August 2015 Indie Next List
— Peggy Elefteriades (M), R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, CT
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"This is the smart summer thriller you've been waiting for."--NPR's All Things Considered
NAMED A MUST READ BY THE BOSTON GLOBE, BBC.COM, AND NEW YORK POST
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY NPR
A compulsively readable psychological thriller set in New York and at Oxford University in which a group of six students play an elaborate game of dares and consequences with tragic result
It was only ever meant to be a game played by six best friends in their first year at Oxford University; a game of consequences, silly forfeits, and childish dares. But then the game changed: The stakes grew higher and the dares more personal and more humiliating, finally evolving into a vicious struggle with unpredictable and tragic results. Now, fourteen years later, the remaining players must meet again for the final round. Who knows better than your best friends what would break you?
A gripping psychological thriller partly inspired by the author's own time at Oxford University, Black Chalk is perfect for fans of the high tension and expert pacing of The Secret History and The Bellwether Revivals. Christopher J. Yates' background in puzzle writing and setting can clearly be seen in the plotting of this clever, tricky book that will keep you guessing to the very end.
Praise For Black Chalk…
“This is the smart summer thriller you've been waiting for. The black and harmful little book you want in your carry-on.The novel you should be reading tonight.” —NPR's "All Things Considered
“One of the greatest surprise reveals I've witnessed. A twist that's like screwing your head on backwards. And when you see the tricky switch Yates has pulled, you just want to kiss him, because dammit if there isn't something sweet and satisfying about a plot twist pulled off with aplomb.” —NPR.org
“A circle of bright college friends who feed on one another's cleverness and trump one another's insults until the steady diet of cynicism ends in tragedy-this is the stuff of two fine first novels: Donna Tartt's The Secret History (1992) and, now, Christopher J. Yates's Black Chalk. Yates's characters are even wittier than Tartt's....Yates is a master of college-student psychology....[He] has achieved something new and impressive. Pick up Black Chalk.” —The Washington Post
“[A] riveting psychological thriller...Terrifying...Read it fast.” —Entertainment Weekly
“A new Stephen King, albeit with a British accent.”—New York Post
“Christopher J. Yates' debut novel is a psychological thriller about the consequences of friendship gone awry.... The result is a story littered with twists that will keep you guessing until the final page.” —Paste Magazine
“[A] sardonic psychological thriller... Yates, a crossword puzzle maker himself, sets clues firmly in place, moves back and forth in time and throws in surprises at every turn. Black Chalk is an engrossing literary guessing game.” —BBC.com
“Dark, twisty fun.” —New York Daily News
“Dark deeds among school cliques is a milieu that's attracted top-tier authors from Donna Tartt to Tana French, and this debut thriller is a worthy addition, with its chess-like psychological showdown.” —Booklist
“An inventive and intricate psychological puzzle thriller that mystifies, torments, disturbs, beguiles . . . A powerfully intelligent debut.” —The Times (London)
“A compulsive page-turner that will hold your attention until the very last word.” —The Sun (London)
Picador, 9781250075550, 368pp.
Publication Date: August 4, 2015