The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

What a gem of a book this is. It’s funny, scary, sad and happy and really well written. I was surprised to find that the author is a woman as the chief protagonist is male. We follow his hap hazard childhood with his gang of friends through to adulthood. With all the stresses and tensions of life thrown into a small Southern English town. Well paced and written and a pretty original storyline which keeps the reader, well this reader, interested and wanting more right up until the last page. It was one of those books I couldn’t put down but feel a bit lost because it’s ended.

To say this is a first book from this author I would suspect there are many more to come. I, for one, will eagerly await the next one.

Blacklands by Belinda Bauer

Having just read this book I thought I would post my own review. The story centres around Steven, a young boy living on Exmoor in Devon, UK, with his Mum and Gran. His Gran is continually unhappy as her son, Steven’s uncle, was abducted by a serial killer eighteen years before. Not wanting to give away the entire plot, I will say it’s driven by Steven’s desire to find his uncle’s remains and thus bring closure to his Nan and make her happy again.

I comment because it’s surprisingly well written and the phrasing and use of language is very pleasing to me; particularly as, I believe, its Ms Bauer’s first work of fiction. The pacing and twist of the plot kept me interested and the characters come alive on the page. Child abduction may, on the face of it, not be to everyone’s taste and I confess to being a little apprehensive about that aspect but I felt it was handled very well and did not sensationalize the subject.

I would definitely recommend this book and look forward to her other work.