Welcome to the Nudge stop on the blog tour for Good Samaritans by Will Carver!

Here’s a little info about the book:

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.

Here’s a little about author Will Carver:

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.

And now for Paul Burke’s review of Good Samaritans:

Lookout for a new dictionary definition in the near future – Dysfunctional: Characters in Will Carver’s Good Samaritans. This down and dirty tale of twisted sex and perverted murder will bring out your naughty side. You’ll be laughing at things you know you shouldn’t, but this is such deliciously dark fun you won’t be able to help yourself.

A perfect storm is a particularly violent storm arising from an infrequent but deadly mix of seriously nasty weather conditions – destruction and utter devastation follow. Good Samaritans is another kind of perfect storm; an explosion of misfortune and violence arising from the confluence of a few very unlucky, extremely vulnerable individuals with a couple of depraved and damaged psychopaths. Alone, any one of these characters is a danger to themselves or to society in general, together they represent a perfect storm.

It all begins with a lesson in how to get rid of a body; a young woman, twenty-five year old, lovely, lonely, no harm to anyone, but she was murdered anyway. The preparation of the body is both methodical and painstaking – creepy. Then the bleach-cleaned corpse is wrapped, transported and dumped in a Warwickshire woods, only to be discovered by an unwitting dog walker. Now a missing person investigation becomes a murder inquiry but we’ll come back to the dead woman. Hadley Serf (great name) is very much alive but contemplating not being. “I was troubled.” She says, past tense, but nothing has changed, she is troubled. It turns out that Hadley has tried to commit suicide on more than one occasion; wrists, tablets etc. Now she realises she’s even more of a failure for being unable to do that successfully too. Her boyfriend was sympathetic, he told her friends and got people to rally around Hadley. Of course, he dumped her a couple weeks later and Hadley’s friends’ sympathy soon wore thin. Why is she depressed? Why does she drink too much? Her dad, her job, her relationships, maybe all of the above. Anyway, she’s at a particularly low point again and thinks suicide might be the best way out for her and everybody else in the long run.

What Hadley needs is to chat, that’s what the Samaritans are there for, only there’s a bit of a mix up and that’s about to re-route her sad little life. Ant is one of the calm soothing voices who man the lines at the Samaritans, he has his own tragic past that led to him wanting to help other people. When Ant finished college he set off on a tour of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji with his mate James. Two months into the trip James hanged himself, Ant had to make the arrangements to get the body home. Now Ant is proud to offer support to other people; mostly they just want to talk about their relationships or sex or exams but then there are the genuine suicide risks – the ones who need talking down from the ledge, so to speak. But Ant was in “A purgatorial loop that he was content to waste, one day at a time.” Ant will cross paths with Hadley but not before Hadley has crossed paths with Seth. Seth is a chronic insomniac, but he has a little night-time hobby to relieve the boredom. He rings people selected at random from the phone book and asks if they want a chat. “Hey. Its Seth. I can’t sleep. Want to talk?” Mostly people don’t want to know but occasionally it works. For Hadley, in a bit of a drunken stupor, Seth’s call gets confused with her own attempt to talk to the Samaritans. Hadley reacts to Seth assuming he’s with the Samaritans, after a few exchanges she asks: “I’ve never done this before. Is this what it’s usually like?”

God, I hope not because it’s all getting a bit weird. Hadley feels that connection with Seth, “He was her Good Samaritan.” He isn’t at all what she expected: “That night, he didn’t realise it, but Seth had saved Hadley Serf’s life.”

The conversations continue, “…both of them ended their nights with that something they’d been looking for and the nothingness they secretly craved.”

It won’t end well but you guessed that right? Back to the dead body, Detective Sergeant Pace is put in charge of the investigation into the corpse in the woods, this is not the first (it’s not the last either, by the way). Both women, in their twenties, were likeable ordinary people with no obvious dark secrets, so the motive is unclear unless this is the work of a deranged killer? You may think I’ve hinted at a lot of the plot but there is twist upon twist, some genuinely shocking, even chilling. When you think the novel has reached the depths, the Mariana Trench awaits.

Good Samaritans is a beautifully crafted tale of sex, obsession, desire, sexual obsession and obsession (again). The novel is made up of short, sharp chapters and a tight time frame that keep the tale flowing at a breakneck pace. Each little bite of the plot is to be savoured, Carver is a stylish and original writer. The individual stories come together in an outrageous and hilarious fashion in this subversive tale of misfits and outsiders. It’s very funny, you’ll laugh while reading through your fingers in anticipation of just how bad things are going to get for the protagonists. Just who is depraved or deranged and how far they will go will surprise you. I haven’t even mentioned Maeve, Seth’s long suffering wife, or poor Charlie Sander, or what D.S. Pace (Police and Criminal Evidence?) is really like. I admire the way Carver brings these character together, the way people make connections with each other in the novel, it’s the source of much of the fun but also a creeping sense of fear. The way characters reveal their darker sides is gripping, they’re all jaundiced, all off kilter but totally credible and strangely attractive. The number of perspectives is fascinating and the way characters come to life when their obsessions take over is brilliantly written and genuinely scary. Some of the best comic moments come from farcical misunderstandings. Good Samaritans are in short supply here. It’s a joy to witness the perfect storm and to derive a perverse pleasure at the chaos it creates. You will not have read anything quite like this – wicked.

Paul Burke 5/5

The Good Samaritans by Will Carver
Orenda Books 9781912374373 pbk Nov 2018