Book Review: The Chalk Circle Man

Right, so part of Jen Forbus’s challenge was to read something not set in “your” country. So, that would mean something not set in the U.S. I could have picked up one of the other Tana French books because I very much enjoyed In the Woods, but that seemed to cheat on the spirit of discovering new authors and books and whatnot. That said, I want a do-over. (I already have two more non-U.S. books in my pile that aren’t French, so eventually I’ll get to my do-over.)

Don’t get me wrong, I want to work for Vargas’s Paris police force where drinking wine all afternoon is acceptable behavior and a guy who appears to be at the milder end of the autism spectrum has risen in the ranks, but I’m not sure I would want to read about them again.

Maybe I’m too dumb to get it. Maybe it’s because I stopped midway through to read Umberto Eco, though anytime you find yourself willingly putting down a mystery novel with only about a hundred pages to go, there’s a good chance you’re not really engaged.

The primary plot involves a guy who may or may not be a nut of some sort drawing blue chalk circles around random objects and leaving some message about Victor’s woes. The message apparently isn’t important because I don’t recall there being an explanation for it. Maybe you’ll read deeper than I did and can help my feeble brain out. There’s a blind guy with issues, a fish lady with issues, a professor with issues, an old lady with issues, a drunken single dad with issues, and the may-or-may-not-be autistic protagonist who seems to feel he’s two people rather than one and, oh yeah, has issues.

Overall, the idea was intriguing, and I’m sure the execution was quite brilliant, but I couldn’t connect with any of the characters enough to truly care. Maybe your experience will be different, though. Please, let me know if it is/was.