Lauren Molyneux curls up with a good book and reviews some of the latest best sellers
The Chalk Man
TOP TIP: Ultimately gripping, The Chalk Man is a novel to sink your teeth into.
“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?”
CJ Tudor’s debut novel, The Chalk Man, is a recent best-selling thriller with potential to blow all others out of the water. It’s tense, it’s creepy, it’s complex, and it’s impossible to put down.
The dismembered body is found on the first page – in 1986 by Eddie and his friends, led to it by a path of chalk stick men. What follows is a twisting tale, an attempt to uncover not only ‘whodunnit’, but also the identity of the victim. The plot thickens in a narrative chronicled by Eddie, our main character, whose recollections have us travelling between 1986 and 2016 in pursuit of answers. As the chapters flit between the decades, paths are drawn only to be erased, like the stick figures written in chalk that are suddenly appearing on pavements all over town, only to disappear with the first drops of rain.
The Chalk Man is the embodiment of the suspense novel at its finest. Tudor masterfully weaves two narrative tracks together to form a story that is chilling at its core. Suspects appear upon every turn of the page, the narrative growing darker and darker, filling the reader with a growing sense of unease, until a sinister ending leaves us with a whirring-mind and a sleepless night.
Letters of Note
Compiled by Shaun Usher
TOP TIP: As a lover of the written word, this is an absolute dream and a privilege to have read.
Undeniably, this is: “Correspondence deserving of a wider audience”.
Letters of Note provides a history lesson with a twist. A beautifully arranged compilation of letters written (or typed) by some of the most famous hands in history, each page opens a new window into the mind and world of its letter-writing author. The book offers exactly what it suggests – a collection of correspondence that truly is noteworthy. Some letters are pictured in their original form, with the charm of scribbles and ink blots included, whilst others are accompanied by little-known facts and anecdotes.
Featured is a hand-written note from Queen Elizabeth II to US President Eisenhower, accompanied by Her Majesty’s personal scone recipe, a heart-wrenching letter written by Virginia Woolf to her husband shortly before taking her own life and a remarkable riposte from a freed slave to his old master that makes the heart swell, to name but a few.
Letters of Note boasts correspondence that will change your world-view, letters of love, rejection and admiration, letters to wonder at and inspire. Some are shocking, some are saddening, some are laugh-out-loud whilst others are heart-breaking, but all of them are letters of note.