparently she is the only detective that can solve any case, and she repeatedly tells everyone that they need her. Confidence is one thing, this is just obnoxious behaviour. If the plots and writing weren’t so good, I would give up on this series. Disliking the protagonist makes it very hard to read the book. If it was just an ego thing, I might be able to handle it, but her disrespect for authority, subordinates, boyfriend, and her daughter really annoy me. Her priority may be her work, but apparently it is her only priority.

That being said, the writing is really good, the pace right, and the plot amazing. This story alternated between the present day investigation, and the events that occurred a year ago, which were told in the voice of Amy. That was really well done. I loved Amy. Other than Kate, I actually like the supporting characters in these books.

Okay, looks like I am going to have to get used to Kate, because Edger writes really well, and without Kate, this would have been a 5 star book.

 

Read: February 2018

 

Favorite Quotes from Dying Day:

“But at what cost, Matthews? Your car is a write-off and you… what if he’d driven into someone? A family? Would that have been enough?’
‘Enough?’
‘Enough for you to stop this one-woman campaign to put away every criminal who crosses your path?”

“Good policing is what will finally catch him, not passion.”

 

About the Author:  Stephen Edger is a British crime and thriller author. He works in the financial industry, and has a law degree.  In addition to this, he has a wife, 2 children, and 2 Westies.  Not sure where he found time to write over a dozen novels.

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Alex Cross, Run by James Patterson (#20 Alex Cross)

Alex Cross, Run (Alex Cross, #20)

 Alex Cross,  Run by James Patterson

 Published: February 2013

 Publisher:  Little, Brown and Company

 4stars

 

 

Run, Alex Cross by James Patterson is the 20th in the Detective Alex Cross Series.

Yes, I am still reading this series, although I do give myself 1-2 months between books. And I must say, I really enjoyed this one. Yes, I have a few complaints, but on the whole, this is one of the better Alex Cross books.

My Synopsis: 

There is a lot going on with this one. 

A young woman is found hanging outside her 6th floor apartment room. It is quickly determined that this was a homicide, and to make matters worse, she had recently given birth. There is no sign of a baby.

A woman is found in the trunk of her car, the body mutilated with a knife, and her long blond hair shorn off and displayed around her. This will not be the first blond woman found in similar circumstances.

A young male is found by the river, with a bullet to his face, and various stab wounds to his crotch. This will not be the last body found with these injuries.

As if Alex does not have enough with the above cases, someone is targeting him in the media. Alex is being accused of unprofessional behaviour, and the accuser is blogging relentlessly. This guy is obsessed, and willing to deliberately create circumstances that incite Alex to retaliate. This guy has no plans to stop til Alex is dead. 

On a personal level, Ava, the foster-child that Bree and Alex are raising, is starting to act up. Unknown to Alex, there are outside forces at work here.

My Views: 

This was one of the better Alex Cross novels. With so much going on, I was never lost. Everything read smoothly, and as always, the short chapters added suspense and created a fast read. The plot was interesting, and I actually felt involved in the outcome. Really surprising ending. Okay, my only two complaints are the usual ones – it’s always about Alex (there is always someone pursuing him) , and he always oversteps. 

This book could probably be read as a stand-alone novel, as everything is explained really well. 

I would recommend this book, and I am suddenly looking forward to #21 – that’s amazing!

 

Read: February 2018

 

About the Author:  James Patterson has sold more than 170 million books worldwide.  His lifelong passion for books and reading led him to launch a new website, ReadKiddoRead.com, which helps parents, grandparents, teachers, and librarians find the very best children’s books for their kids.  Each year, The Patterson Family Foundation awards scholarships to students at 22 different colleges and universities.

The Lying Kind by Alison James (#1 Rachel Prince)

The Lying Kind (Detective Rachel Prince #1)

The Lying Kind by Alison James

  Published: February 7, 2018 by Bookouture

3stars

 

The Lying Kind by Alison James is the 1st in the Detective Rachel Prince mystery series.

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Bookouture, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Synopsis: 
A missing child. Every parent’s worst nightmare, and every detective’s dream to be the one to get her back. Lola Jade Harper is only 6 years old when she is taken from her bed in the middle of the night. Months pass, and the case is handed over to the NCA (National Crime Agency) working closely with CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection. Rachel Prince is the lead detective. There are presently three theories as to Lola’s location. She may have been “sold” for sexual exploitation. One of her parents, in the middle of a divorce, may be involved and may be hiding her. She may be dead. Now if only people would stop lying to Prince. If it isn’t the mother, it’s the father, or their families. Everyone seems to be keeping secrets.

