Publication: 9th August 2018 by Headline
Everyone knows what happened there. No one knows why.
Matthew and Hannah were just playing in the woods, a little way from home.
But now he’s tying Hannah to a tree. And she has never been so terrified.
Patrick is there too, hidden, watching. He can’t move.
He can’t take his eyes off Matthew’s gun.
Years later, in New York City, leading adult lives they never would have imagined, the three will meet again. With even more devastating consequences.
It all began on Grist Mill Road…
This novel was nothing at all what I expected. It’s more literary and completely different from any other thrillers I am used to read and I loved it. From the well-developed characters to the small-town atmosphere, from the author’s attention to details to the layered plot, I found myself completely immersed and captivated by this book.
The story has a unique structure. It alternates between the past, 1982, and the “present”, 2008. It also alternates between the three characters’ points of view, Patrick (also called Patch or Tricky), Hannah, and Matthew. But who are these three characters? Back in 1982, when they were barely teenagers, Patrick, Hannah, and Matthew were involved in a terrible “episode” to which the reader is introduced right from the first page. All three characters have to live with the consequences of what happened that day, but it’s not as simple as that, as the author unravels the truth of what really happened layer by layer, a truth that is much darker and more disturbing than I expected. Patrick, Hannah, and Matthew are very complex characters. They are flawed, realistic, and psychologically difficult to figure out. The choices they make in their lives, the secrets they keep, the lies they tell, the things they do, they completely took me by surprise.
I loved the author’s beautifully-written prose, although I found some of the descriptions a bit too graphic for my taste. The book is slow-paced but the tension is always high because nothing is what it seems. It’s a novel that demands your full attention and that deals with difficult themes like violence, abuse, and sexual desire. It’s a dark, gripping, and compelling novel and you will still be thinking about it after you finished reading it and I’d like to thank Jennifer Leech and Headline for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and for providing me with an early copy of the book.
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Christopher J. Yates was born and raised in Kent and studied law at Oxford University before working as a puzzle editor in London. He now lives in New York City with his wife and dog. ‘Black Chalk’ is his debut novel. You can read his blog on his website at: http://www.christopherjyates.com/