So a few weeks ago I read the amazing “Black Chalk” by Christopher J Yates. This title will be released on the 19th September by Random House UK Vintage Publishing and on that day on Liz Loves Books you will be able to find an interview with the author where he talks about the origins of the story amongst other things – don’t miss that its interesting stuff! In the meantime, to wet your appetite here is my review for the book and some links for you to find out more…
One game. Six students. Five survivors.
At University, six friends come together and play a game. Its a silly little game imagined by two of their number – a game of actions followed by consequences growing ever more intricate in nature…with one winner to remain standing at the end. Fun. Oh yes. Or no. As the game becomes ever more involved, the stakes higher, the opponents becoming ever more competitive and adversarial, friendships will be destroyed and tragedy will strike. Watched over by the ever mysterious Game Soc, the players are pushed to their limits….just how far will they go and how much of their future will they sacrifice?
This story will sink into your subconcious…..written in a clever and compelling way the lines between fantasy and reality blur and you will never be quite sure where you are. The game itself is brilliantly imagined – it seems so innocuous and yet its insidious…when is the game being played exactly…and just how serious will the consequences be?
Another extremely clever aspect of this novel for me, is the way that the usual “twists” you would be expecting to come at the end, or as game changers somewhere in the middle are all over the place and intricately placed. In a way this is very much a character driven novel…Jolyon stands out as perhaps one of the most enthralling and unusual characters you will find in fiction – and the rest of the students in their own way are just as fascinating. Any one of them can walk away at any moment…but will they? Psychologically speaking they are all captivating – are any of them quite as they appear? Its very cunning writing…Insidious indeed.
As a mystery, it works on several levels. It will keep you guessing but not about the usual things perhaps. You will want to work out what is going on but every time you think you do, something changes. Someone talks, someone else listens and the whole playing field shifts…if you were to ask me to sum up this novel in a sentence I would perhaps say “The Twilight Zone on Acid” and yet it is all very much grounded in reality. After all, we all play mind games…don’t we?
I will say without a doubt this is one of the best books I have read this year. It will be going into Highly Recommended. As Sherlock Holmes might say. Come Watson….The Game is Afoot.
Find out more about Christopher Yates here : http://www.christopherjyates.com/
You can follow him on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/CJ_Yates
To Pre-Order Black Chalk clickety click here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Black-Chalk-Christopher-J-Yates/dp/1846557275/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1377586936&sr=1-1
Happy Reading Folks!