On a personal level, Rachel is dealing with a divorce which should have been finalized 17 years ago, a partner who may have overstepped and now has some legal issues, and a love life that is rather messed up.

My Views: 
First, I didn’t particularly like Rachel. She is a strong lead, and she definitely cares about her job, but her attitude toward her divorce and love life are “off”. I was actually surprised she only ended up in bed with one guy in this book. I wasn’t impressed with her partner’s womanizing either, but I did, however, like the rapport between the two. They seem to have a rather flirtatious friendship/working relationship which works. The plot of this book is very good, very interesting, and well written. However, the excitement just wasn’t there until the last 10% of the book. Before that, I found it really dragged. 

I know others have loved this book, so perhaps it just didn’t resonate with me for some reason. It was okay, but just okay. Perhaps I’ll like the second book in the series better. Sometimes it takes a bit to get on the same wavelength as the protagonist, so I’m willing to try again.

 

Read: February 2018

 

Favorite Quote from The Lying Kind:

Just hurry up and get back to work, because right now you’re about as much use as a vibrator in a mortuary.”

 

About the Author: Alison James is a British author who studied languages at Oxford, then became a journalist, author, paralegal, commercial copywriter, a TV storyliner, and has now returned to writing.

The Daughter by Lucy Dawson

The Daughter

The Daughter by Lucy Dawson:

 Publisher: Bookouture, January 2018

4stars

 

The Daughter by Lucy Dawson is a psychological thriller.

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Bookouture, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Synopsis:

Jess has made some mistakes, but she has tried to move on. After the death of her 5-year old daughter Beth, Jess left her husband, her home, her family, and the father of her dead daughter. Although the decision to leave wasn’t strictly hers, she was young, and felt she had no other recourse. She started fresh, and now, 17 years later, has a new husband, son, home and family. But the memory of her daughter has never left, and the lies and secrets aren’t buried that deep. Although Jess has a new life, events are unfolding which can only relate to back to Beth. As much as she tried to keep her secret so many years ago, everything starts to unravel. Someone knows about her past, and is taunting Jess relentlessly.

My Views:

Really enthralling read. I didn’t necessarily like all the characters, even Jess annoyed me at times. However, overall, this was a really amazing book. Dawson made you really feel the loss of a child. She introduces you to characters filled with heartbreak, with love, with fear, with hatred. You feel their pain. She made you suspect everyone. She put in red herrings, and then snatched them away. My mind suspected one character and then another, and another…but I was wrong. I absolutely loved that surprise twist. The writing was wonderful, and the plot great, and I loved it!

This is the first book I’ve read by Lucy Dawson, but I don’t think it will be the last.

Definitely recommend this one.

Read: February 2018

Favorite Quotes from The Daughter:

“I’m going to have to break one of the golden rules of talking to a bereaved person, and give you some advice. Sometimes after you’ve had too much to drink, you nonetheless feel like you could get in the car and drive. You are every bit as impaired by your grief right now as if you really were drunk. You are not in control, even though you feel as if you are, and you are not making good choices. You don’t have to make this decision now, so don’t.”

“You cannot understand what it’s like to lose a child unless it happens to you. It’s every pain you have ever felt turned up so loud you can’t think, move, speak – and nothing drowns out the agony, not even for a second.”

 

Lucy Dawson

 

About the Author:   Lucy Dawson is a British author who studied Psychology before becoming a children’s magazine editor.  She first published in 2008.  She lives in England with her husband and children.  According to GoodReads, Lucy finds writing in the third person uncomfortable.

 

 

Blood Lines by Angela Marsons (#5 Kim Stone)

Blood Lines (D.I. Kim Stone, #5)

Blood Lines by Angela Marsons

Published: November 2016

5Stars

 

Blood Lines by Angela Marsons is the 5th in the Kim Stone Detective series.

Stone and her team are trying to find the murderer of a Social Worker, who was cold-bloodedly stabbed to death. One thrust of the knife into the heart. No robbery, no vehicle theft, no other assault. When a second body turns up with an identical wound, and no obvious link to the first murder, the team must delve deep to find a connection. One of their own has something to lose.

