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Publisher's Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor, read by Andrew Scott and Asa Butterfield.

None of us ever agreed on the exact beginning.

Was it when we started drawing the chalk figures, or when they started to appear on their own?

Was it the terrible accident?

Or when they found the first body?

©2017 C. J. Tudor (P)2017 Penguin Books Ltd.

Critic Reviews

"[I] haven't had a sleepless night due to a book for a long time. The Chalk Man changed that. Many congrats C. J. Tudor." (Fiona Barton, best-selling author of The Widow)

"It's been a while since I've read such an impressive debut." (James Oswald, author of the Inspector McLean series)

"Tense, skillful storytelling." (Ali Land, best-selling author of Good Me Bad Me)

"If you like my stuff, you'll like this." (Stephen King)

What listeners say about The Chalk Man

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting characters

Interesting characters and plot. Excellent narration. I didn't like some of the content, but it was a good mystery.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great story, kept me guessing

I loved the storyline, the book had a depth to it which kept me wanting more. It had so many funny real life scenarios with a touch of drama and darkness.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Disappointing

Really didn't care with this one.
As an audiobook it didn't work because young Eddie and old Eddie had totally different accents and speech patterns. Old Eddie sounded so stoned and apathetic I just wanted to turn him off.
Younger Eddie was confusing, but that's maybe how it was written more than a fault of the performer. Sometimes it seemed as though the narrator was a 12 year old, telling things as they happened, but other times the language and style was clearly that of a much older person. Add to this that the audible narrator sounded like someone in their twenties it was hard to get a real picture of young Eddie.
The plot was just boring. a bunch of people that Eddie didn't seem to care about, screwing up each other's lives. What were the stakes? Where was the tension?
I've enjoyed all of CJ Tudor's other novels, but this one fell way short.

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BEST. BOOK. EVER.

This book has gone to the top of my list. Everyone must read it! Worth every penny and every second. Good characters, good twists, good chapter, excellent story line! This book cannot go unread

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Chalk Man...

This was a pretty good story, however I felt the narrator that read the adult Eddie really let it down big time. He would either be whispering or shouting and mumbled terribly, making some parts hard to make out. It made it rather difficult to listen to. If it had of just been the 1 narrator all the way through it would have been so much better.

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Truely Brilliant

C J Tudor has written a brilliant book with breadcrumbs leading you into exciting reveal after exciting reveal.
Narration was impeccable. What a performance. Very immersive. Highly recommend.

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Gripping

I loved how the book kept you guessing the whole time. It was a good insight into human behaviour and how we all have our secrets (some darker than others).

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Constant change in volume of narration makes it a difficult listen

The book itself was enjoyable enough, however, lost some appeal due to the inconsistency in volume of narration. I listen whilst driving so regularly had to adjust the volume (often several times very few minutes) so I was either able to hear it, or didn’t have my eardrums blown out. It did mean I missed some critical information so the book didn’t have appeal I expected.

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Awesome book! But quiet.

Amazing book. The author was very quiet at times which when driving was really hard to hear and his words were slurred. If you have a quiet place this is a great listen but not good for a driving read. Amazing story however!!

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Great book

Loved the book. Kept us guessing til almost the end. Would highly recommend as an easy thriller. If you like M. Night Shyamalan type stories you’ll like this. Clever twists through out right to the end. Based in the UK in an era I grew up in provoked some fond memories.

One of the characters performances was really annoying though as his voice would drop out almost as he almost whispered under his breath. A lot of rewind and volume up volume down going on. Same character did however do great voices for other characters.

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  • Tom
  • 07-03-2018

Great story. 1/2 the narration god awful.

The story is great let’s get that out of the way. The one narrator who does the chapters from flashbacks is great. The man whoever that does the 2016 chapters. Is beyond horrible. I noticed that on some of the reviews before buying people saying the same thing. I’ve never seen such a harsh review be so correct. He is so bad, honestly doesn’t seem like he’s even trying. He mumbles so some words aren’t even understandable. He also whispers for intense moments trying to make it sound creepy but it doesn’t work. They should have just had the one guy do both parts. Duo narrations always are weird but this was bad. I would have just rather bought the book.

