Now then … Any one who follows the blog (that’ll be the two of you then) will know that I quite enjoyed John Marrs’ last book, The One, and if you want to know just how much, you can see my review here. So when I was asked if I wanted to be a part of the blog tour for his upcoming release, The Good Samaritan, I didn’t hesitate in saying yes. A massive thanks to John Marrs and Tracy Fenton for thinking of me, or at the very least letting me tag onto the tour … I’ll share my thoughts on this latest offering with you in just a moment, but first let’s take a look at all the official book stuff.
The Official Book Blurb
She’s a friendly voice on the phone. But can you trust her?
The people who call End of the Line need hope. They need reassurance that life is worth living. But some are unlucky enough to get through to Laura. Laura doesn’t want them to hope. She wants them to die.
Laura hasn’t had it easy: she’s survived sickness and a difficult marriage only to find herself heading for forty, unsettled and angry. She doesn’t love talking to people worse off than she is. She craves it.
But now someone’s on to her–Ryan, whose world falls apart when his pregnant wife ends her life, hand in hand with a stranger. Who was this man, and why did they choose to die together?
The sinister truth is within Ryan’s grasp, but he has no idea of the desperate lengths Laura will go to…
Because the best thing about being a Good Samaritan is that you can get away with murder.
Twisted, dark, deliciously devious and bordering on the taboo … all of the aforementioned apply by the bucket load to The Good Samaritan. From the opening chapter you get a real sense of our main protagonist Laura, but whatever it is you are thinking, prepared to be stunned into silence as you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Now this is one of those books where it is safer not to delve too far into the whys and wherefores of the plot because the blurb really does tell you all you need to know. Laura is working at a call centre, allegedly there to help vulnerable people. But rather than help in the normal way one would expect, she has her own views on what the callers really need. And then there is Ryan, a man very recently bereaved, who has suffered such great loss that he is finding it hard to cope. Ryan knows he needs closure, but in order to get that he needs to understand the reasons why … When their paths finally cross, it is with explosive consequences.
What can I say about Laura? Manipulative and yet damaged, strong and yet seemingly fragile. She is a series of contradictions and yet you know there is just something inherently wrong about her. But is she a victim of circumstance? Has her past come to inform her present in the most tragic of ways? It is clear that at times she is a woman on the edge, but I found myself drawn into her web of deceit, desperate to know what it was that drove her to choose the path she was on. How far she would go in a bid to keep the upper hand. How evil she could be …
Ryan – well now there is a very tortured soul. Part of me felt utmost sympathy for him. I cannot even imagine the emotion tied up in the tragedy he faced, and yet John Marrs has done a brilliant job of evoking those emotions on the page. And yet, at times, I also want to hit him with something hard, tell him to stop being a knob, and to do something sensible rather than simply reacting emotionally. It wouldn’t have made for half as gripping or tense a story if he had, but still. What a muppet. Things could have been sooooo different.
The thing to note about this book is that some of the topics addressed are decidedly taboo. It openly talks of suicide and the actions and reactions of people affected. It is not glamourised in any way, in fact the act itself is portrayed almost sympathetically, with a great deal of understanding from the suicidal person’s point of view. And yet the blasé way in which both Ryan and Laura deal with the subject in order to get what they want, both at very different ends of the spectrum , could be upsetting. I know many people will be able to identify with the situations raised, and as someone whose family has been touched by suicide, I did totally get where the story is coming from. There are also scenes where both Ryan and Laura use someone far more vulnerable than either of them, scenes which appear cruel as they play with someone elses emotions in order to further their own cause. Just how far they will go … well one of them does at least appear to develop a bit of a conscience in the end, but I’m not telling which one.
There are elements of a real cat and mouse chase in this book; moments of real tension which keep you on the edge of your seat. Moments which will make you sit back in shock, lean forward in anger and ultimately keep turning and reading until you reach the very last page. I was suckered in from the very start and I loved every manipulative, twisted and tense page of it. Bloomin’ brilliant.
The Good Samaritan is available from 1st December and can be preordered from the following retailers:
About the Author
John Marrs is a freelance journalist based in London, England, who has spent the last 20 years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film and music for national newspapers and magazines.
He has written for publications including The Guardian’s Guide and Guardian Online; OK! Magazine; Total Film; Empire; Q; GT; The Independent; Star; Reveal; Company; Daily Star and News of the World’s Sunday Magazine.
His debut novel The Wronged Sons, was released in 2013 and in May 2015, he released his second book, Welcome To Wherever You Are.
In May 2017 came his third book, The One. It was chosen as the book of the month for BBC Radio 2’s Book Club.
The Wronged Sons was re-edited and re-released in July 2017 under a new title, When You Disappeared. And his fourth book, The Good Samaritan, is set for release in November 2017.
Make sure to check out some of the other fabulous blogs taking part in the tour …