Meanwhile, sociopath Dr. Alex Thorne is in prison, plotting against Stone. Her trial is coming up, and the two people who can keep her in prison are Ruth Willis who Thorne had manipulated into murdering her rapist, and Kim Stone, who risked her own sanity to put Thorne away. Thorne is determined that neither one will be able to testify. She is still manipulating people. They are doing as they are told. Even Stone seems to be following Thorne’s directions, especially since she seems to be using Stone’s mother as a weapon.

Marsons delved rather deep into the mind of the sociopath. Thorne managed to manipulate even from behind bars. She didn’t care who she hurt in the process. She’s brutal, and rather terrifying.

Marsons has also delved deeper into her characters. We learn more about Stone’s background which has led to her tough exterior, and more details about her mother. We also see more of her softer side. Marsons has also shown us that her team members have become more like family than subordinates.

The writing is crisp, the plot exciting, and this book was another fast read. Marsons broke everything down into short chapters to increase the pace and add to the overall excitement. With each book, she reels me in.

Love this series!

Read: January 2018

Favorite Quotes from Blood Lines:

“No, no, Jonathan,’ Keats said, stepping forward quickly. ‘It’s best not to make eye contact or address her directly. Like most wild animals, she’s unpredictable.”

“She had automatically headed for the victim; luckily for her she couldn’t offend the dead.”

“Alex the sociopath visited your mother the paranoid schizophrenic in a facility that houses the criminally insane?”

 

AAngela Marsonsbout the Author:  Angela Marsons (1968 – ) is a British author who discovered writing in Primary School when a short piece on the rocks and the sea gained her the only merit point she ever got.  Eventually, her partner convinced her to enter short story competitions in Writer’s News which resulted in a win and three short listed entries.  Her books have sold over 2 million copies worldwide.   She still lives in England with her partner, a Labrador and a “potty-mouthed” grey parrot.

Vanishing Girls by Lisa Regan (#1 Josie Quinn)

Vanishing Girls by Lisa  Regan

Vanishing Girls by Lisa Regan

 Published: January 2018 by Bookouture

4stars

 

Vanishing Girls by Lisa Regan is the 1st in the Detective Josie Quinn series.

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Bookouture, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: 

Josie Quinn is on suspension for alleged use of excessive force. She’s feeling a little angst. She wants to be on the job, especially with a young girl missing. She wants to help.  Her chief won’t allow it.

Investigating on her own time, while using both her soon-to-be ex-husband and her future fiancé as information providers, Josie is not only jeopardizing her own job, but both of theirs as well. But Josie doesn’t really care. She thinks that this is more than an abduction, more than one missing girl. She is afraid that there may be a serial abductor/killer on the loose, and as she delves deeper, Josie finds herself in a difficult position. She thinks someone in the police force has been covering up. This is becoming even bigger than she realized. Suddenly she doesn’t know who she can trust.

Josie’s personal life is a bit of a mess. She has already accepted an engagement ring from Luke, but Ray has not yet signed the divorce papers. Ray has been in her life since they were kids, and neither one of them is handling the separation well, although Josie knows it is the right thing to do.

My Views:

I didn’t particularly like Josie Quinn initially. I definitely do not like the way she handled her personal life. I still don’t. I thought the author was creating one more flawed detective with total disregard to the rules. But Josie is not really flawed. She had a rough upbringing, but with her support system, she is actually level-headed. She is just very passionate about her job. Lisa Regan created a very strong female detective, and gave her the depth needed to seem real. I am not a romance reader, but I did not feel that Josie’s love life interfered with the story, as it seemed to be an integral part of the plot. Regan put some real thought into the supporting characters, and it all worked. I really loved her Grandmother. The plot, although a little dark, was handled very well, and moved along very quickly with great twists, and a few surprises. 

Looking forward to the next Josie Quinn book!

Read: February 2018

 

Favorite Quotes from Vanishing Girls:

“Surely being on paid leave for an alleged use of excessive force didn’t render her searching skills useless.”

“You can’t always be all roses and sweetness,” she had always told Josie. “That don’t get shit done.”

 

 

About the Author: Lisa Regan is a suspense novelist. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Master of Education Degree from Bloomsburg University.   Her website says she has worn many hats, including: author, paralegal, former martial arts instructor, former certified nursing assistant, former bookstore manager. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter.