7 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • OA
  • 12-03-2018

Ok, but flawed narration

I really don't understand why the producers of this book decided to use an Irish narrator for the 2016 parts. It suggests that Eddie grew up to become Irish, which doesn't make much sense, since he stayed in the same town until the age of 42.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-01-2019

The narration was awful.

The guy with the Irish accent was a horrible narrator. I still don’t know he had an Irish accent being from England, or why every other sentence he read trailed off in lazy mumblings.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kconnerty
  • 31-12-2018

Excellent story

But I will never listen to an Andrew Scott read again, I’m very sorry to say. Some of his reading was barely audible. And some of it was so garbled I missed it. I would pump up the volume and then when Asa came on I would have to turn it down. The whole book was listened to in this way. Remember: you’re reading a book that will be listened to in numerous settings. Amongst those will be noisy places. So being all dramatic with a falsetto type voice is not conducive to those places.

Otherwise,the story was very good and I enjoyed the two voices very much.

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  • AudioBW
  • 12-05-2019

Didn't like

I found the negativity towards Christians and prolife work unfounded and unfair. The narration was ok.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • C rimmer
  • 08-11-2018

Good story, narration not so good

Whilst this was an interesting story it was ruined for me by the narration of the older Ed. It was monotone and frequently trailed off to an inaudible whisper so that I had to run back the recording too many times for me to enjoy the book. I did stick it out to the end though and whilst I'm glad I did, the ending to the story being superb I would not listen to another book read by this narrator nor could I recommend this one to others

45 people found this helpful

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  • andrew tracy
  • 08-06-2018

The Chalk Man

Great story but the audible version is marred by Asa Butterfield’s ludicrously somnolent performance. Disappointed .

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Candice Penfold
  • 05-07-2018

When I grow up daddy, I want to be Irish...

I don't really know what to say. The story was pretty good but I just can't ignore the elephant in the room. It ruined the entire book for me. Children who stay in their home town (somewhere in the South East of England) do not grow up to become Irish. I kept wondering if perhaps the character would move to Ireland or y'know , have a stroke and wake up with a new accent but no! It was just lazy casting. Not only did Eddie grown up to be a proud Irishman, he also developed a strange dreamy style of speaking, more in keeping with narrating poetic memoirs. Just odd.

What I find more odd is the large number of people who have reviewed this audio book without even mentioning this. Makes me wonder how real some of these reviews actually are....

22 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Taura
  • 13-02-2018

Terrible performance

The story was okay but ruined by the narrator. Narrator of child has an English accent, narrator of same person as adult Irish accent?
Adult Irish narrator was awful, continually dipping his voice to a mumble throughout making it hard to hear what he was saying...

20 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Simon
  • 12-01-2018

More Gold Dust Than Chalk Dust!

I do enjoy trying a few new authors particularly those making their debuts each year. Of course you get mixed results but every so often it’s worth it because you come across something like The Chalk Man. C.J. Tudor draws from her favourite authors and her personal experiences to give us a real sparkler of a mystery story which genuinely had me guessing from start to finish. There are quite a few echoes of Stephen King’s epic masterpiece, IT in The Chalk Man. A dual timeline, traumatic events in damaged childhoods of much nostalgia, playing outside in the woods, bikes. Those events re-visited and confronted decades later by the adult remnants of those children and the baggage they have accumulated.

Those influences are very clear but it’s very much a book with its own identity and it’s much more a mystery, or even set of mysteries, than a horror. The narration is shared between the past in 1986 and the present in 2016. Andrew Scott gets 1986 and he evokes a bright, direct approach well suited to young twelve year olds and their world as the memories unfold. Asa Butterfield takes the present and he strikes a quieter and far more measured tone that evokes the languid nature of the characters three decades later and the regrets and fading memories they carry with them. It’s a stunningly effective way to use two different narrators and the book is almost perfectly structured for it. The only point I’d raise is that Butterfield at times goes fairly quiet and with that wistful nature almost seems to trail off at the end of some sentences which if listening in a noisy environment could prove awkward.

The Chalk Man is a quality piece of work hovering between a murder mystery and an examination of tortured minds affected by trauma and mental deterioration. There are some real stand out moments and a lot of guessing to be done before the final reveal. The moment that will live with me longest though is the very end of the book. In a book largely about memories, their nature and how they affect us it’s a very powerful and moving conclusion.

