Today I am delighted to join the blog tour for Will Carver’s Good Samaritans. My thanks go to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to join the tour and to Orenda Books for providing an advance copy for review. Here is what the book is all about.
About the Book
One crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach.
Seth Beauman can’t sleep. He stays up late, calling strangers from his phonebook, hoping to make a connection, while his wife, Maeve, sleeps upstairs. A crossed wire finds a suicidal Hadley Serf on the phone to Seth, thinking she is talking to The Samaritans.
But a seemingly harmless, late-night hobby turns into something more for Seth and for Hadley, and soon their late-night talks are turning into day-time meet-ups. And then this dysfunctional love story turns into something altogether darker, when Seth brings Hadley home…
And someone is watching…
Dark, sexy, dangerous and wildly readable, Good Samaritans marks the scorching return of one of crime fiction’s most exceptional voices.
Lordy. I really and truly don’t know how to begin my review of this book. There is so much I would like to say, but so much I can’t as it would undoubtedly lead to spoilers. I think it is safest to say that this is about the most dysfunctional, and at times comical, relationship led thriller or story that I have read in a long while. And that’s no bad thing, trust me.
Reading Good Samaritans, we are faced with five characters, all very different, all with key roles to play in the story but who we are at a loss, at first, to see how they tie together. Not to worry as Will Carver soon takes care of this, producing a very clever and complex story in which all the seemingly separate threads are woven together in a sometimes comical, often surprising and occasional shock inducing way.
Our first encounter is with Hadley Serf, a young woman with all the weight of the world on her shoulders. She is suicidal, feeling unworthy and unloved, unable to find stability that she craves but pushing on, creating a facade that, on occasion, will slip. Then we have Seth, a man who suffers from a touch of insomnia, along side a strange habit which he indulges once his wife has gone to bed. Then there is Seth’s wife, Maeve, perhaps long suffering, perhaps not, but a woman who is fascinated with the next character in the book, Detective Sergeant Pace. And finally there is Ant. Ant is actually the one person in the book who lives up to the title. Floored by the death of his best friend while backpacking around Australia, Ant has sought to assuage his guilt by becoming a Samaritan. Yep – there actually is one in the book.
Now it is hard to say much more about the plot of the book as it will reveal far more than is necessary of what happens, which is best discovered for yourself. It is probably safe to say that Hadley and Ant’s world is drawn closer by a late night call to the Samaritans by Hadley when he is on shift. He finds himself drawn to the young woman who has called in, determined to find out her story and why she called, only to disappear just as quickly. It is on another late night call that Hadley accidentally meets Seth. It is purely down to fate and crossed wires that they begin talking, but a strange kind of kinship grows between the two and soon they are talking regularly and arranging to meet in person, a situation Seth clearly needs to keep from his wife.
Maeve is a strange character but actually perhaps the one I liked most of all, in a bizarre way. She is aware of Seth’s telephonic infidelity. In fact she indulges it to a degree, as she usually finds she get what she wants from the relationship in a roundabout fashion. Let’s just say that some of Seth’s calls leave him a trifle amorous. That is the polite way of saying that this book has a few scenes of a lascivious nature in which little is left to the reader’s imagination. Now I know what a few of you will be thinking but no, this didn’t bother me. I’m no prude (but the prudish amongst you may need to prepare for a few blushes here and there). Far from being a gratuitous interlude, it was strangely fitting, highlighting the tempestuous nature of Maeve and Seth’s relationship, contrasted against the more mundane interactions we witness early on. There is far more to the pairing than you think and, rampant sexual moments aside, Maeve is far less the put upon wifey that she appears to be.
She is, however, fascinated with DS Pace, a man who has come to her attention through many news reports. Pace has the unenviable task of trying to track down a vicious killer, one who murders young women and then ensures that there is no forensic evidence remaining by bleaching their bodies. There is a shadow over Pace, one which you can feel growing larger each time we meet him. He has a dark past, one we never truly uncover but the weariness and determination make for a rather heady mix. We may not spend much time in his company, but I can kind of see where Maeve’s fascination has come from.
The story is told from multiples perspectives, predominantly in third person narrative. The only exception is with the women of the story. In the first half of the book we are given Hadley’s story in first person, and Will Carver really captures the essence of a young woman who is uncertain and overwhelmed, and whose perspective on life is dark and unforgiving. She is flirtatious, lacking in any kind of self-respect, and yet willing to believe in others so readily. Despite her dour outlook on life, she is almost overwhelmingly naive. The second half of the book sees the focus change, first person narrative coming from Maeve, and it is here we learn more about her. About what drives her; her compulsion and her strength. She is quite a character and, as I said earlier, probably my favourite, which may actually worry those who have already read the book.
This book is a compelling read, coming from so many different angles that you feel you need to read on to find out exactly what is happening and how it will pull together. If I am honest, I preferred the second half of the book to the first, perhaps because I was more drawn to Maeve than Hadley. The first half of the book sets up the characters, draws the reader in, provides some rather heart pumping sex scenes (well for Maeve and Seth at least) and then leaves us with a shocking, if somewhat inevitable half way cliffhanger. The second half of the book seemed much faster, the pacing continuing to increase until we reached the conclusion.
There is much misdirection throughout, and you may think you know what is happening but you are in for a surprise or two along the way. It certainly packs a punch – or two, or three – and if you like your thrillers on the dark and sexy side, then this will undoubtedly be the book for you.
If you would like a copy of Good Samaritan then it is available now from the following links:
About the Author
Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series (Arrow). He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age 11, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company.
He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, while working on his next thriller. He lives in Reading with his two children
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