Black Chalk by Christopher J. Yates

bookshelves: spring-2014, published-2013, britain-england, oxford, games-people-play, debut, e-book, net-galley, bettie-s-law-of-excitement-lost, mystery-thriller, north-americas, next

Read from May 08 to 16, 2014

Description: Who knows better than your best friends what will break you?

One game. Six students. Five survivors.

In the intimidating surroundings of Oxford University a group of six friends begin to play a game — an elaborate variant on truth or dare, in which the loser of each round has to perform an embarrassing challenge. The eventual winner stood to walk away with a sizable prize, not simply the money that each had contributed to the pot from their student grants, but a substantial sum staked to them by a mysterious campus organisation known as the Game Society, provided that the students agreed to keep both the Game and its sponsorship secret.

But the game quickly assumes a life of its own: the stakes grow higher and the dares more personal, more humiliating, finally evolving into a vicious struggle with unpredictable and tragic results. Now, years later, one player, who believed he had fled the Game long ago, discovers that it is far from over.

Dedication: For Margi
Because without you nothing

Opening quote is from D H Lawrence:

Never trust the artist
Trust the tale

Opening: HE PHONES early. England greets the world five hours ahead of us and I answer before my day has gained its groove.

Sounds all twitter and bisted doesn’t it. Just what I fancy a slice off.

Here we go:
Fourteen years after the game started in their first year at Oxford, the players meet for the final round.

In a way, because of the blurb and description, I expected something of a higher callibre. The premise had me itching for the read, however the way the story was set up there was over use of fore-shadowing device.

A solid read with a lot going for it in the right hands.


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