Mary and Bickerman are the center of their circle of friends—but these friends are strangers as well as family to them. In the course of a year, under the influence of a stressful wedding and a whole lot of alcohol, relationships and nerves are twisted and broken as the dynamics of the cozy-seeming group shift. Secrets are kept, emotions withheld, and it doesn't look like it's going to end well for anyone.
Told always in first person, but not the same person, and unfolding in double-helix chronology that provides a Rashomon-like narration, Chum is the story of love, liquor, and death.
In 1995 Jeff Somers began publishing his own magazine, The Inner Swine (InnerSwine.com). His published novels include the Avery Cates series, the Ustari Cycle, Chum, and The Ruiner. He's also had stories published in many magazines, most of which regret the connection. His story "Ringing the Changes" was chosen for "Best American Mystery Stories 2006" and his story "Sift, Almost Invisible, Through" appeared in Crimes by Moonlight edited by Charlaine Harris in 2010. He currently lives in Hoboken, NJ, with his lovely wife Danette and their plump, imperious cats. In between all this and writing, Jeff plays chess and staves off despair with cocktails.
"Combining elements of Jonathan Tropper, Tom Perrotta, and Augusten Burroughs, Somers' incisive, pull-no-punches examination of adult friendship is refreshingly witty. Tautly paced and expertly assembled, Chum is a darkly comic, deeply insightful, and wildly original novel." --Booklist
"I liked this book before I started to really know the characters. I think this book does a good job of showing how friendships can progress and regress... I liked the idea of different narrators who allowed us to see their unique perspectives." --Beauty and the Book Blog
"With friends like these who needs enemies... To the extent that they represent a segment of American society, the novel is a significant critique of that segment, a critique bound carefully in a truly compelling story." --Blogcritics.org
"In this dazzling new novel, readers will believe they are on quite a different course than what this mystery will eventually reveal.... Jeff Somers carries it off brilliantly.... A very worthwhile read and comes highly recommended." --Reviewing the Evidence