 

Her Mourning Portrait and other Paranormal Oddities by John Brhel and Joseph Sullivan

Her Mourning Portrait and Other Paranormal Oddities

Her Mourning Portrait and other Paranormal Oddities by John Brhel and Joseph Sullivan

Published: February 2018

4stars

 

Her Mourning Portrait and Other Paranormal Oddities by John Brhel and Joseph Sullivan is an anthology of short stories encompassing romance from a different angle.

First, I’d like to thank both the authors, and Cemetery Gates Media for providing with an advanced reading copy in exchange for an unbiased review.

A brief synopsis of each of the stories follows:

• Her Mourning Portrait tells the tale of a dying woman who has a second chance when her husband paints her portrait.

• Side by Side explores the quandary of a second marriage burial plot. This was good (NOT that I want to be buried beside my first husband).

• Lady of Cayuga Lake has a couple on the last legs of their marriage, finally encountering something that they can both agree on. Loved this one!

• The Lost Cache centers on a husband’s love of geo-caching. Unfortunately, his wife does not share his hobby. Really good!

• The House on Pearl Ave shows the owner a vision of a red-haired woman, who he is compelled to discover more about.

• With These Rings, I Thee Dread is the story of a young couple who give each other promise rings, but the jealousy of the young man and his glowing ring has dire consequences. Really liked this one!

• Mr. Green’s Passional takes a man’s passion for interbreeding rare plants to a new level. Good! 

• Her, He, and a Corpse Makes Three tells the tale of a young couple who work in a funeral home, and when her ex-boyfriend ends up on the table, it seems romance may not be dead after all. Liked this one!

• Play It Again, Sam makes you wonder if new technology that could send you back in time to change your actions could actually change your future. Sam finds out it isn’t quite so cut and dried.

• Beyond a Blood Moon follows a young man who tries to locate his young girlfriend who went jogging in the middle of the night, only to be accused of her murder.

In addition to the above short stories, we are treated to two excerpts from two other books published by the Brhel and Sullivan team. 

As always, these authors write interesting stories with a twist. This was a fun, fast and entertaining read! Although I am not a romance reader, these stories were more in the dark fantasy/paranormal and “out-there” fields, which I enjoyed immensely.

Overall, just a great bunch of short stories.

Read: February 2018

About The Authors:

Long-time friends and horror writers, John Brhel and Joseph Sullivan co-wrote this book, as well as others.  They founded their own publishing house, Cemetery Gates Media,  in Binghamton New York.

 

Bitter Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff (#4 Huntress/FBI)

Bitter Moon (The Huntress/FBI Thrillers, #4)

Bitter Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff

 Published: November 2016

4stars

 

Bitter Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff is the 4th in the FBI/Huntress Series.

Even though this book is about Cara’s background, the first three books in this series must be read first. Trust me, they are worth reading. I love this series.

A quick recap: 

Cara Lindstrom is a vigilante killer. She only kills those who deserve to die. The  rapists, the abusers, the murderers… Cara sees the evil within the wicked, and she has the courage to take action. 

Matthew Roarke is with the FBI. He understands Cara’s desires to rid the world of evil. His attraction to her is confusing.  It is his job to stop her.

This book is told by both Cara (as a teenager) and Roarke (current day). 

Cara’s story begins at age 14.  It unfolds when she has been placed in a group home after serving time in jail for aggravated assault on a counsellor who was trying to rape her. She was 12.  Now, two years later she encounters the counsellor again. She also meets a young girl her age who she knows is in trouble, and another girl who was raped and burned and left for dead. Cara sees the evil in this town.  She decides it is time to fight back.

Roarke story takes place 16 years later than Cara’s story.  He is currently taking a Leave of Absence from the FBI. After hunting Cara, seeing her behind bars, and then loose again, Roarke has so many mixed emotions, he cannot see straight. He is taking time off to think, search his soul for answers. But perhaps not enough time is available. It isn’t long before he is drawn back into Cara’s story. Only this time, he is tracing her backstory. The road is leading him to a serial rapist, an active serial rapist.

It is so interesting how the author alternates Cara’s story when she is 14, with Roarke following the same path 16 years later. The same town, the same people, the same discoveries.  They are both searching for evil. They are both searching for a sadistic sexual predator. They both find what they are looking for. Their methods for dealing with it come close to being the same.

