Today I’m delighted to share my thoughts on the brand new novel from Sam Carrington, The Couple On Maple Drive. My thanks to publisher, Avon, for providing a copy of the book for review. Here’s what it’s about:
About the Book
Have you heard about the couple on Maple Drive?
Isla barely leaves the house after her brutal mugging.
Her boyfriend Zach moved in with her after the attack. To look after her.
But something else has happened now. Right on their doorstep.
I don’t want to say that someone’s out to get her…
I just hope they find out the truth before it’s too late.
Or at least before the secrets they’re hiding from each other surface.
Because those could be even deadlier…
Suspense, tension, misdirection … The Couple On Maple Drive by Sam Carrington delivers on all these fronts and more in a story which is part live action, part true-crime podcast, and all entertaining. I do love me a Sam Carrington thriller, and this one is top notch.
This is the story of Isla – friend, fiancé, victim … killer? From the very beginning of the book I found myself pulled into the mystery and atmosphere of this tale. It begins with a report from the true crime podcast of Christie’s Crime Addicts, live on the scene as a serious situation unfolds. The whats, whys and wherefores are yet to be revealed but it doesn’t take a supersleuth, or even an amateur detective, to start to make some suppositions about what dark deed might have been, for as soon as we meet Isla, the protagonist and central focus of the ensuing story, we really do get a feel for the direction this book may be heading. For whilst the podcast may be live broadcasting, the majority of the story is set in the days preceding that most intriguing of beginnings, laying the foundations of a story that is packed with misdirection and mystery and which forces us to ask far more questions than it initially offers answers for.
Isla has been the victim of a vicious attack, one that left her with gaps in her memory, gaps which are slowly starting to filter through. I loved the way in which the author has combined Isla’s present, or, more accurately, recent past, with flashbacks to events leading up to that fateful night when everything in Isla’s life changed. It makes for a kind of three tier story. The before, the present and the what will come. It might sound as though that could be confusing with the multiple timelines, but Sam Carrington has blended the three threads together so well that the story flows despite seamlessly. And in doing so she has served up a whole host of possible suspects into the attack on Isla. Did I have in the back of my mind from the start where this story was going to lead, who had been behind Isla’s attack? Yes. Did the author still manage to surprise, and shock, and provide so many twists in this particular tale that I found myself second guessing what was really happening? Absolutely.
Character and their motivations are something that Sam Carrington excels at, and in Isla she has developed a character who is perhaps equal parts sympathetic and frustrating. There is no doubting her role as victim, and given the nature of her attack and subsequent revelations, she has every reason to be afraid. There were times when I just wanted to grab and shake her, others when it felt like she needed to be wrapped in cotton wool, but the more I came to understand her situation, the more nervous I felt as a reader, understanding far better than she did the kind of risk, and pressure, she was under. Her agoraphobia and the subsequent sense of claustrophobia cause by her situation, was almost visceral, and portrayed perfectly. As for those around her – well aside from the podcasters, and in particular, Jase, it was hard to get to like any of the other main players in the book. There was just something … wrong about each of them, and I found I viewed them all with caution and, just sometimes, downright hated each in turn. Their motivations, their behaviours, were believable and authentic but ultimately suspect. It made the story edgy, kept me on my toes and kept my absolute certainty about a certain person’s guilt just at bay, at least until they showed their true colours.
If you like a suspense laden, multi layered, character led psychological thriller then you should definitely read this book. Sam Carrington has pulled a blinder yet again and kept be thoroughly entertained and engrossed by each and every page.
About the Author
Sam Carrington lives in Devon with her husband and three children. She worked for the NHS for 15 years, during which time she qualified as a nurse. Following the completion of a Psychology degree she went to work for the prison service as an Offending Behaviour Facilitator. Her experiences within this field inspired her writing. She left the service to spend time with her family and to follow her dream of being a novelist.