Laura Morris works at End of the Line, a charity phone line for those who need to speak to someone and get reassurance when they are contemplating suicide. She bakes to raise money to keep the helpline going and gives the impression of being the perfect wife and mother to those she works with.
But Laura has not had an easy life, she has been unwell, she is having problems in her marriage and is fast approaching forty. She also has a secret, she doesn’t want to reassure those who call End of the Line and save them, she wants them to die so she can hear their last breath.
Ryan’s wife, Charlotte is one of those who was unlucky and got through to Laura, and is now dead, committing suicide with a stranger. Ryan wants to learn more about his wife’s death and the man with her. What he doesn’t take into account is how far Laura will go to protect her secret, after all who would suspect a Good Samaritan of murder.
After reading John Marrs’ The One earlier in the year I was excited to be given the opportunity by Tracy Fenton from TBC on Facebook, to review this latest novel. The Good Samaritan is an erudite, dark, tense, psychological thriller with a cast of flawed and interesting characters. The plot is fast paced, and disturbing with many twists and turns to wrong foot you at every chance. John Marrs’ writing style grabs your attention and keeps it throughout the book both with the changes of direction and the flawed narrators.
The plot is narrated by Laura and Ryan, with an input from Johnny, Ryan’s brother. Laura is a multi faceted character and is obviously traumatised by her past and has a warped sense of reality. She is very manipulative to those vulnerable people who call End of the Line, using them to validate her own life and get her kicks from life.
Ryan is character I had sympathy for, he falls to pieces after loosing his wife, convinced she wouldn’t have taken her own life, and especially not with a stranger. We get the contrast of Ryan’s life both before Laura’s death and after, which enables the reader to see the extreme change in his personality and the way his life has changed beyond recognition; almost study in grief and its effects. In his quest to seek answers he completely underestimates Laura, and finds himself in a dangerous game of cat and mouse.
I don’t want to say too much about this book in fear of giving too much away. What I will say buy The Good Samaritan and read it. This is a fantastic, stomach churning edge of your seat thriller; perfect for these dark winter nights.