Thursday, April 10, 2014

Black Chalk - Christopher J. Yates

Black Chalk
Make sure you read all the way to the end of this post! I'm giving away a copy of today's book!

A while back, Lisa from TLC Book Tours contacted me. She had read that I enjoy the occasional thriller and had a book in mind.

Black Chalk showed up on our doorstep not too long after.

The book takes place at Oxford University in the mid-1990s. We are introduced to two freshman, Jolyon and Chad. Chad, an American transfer student, finds a friend in British Jolyon. The two become inseparable and, slowly, a group of friends forms around them.

The friends, who are, in some ways, a band of misfits, get connected with the "Game Soc," a mysterious campus society. They agree to play a game of their own invention, subjecting themselves to greater and greater humiliations.

As you can imagine, the stakes quickly rise and, what began as a fun diversion, becomes much more serious. Before long, the students are locked in a game with fatal consequences.

I really enjoyed this book. It falls outside of my typically favored genres, and I enjoyed that about it. It is suspenseful in all the best ways. The story is unique and the characters are just quirky enough to keep you guessing.

I have the opportunity to share a few thoughts from the author, Christopher J. Yates. Make sure you stop by the other blogs on the tour to hear more from him!

TLC: Who was your favorite character to write?
CJY: My favorite was Jack—he’s the character with the best sense of humor in Black Chalk. Although his humor can be dark and unkind, the person he excoriates the most is himself. Sometimes he can be plain outrageous but at other times his humor is very sharp concerning everything that’s wrong with this strange game he and his friends have chosen to play. His humor is a mixture of infantile frat-boy and Shakespearean fool and his words seemed to come to me from somewhere outside of my own head—it really did feel like Jack was a real person who was perched on my shoulder amusing me; which is a million miles away from laughing at your own jokes, right?

TLC: Did you participate in any societies during your time at Oxford University?
CJY: Most of the societies I was a part of were sporting. Football, cricket, pool, badminton and table tennis. (I’m a very competitive person who has written a novel about very competitive people.) I was also a member of the Oxford Union, a sort of ancient, venerable debating society. This mostly entailed going along every now and then to see pompous teenagers who thought they were Winston Churchill debating matters of great ethical importance. You can’t really understand the moral atrocity of the apartheid system until you’ve seen a thin, posh boy shake his jowls like a bulldog on the subject. The Union also has very cheap snooker tables. I can recommend the snooker tables.

Every blogger on this tour has the option of giving away a copy of the book! I love giving stuff away, so I definitely jumped at this chance! The Rafflecopter giveaway is at the bottom of the post. Since I'm going on vacation today, I'm giving you a whole week to enter! I'll announce the winner next Thursday (4/17). Oh, and this is a global giveaway - no US resident only restrictions!

Oh, and one last thing... There's been a bit of a snafu with distribution of this book in the US. Online retailers are sold out right now! If you're interested in purchasing it, make sure you like Read.Write.Repeat. on Facebook. I'll let you know when copies are available again. Or you could just enter the giveaway....

Pages: 352
Date Completed: March 1, 2014
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you so much for the mention, Alise, and excited that I could tempt you into a new genre.

  2. This novel sounds captivating and intriguing. thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com