The Good Samaritan
By: John Marrs
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: 12/1/2017
My Rating: 4.5 Stars 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.
John Marrs has created one of the creepiest and most disturbing characters I have come across in years—taking center stage in his latest riveting and twisty psychological (literary) suspense thriller, THE GOOD SAMARITAN.
“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” –Muhammad Ali
Set in Northamptonshire, Laura has worked at End of the Line for the last four and half years. She communicates with the troubled souls. The vulnerable. The night shift. When darkness falls, so do their barriers.
Night-time is their enemy. Without the distractions, there is more opportunity to dwell on how hopeless their lives have become.
They reach out to a helping hand. "We are here for you in whatever capacity you want us to be."
However, Laura has her own agenda. She gets thrilled each time she picks up the phone. The next call is everything. She lives for the next call. Her intentions are dark. Instead of talking the callers out of committing suicide, she encourages them. She is an expert.
Readers will hear from a troubled and dangerous woman. Her past is slowly unraveled. She had a husband, Tony and three children: Henry, Alice, and Effie.
However, they are at a distance. It was her own doing, but of course, she does not take the blame. She pretends all is great. She is delusional. She is on a quest to win back her family. Janine works with her. Laura keeps secrets from her colleague. Janie hasn't a clue what goes on during Laura’s phone calls.
British law had decriminalized suicide back in 1961, so it was no longer illegal to try to take your own life. However, encouraging or assisting someone else in suicide was a different matter and the police had a duty to investigate and maximum penalty was issued if found guilty. Fourteen years.
Laura thinks in her own mind she is helping.
“People are their own worst enemies when they try to plod along even if it means leading miserable, hopeless lives. It’s up to me to save them from themselves.”
Laura has five rules she expects each candidate to follow if their relationship is to prove effective:
• She is the one in control. It will always be the candidate’s decision if they want to live or die, but she makes them understand that without her help, they will fail. She throws statistics at them. When it’s done incorrectly, an attempt can leave a person with rippling, life-changing injuries (this one is ironic based on her background).
• They must trust her because she knows best. She, of course, is a walking encyclopedia with it comes to ways and means. She is the expert. The most effective painkillers and benzodiazepines to combine. She knows the strongest ropes, blades, guns, ties, waters, and how to secure a pipe to a car exhaust. She knows how to suffocate and self-strangulate.
• They must agree to do it within five weeks or their arrangement is over. Otherwise no second chances and do not waste her time.
• They must leave the work to her. Time, location, cost of materials, where to purchase. All details. Under no circumstances must they ever write down her name or that of End of Line. Not on a piece of paper or notes of their phone.
• The final rule. Total Transparency. They must tell her everything there is to know about themselves. Their cherished memories, their darkest thoughts, their unreached goals, their biggest regrets, their dirtiest secrets, who they are leaving behind, who won’t care and who they will hurt. Their everyday lives and what they do not want their friends to know.
Their last breath will sound sweeter to her than any other sound in the world. She was the human connection. She had even gained the nickname, Helpline Heroine.
She is the perpetrator. A manipulator. (learning from her foster mother). She knows how to turn it around to play the victim. She is devious and clever. She had her own boundaries. No children or teens or anyone with learning difficulties. She must save them from themselves.
She possessed a trait. She learned how to convince the world she was one way when on the inside, she was altogether different.
Laid out in a timeline of events, Laura was responsible for a couple committing suicide together. David and Charlotte. Laura is also a charity fundraiser.
When the cops begin investigating this young woman’s suicide who was pregnant, they discover she had called the line. They soon discover many people call the line are now dead.
However, what Laura did not plan was Charlotte’s husband Ryan (teacher) who was obsessed with his wife’s suicide and the death of their unborn son.
Ryan has a plan of his own. He has found his target. Laura, at End of the Line.
He pretends to be Steven. He will set the trap to catch this monster at her own game. She took something precious to him and he will make her pay. However, what he did not intend was a sinister high stakes cat- and- mouse game with a psycho one step ahead of his every move. Just when he thinks he will catch her she turns the tables.
Told from Laura and Ryan’s POV, a complex multi-layered suspense with numerous twist and turns, each plotting against the other.
However, there may be one hidden card, Laura had not anticipated. She may have crossed the wrong person. Karma is a bitch.
Wow, this was one wild roller-coaster ride! What a sociopath. Laura was pure evil. I started out listening to the audio, and became so frustrated with Laura, dying for someone to push her off a cliff and get it over with. She (the character) was so annoying (not the narrators, which were quite entertaining).
However, about 25% into the audio (narrated by Elizabeth Knowelden, Charlotte Cole, Matthew Lloyd Davies, Tim Campbell), and with too many interruptions, decided to pick up with the Kindle version. Much better.
I was hooked, and never put it down until I reached The End. What a sinister and imaginative tale and twisted plot. The way each character and family member intersected was cleverly crafted. Would encourage readers to stick with it. Gets better the more the book moves along.
Henry’s part was a nice twist as well each character that connects with another. My first book by this author, and definitely will not be my last. What a discovery! Quickly purchasing Marrs’ backlist to add to my ever-growing reading collection. The author deserves 10 stars for his imagination.
For fans of dark and twisty: Ruth Ware, Paul Cleave, Jennifer Hillier, Jennifer Jaynes, Claire Seeber, Louise Jensen, K.L Slater, and James Hankins.
“While seeking revenge, dig two graves— one for yourself.”—Douglas Horton
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; Gay Times; 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 most recent novel, The One. Read More