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 results
One game. Six students. Five survivors.
It was only ever meant to be a game.
A game of consequences, of silly forfeits, childish dares. A game to be played by six best friends in their first year at Oxford University. But then the game changed: the stakes grew higher and the dares more personal, 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.
“An inventive and intricate psychological puzzle thriller that mystifies, torments, disturbs, beguiles... a powerfully intelligent debut”
Marcel Berlins, The Times
“A compulsive page-turner that will hold your attention until the very last word”
Natasha Harding, Sun
“Sinister, addictive and unpredictable – this is a novel to be devoured greedily, at speed, but one that will leave its footprint on your memory for far longer”
Natasha Lunn, Red
“Yates’s take on the collegiate thriller lives up to early comparisons to Donna Tartt’s The Secret History... filled with gleeful malevolence”
“[A] chilling debut...this is a thriller, a cautionary tale and a sobering exploration of unintended consequences rolled into one”
“Black Chalk grabs from the get-go... Yates plots with tantalizing skill”
Ellen Shapiro, People
“This addictive psychological thriller will have you hooked from start to game over”
John O'Connell, Guardian
“A truly chilling thriller, with campus-fun-gone-wrong echoes of Donna Tartt's The Secret History”
“A very exciting debut - like The Secret History, but so much creepier... This is intellectually challenging psychological thriller writing at a high level”
“An intricate and sinister thriller, in which the truth is slowly and subtly revealed”
Ruth Hunter, BookTime, The Bookseller, September Booksellers' Choice
“Words to describe this wonderful thriller could be: gripping, sinister, realistic and very scary, as well as irresistible, compulsive and unputdownable... A perfect read on a dark evening,”
“A gripping thriller... Will leave even the most hardened of horror fans looking over their shoulders and checking that the door is locked!”
“Complex, ingenious and thrilling”
“a sinister and suspenseful read”
Jan Gardner, Boston Globe