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He would force himself to make friends with one British student at Pitt. Because any friendship was a path and paths always led elsewhere. To more paths and new places. Maybe even a better kind of life. And then, if he could only find a new world, Chad would skip down its lanes. Wherever they took him.
ahhhh, famous last words….
this is one of those cases where i feel i have to remind people that three stars from me is not a low rating. three is my broadest range of star-distribution, and this one
really liked it
Anyone who doesn’t see the danger in an “innocent” board-game played between loved ones- has never played Risk with my father and I. It wasn’t pretty, and friends who occasionally joined in- would usually get to see a whoooooooooole new side to my family. Alliances were formed…there was sometimes yelling and pleading. And by the end- it was almost always down to me and my dad- both of us ignoring everyone around us- “It’s just a game!”, “I’ve had enough”, “This is stupid” “I’m going to bed” “C
Set in the 1990s- Oxford University. Newly acquainted- Chad- a shy American student studying abroad and -Jolyon- a charismatic law student- meet and soon become inseparable. As the weeks go by an idea for a game forms, and four other friends are gathered to join in on the “fun”. Jack- the sarcastic kidder, Emilia- the beautiful and sensitive love interest of both Chad and Jolyon, Mark- the clever sleepy “Mad Scientist”, and Cassie/Dee- the odd suicidal poet.
The Game- a roll of the dice- dares and consequences, with a money prize for the last man/woman standing. £1000 put up by each player- £10,000 put up by three mysterious young men only known to the players- as tallest, medium, and shortest. It starts off as a lively amusing competition…but as the months pass- trust is broken, friendships are torn apart, and one of the six ends up dead.
Fourteen years later- New York City- One of the players is living a reclusive existence – only leaving his Manhattan apartment for the necessities- food, alcohol, and meds. OCD has taken over and he uses mnemonic devices to remind him of his daily routine….But that routine is broken when he receives a troubling phone call and learns that The Game is far from over…
BLACK CHALK flips between the narrator/present-day, and fourteen years ago when he and his friends were students at oxford- A clever psychological thriller- full of twists, turns and loads of suspense right to the very end.
*Received copy from Netgalley in exchange for review.
There’s an inherently difficult challenge in writing a taut thriller by simple virtue of the fact that, in the vast majority of cases, the revelation of a thing is always less scary/creepy/horrifying than the imagining of the thing prior to its revelation (insert joke here re: except in the case of the removal of my pants).
As a writer, then, you’re faced with three options, and it’s how you balance those options that determines success (or lack thereof) in terms of keeping readers riveted.