49 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • John
  • 27-01-2018

shame about the narration

Having read the publishers reviews and a short extract I looked forward to listening . All started ok but then narattor number 2 took over as senior story telller. Apart from the occasional moment of good character intetpretation , he mumbled , fading lazily at the end of phrases and often reduced to a slurred whisper. An incongreous match to the other readers interpretation of story teller in his youth. This detracted greatly from the intended theme which was not exactly brilliant or gripping . Howver I listened to the end , albeit irritated by the often monotone lazy rendition. I would say save your money and move on to better entertainment .

37 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Lyro8
  • 20-02-2019

Buy the book, not the audiobook

This is a decent thriller, told from the perspective of a single individual from two periods of his life. The story relates to the death of a girl in a market town in the 80s, and a related childhood game involving codes written in chalk figures. There are a few surprises along the way and the inevitable twist that seems to be considered essential for modern crime fiction. If interested however, I would buy the book and not the audio because the narration really lets it down. Asa Butterfield reads the sections from 12-year-old Ed and he is great – he really brings to life the character of the younger Ed. 42-year-old Eddie is read by Andrew Scott, a fine actor, but he makes a miserable job of the narration. For a start, the older Ed has an Irish accent whereas 12-year-old Ed had a middle England – this is never explained and I can only assume the makers of the audio book were so thrilled to get Scott, they decided we could all suspend belief and let it go. This is even more bizarre since Scott puts on an English accent for some of the other characters so I’ve no idea why they made this creative decision. However, the accent is not the worst thing about Scott’s narration – his style of delivery is really off-putting. He speaks in whispers at times, forcing you to turn up the volume only to scramble to turn it down again when another character takes over. He speaks in an exhausted, pained tone throughout that manages to be both monotone and oddly staccato at times. He rushes through some sentences, stringing words together so that the meaning is unintelligible and then suddenly stresses odd words for no reason, like he’s turned a page on a script and been surprised to find the dialogue continuing in an unexpected way. He uses different voices for some characters – Ed’s two friends – but not for the dialogues with Chloe and it’s difficult to tell who has been speaking which line. Even in moments of high tension, Ed speaks with the same delicate, depressed monotone and since the older Ed features most heavily in the later stages of the novel, it becomes very wearing. My interest totally petered out towards the end - I suspect Asa Butterfield’s narration had kept me going until then. I definitely wouldn’t buy another audiobook read by Andrew Scott and I wish the makers of audiobooks would take the narrations more seriously – it can really spoil a good book.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 23-01-2019

Mumbling narrator!!

I thought it was a very good story, really enjoyed it but one of the narrator's was dreadful. He kept on mumbling and tailing off at the end of sentences!

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Victoria Elizabeth
  • 22-08-2018

Disappointing

I was really looking forward to this book, using a precious credit on it, following seeing Stephen King's recommendation on Twitter.
The story itself should be pretty good and one of the narrator's is great - he narrates the younger version of the protagonist. I had read reviews that referenced a poor second narrator but pooh-poohed these in my excitement to get the book. I am incredibly disapointed though as this second narrator has ruined it for me.

The story itself revolves around some boys and their use of chalk to send each other messages - an idea given to them by a new teacher. Some nasty events happen when they are boys, and when they get older, chalk drawings start appearing again, seemingly linked to the teacher who may, or may not, also be the chalk man. This sounds just up my street and perhaps the way to go is reading a physical book rather than audio as this felt I was "putting myself through" listening to half the story, when the older protagonist was the focus.

I have persevered but can't bear it any longer at 2/3 through. This older narrator's voice and tone is dreary, depressing and mumbling - totally different to the younger narrator who had a great tone and pace. Also struggling to understand how the protagonist has become Irish between being a teenager and an adult. So I've regretfully abandoned the book as I've completely lost interest in the story and there's a whole world of books out there I would prefer to spend my downtime immersed in.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Codfish
  • 12-06-2018

Very good story

Ruined by a terrible narration , on occasion I had the volume up to such a degree, just to hear
what the adult Ed was saying, and what was with the change of accent??

2 people found this helpful

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