We’ve come a long way since Alexander Graham Bell summoned his assistant via a early telephone from the next room. Data from the GSMA, the body representing worldwide mobile network operators, shows Two-thirds of the world’s population are connected by mobile devices. By 2020, almost 75% of the global population will be connected by mobile phones. But with the development of the smart phone, there are a few draw backs, for one we are less reliant on our memory to recall important numbers. I can still remember life without a mobile and think it strange how our life seems to fall apart nowadays if we misplace it. As well as that, there’s another thing the development of the smart phone hasn’t managed to over come, the miss-dialed number. This easily done thing is the catalyst for this months book. Its Good Samaritans by will Carver and published by Orenda books (www.orendabooks.co.uk) on the 10th November.
I read this book without looking at any surrounding blurb or reviews so I maybe came to it with preconceptions based on the title. The story introduces you to five main characters. Maeve and Seth are a married couple going through a bad patch. They don’t talk much and spend their evenings on the sofa watching reality shows. Maeve drinks a little and Seth is an insomniac. They enjoy sly digs and do things to irritate each other. Seth is bullied at work by his boss. He phones random strangers late at night hoping to talk and make a connection. They may represent a familiar picture to many couples. In fact Carver points out a couple of times that they are just like you. Ant, a young man who hasn’t recovered from the tragic death of a friend, tries to make himself feel better by helping others at a Samaritans call centre.
A lonely suicidal young woman makes a call to the Samaritans at the exact time Seth dials her number and a connection is made. Consider that the final main character is Detective Sergeant Pace, who is on the hunt for a serial killer and you might expect that something nasty is about to happen. And from this point It gets really hard to review this novel with giving too much away and spoiling it for potential readers. I can’t talk further about the plot but will just say, wow!
I read the book in a day and that was because it got me hooked. All I can say is expect to be surprised and shocked. The story starts off at a slow pace. Everything is quite dull, every day and mildly depressing but then suddenly it’s turned on its head. There’s a dramatic change of gear. The story becomes depraved and sexy. Be prepared for full on sex and violence. There is however, humour too, although it’s very dark.
At infant school, in the 70’s, our weekly assembly included a bible story, read to us by one of the teachers. A selection of story books were stored in the bookcase in one corner of the room and I always yearned to hear of Jonah getting eaten by a whale but usually, in fact, almost every week it seemed, the teacher picked the story of the good Samaritan. I suppose they wanted to instill in us the value of caring for others and that sometimes the most unexpected person comes to your aid. I guess their plan worked as despite being agnostic, the story and it values stayed with me.
This is English author Will Carver’s (@willcarver) fourth book, his other three are Girl
Four (2011), The Two (2011) and Dead Set (2013), which all feature his police detective DI January David. He spent his early years in Germany before returning to the UK aged eleven. There turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television and went on to set up a successful theatre company in Winchester. He currently lives in Reading with his family where he runs a fitness and nutrition company while writing his next thriller.
Part of the joy of this rollercoaster of a read was that Carver does his ground work. The characters are fully conceived with their flaws and desires and you really buy into them.
The book makes you think about how well you really know your colleagues and neighbours. Could there be a serial killer amongst them? According to the FBI a serial killer is defined as someone who has killed three or more victims. Thomas Hargrove a homicide archivist and founder of the not for profit Murder Accountability Project, estimates that there are 2000 undetected serial killers operating in the states. Suddenly the odds are shrinking! Will Carver’s book may be titled, ‘Good Samaritans’ but it seems there’s a big predator waiting to get you inside. Maybe I should have got to listen to Jonah instead? Now where’s my bleach?….
This book was reviewed as part of the Random Things blog tour, to see what the other reviewers thought, visit their blogs listed below and see if we agree.
Reviewed by Georgina Murphy