Alexandra Sokoloff has created a vigilante to love. Cara kills what is wrong in the world. How can you not love Cara? The author has finally told us what happened to Cara after her family was massacred, how she learned to be strong. We see the impact of that event, and other events that followed. Through Cara’s eyes, we travel through the good and bad. Group homes/foster homes, counsellors, bullying, evil. We see those who care, and those who don’t. We see those who try, and those who don’t. We see things from a child’s perspective, who has had to grow up too soon, too fast, in the midst of it all. We see the fear issues, the trust issues, the insight. We see the evil. We see a young girl who is going to stand up and fight. We see things that are not really fiction.

The author continues to build on the characters. She digs deep. She makes you feel their emotions, and the results of those emotions…their thoughts, their fears, their anger, their hopes, their decisions, their actions. Their emotions become yours. Alexandra Sokoloff is a very talented author. 

Loved the book, and am looking forward to the next one!

Read: January 2018

Favorite Quotes from Bitter Moon:

“Before Cara, he had not known that every month’s moon has a name. Sometimes different names for different tribal nations. This month was a Wolf Moon. But it was also called Bitter Moon. And that well enough described what was in Roarke’s heart.”

“Fear the wolf . . . or be the wolf.”

“You are not alone. And you are loved.”

 

Alexandra Sokoloff

About the Author:   Alexandra Sokoloff is the bestselling author of both supernatural and crime novels.  Her awards and nominations continue to build up. As a screenwriter she has sold original suspense and horror scripts and written novel adaptations for numerous Hollywood studios.   Although originally from California, she now divides her time between Los Angeles and Scotland.   In her free time, she dances.

2018 Mystery Blogger Award

Hello Again Fellow Bloggers:

 I’ve been nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award.  Okay, two nominations for awards this past week is mind-boggling, and it’s taken me a week to get to this, so sorry Laci.

First, let me thank Laci @  McGee Travel Tales for the nomination!  You should check out her blog!

Okay, the Rules (brackets are mine):

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog (easy – copy and paste)
  2. List the rules (easy – this is them).
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog (easy – see above).
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link to that blog (easy – see below)
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself (fun – see below).
  6. You have to nominate 10-20 people (okay, I found 10 is plenty – think 5 would be better).
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog (easy).
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice, with one weird or funny question (fun).
  9. Share a link to your best posts. (I picked 3 in different categories, as no number was specified).

 

Creator of the Award.

This award was created by Okoto Enigma @ Okoto Enigmas Blog

In her own words, she created this award “because there are a lot of amazing blogs out there that haven’t been discovered, yet. And, most of these blogs deserve recognition.  I decided to call the award “Mystery Blogger Award.” Why? Because the meaning of my name, “Enigma” is “mystery.” So basically, it’s named after myself; the creator. Plus, I think it’s cool because there are so many blogs that are still a mystery to us; and when we get to know them, it’s divine! And we find friends where we least expect.”

I have been finding a lot of interesting blogs lately, so I would have to agree with Okoto!

 

Three Random things about myself.

  1. I am shy, unless I am discussing books, my dogs, or my husband.  Then I don’t shut up.
  2. I have Meniere’s Disease, which, in layman’s terms is a disorder of the inner ear which affects my balance (from daily dizziness to hugging the toilet type vertigo);  has me hearing strange noises (ringing/whooshing/waves/ticking, etc) – otherwise known as tinnitus;  causes my ears to feel full (like when you are on a car ride and going up or down a hill and your ears plug, only mine don’t pop back open); and of course, fluctuating and eventual loss of hearing.   There are other little things associated with Menieres, like hyperacusis, sensitivity to lights, brain fog, etc.  But it could be worse. 
  3. I love flowers, plants, indoor and outdoor varieties.  However, due to my balance issues, I now point, and my husband plants.  Works well !

 

My Favorite Posts:

  1. Choosing to Read a Book Series
  2. Meniere’s
  3. Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King & Richard Chizmar

 

Answers to the Questions from my Nominator (Laci @  McGee Travel Tales)

  1. Of all the places you have visited, where would you go back to?
    1. Well, due to Meniere’s, I’m not much of a traveller, but if all things were normal, I’d head back to British Columbia.
  2. Do you have any pets?
    1. Two rescue shi-tzu’s named Oscar and Blue have adopted us. They are brothers, who found us when they were 5 years old.  Their caregiver had died and they found themselves with no relatives who wanted them.  I’m not sure they knew English when they came to live with us, but we are learning their language. 
  3. How long did you consider starting your blog before you finally did?
    1. Years and years and years!
  4. What is your favorite food?
    1. Hmmm….I love a lot of food (unfortunately), but I’m a pretty basic eater – I’d probably say pizza – or just the garlic bread with cheese.
  5. Do you prefer a beach or the mountains?
    1. Beach – most of my childhood was spent on one.

 

I nominate the following bloggers for the Mystery Blogger Award:

 

Questions for my Nominees:

  1. If you could talk to any three people, alive or dead, fictional or real, who and why?
  2. Do you prefer a backyard barbecue or a sit-down dinner?
  3. Do you have a favorite movie?
  4. Do you have a favorite book?
  5. If you got to be any animal (not human), what would you be, and why? – Guess that’s my weird question.

 

And that’s it.  I had fun.  Be sure to check out my nominees blogs,  maybe you’ll find someone you want to follow!

Thanks again Laci for the nomination! 

 

p.s.  Now I’m going to get back to reading!

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

 Published: January 2018

5Stars

 

 

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor is psychological suspense at its best!

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Penguin Random House Canada, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

WOW! This book had me from the first page. Although it seems to have incorporated a few of Stephen King’s ideas (sidewalk codes in chalk, the anticipation of seeing a dead body by a group of kids, even a Mr. Halloran) this book stands alone. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

In 1986, they were your normal gang of 12-year-olds, Eddie, Fat-Gav, Hoppo, Metal Mickey and Nicky. They all had parent issues, bully issues, normal kid issues, and a few extras.  They played in the park, in the woods, rode their bikes all over town, got into spats, got over them. For Eddie, our narrator, everything changed the day of the fair. This was the day that the Waltzer ride flew apart, taking half of a girls face with it, and almost her whole leg. This is also the day he met Mr. Halloran, the new English teacher at school. Eddie and Mr. Halloran became heroes that day, when they saved the girls’ life. Mr. Halloran became something of a friend as well. He was the one who suggested the chalk game, which the group used to leave coded messages for each other around town. But apparently there is someone else using chalk too, and that message leads to a dead body.

In 2016 at the age of 42, Ed, now a teacher, lives in the house he grew up in, has a new lodger, and drinks more than he should. His world breaks open when he receives a chalk drawing in the mail. Then he receives a visit from one of his old gang, who is in town to get Ed’s help on a project. Mickey wants to re-visit the past. He says he knows who killed the girl in the woods, and wants to write a book about it. Ed is about to find out that the past can truly come back to haunt you, and what you think you knew was wrong.

CJ Tudor created a great bunch of characters. Each of the 12-year-olds came from different backgrounds, with different issues at home, and their actions echoed this. Their unique personalities added to the enjoyment of the tale. Their 42-year-old selves also showed reflections of their past. The characters of Eddie’s Mom and Dad were probably the best, and the most heart-felt. Tudor created Reverend Martin to be the biggest bully of all, and Mr. Halloran to be an enigma. All the characters were deep. Tudor tackled some big issues in this book, from Dementia, to abuse, to bullying, to violence, to abortion, to murder, along with the smaller but important issues of friends, love and loyalty. The author managed to alternate between the two years, incorporating the past with the present, without it feeling like two separate books. Overall, the book was a little creepy at times, but not scary. The plot was great, with many twists and turns, and the ending a bit of a surprise.

Well done CJ Tudor! For a debut novel, you nailed it! 

 

Read: January 2018

 

Favorite Quotes from The Chalk Man:  (Note that I found it hard to limit these)

“Yeah,” Hoppo said. “There’s an ambulance and police there with tape and all sorts of shit. Wanna come look?”
I’d like to say that, at the time, I thought their enthusiasm to see some poor dead kid was ghoulish and wrong. But I was twelve. Of course I wanted to look.”

However, even as a kid, I could sense the anger—the venom—of those protesters. Something about their eyes, the spittle that exploded from their mouths, the way they brandished their banners like weapons. They were chanting a lot of stuff about love but they seemed full of hate.

“Never assume. Question everything. Always look beyond the obvious.
We assume things because it’s easier, lazier. It stops us thinking too hard—usually about stuff that makes us feel uncomfortable. But not thinking can lead to misunderstandings and, in some cases, tragedies.”

 

Image resultAbout the Author:  C. J. Tudor was born in Salisbury and grew up in Nottingham, where she still lives with her partner and young daughter.  While writing the Chalk Man she ran a dog-walking business, walking over twenty dogs a week as well as looking after her little girl.  Everyone calls her Caz (I know I want to).