Review: The Good Samaritan

The Good Samaritan by John MarrsTitle: The Good Samaritan

Author: John Marrs

Genre: Thriller

Publication Date: December 1, 2017 / April 12, 2018

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨ (4.5 stars)

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.

The Good Samaritan is easily one of the darkest and most disturbing books I’ve read in a long time. After being unable to put down John Marrs’s uniquely suspenseful The One, I knew I wanted more of his writing in my life. The Good Samaritan is a vastly different novel and its subject matter isn’t for everyone, but I found myself just as unable to put down this story, fascinated by the train wreck of two people absolutely determined to destroy one another.

The first half of the novel takes its time in setting the stage, introducing us to Laura and Ryan and their motivations. My interest drifted at times, repulsed by Laura’s character and how emphasized it felt because of the slow pacing. But once the second half takes off, the pace and tension skyrocket through plenty of twists and turns leading up to a haunting finale. My jaw was on the floor several times, and I’m still not sure how I feel about that ending.

Laura is the sort of main character you don’t love to hate, you just flat-out hate. There’s little room for sympathy for someone who exploits the good intentions of a suicide hotline and actively walks people toward that final ledge rather than away from it. Nevertheless, I begrudgingly came to love how carefully Marrs unfolds her story so that the true magnitude of her unreliability as a narrator and the depths of her scheming don’t become clear until you’re already sucked into her web of deceit. And I was similarly impressed by how Marrs contorts Ryan into a character that isn’t easy to like, even next to someone as twisted as Laura. It’s chilling to see the uncomfortable lengths that both of them are willing to go to, driven by desperation, grief, and anger.

Even though I often found The Good Samaritan to be disturbing and hard to swallow, I have to say that I enjoyed this crazy novel. Obsession, manipulation, and the touch of unreliable narrators are present every single page. I’m quickly learning to expect the unexpected with John Marrs’s writing, and I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more of his work. In the meantime, if you give this one a shot, be sure to have a nice, light read on deck for afterwards. You’ll want it.

Warm thanks to Thomas & Mercer for providing me with a digital copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Author: Kaila

My name is Kaila, and I'm a bibliophile with a love of traveling and adventure. When I'm not buried in a book - preferably mysteries, thrillers, and fantasies - you'll find me at work as a software engineer or training as an amateur Muay Thai fighter ... no dull moments here!

12 thoughts on “Review: The Good Samaritan”

    1. We’re definitely on the same page when it comes to him, then 🙂 I love that they’re such different books, but they’re both uniquely twisty and suspenseful. I really can’t wait for his next book either! Thanks 🤗 Glad to hear you enjoyed both, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I am really curious about this one. The villain does sound so dark especially given how she gets her victims. The premise sounds very good and I am glad to see that you enjoyed it. I definitely need to read this title and The One. Great review, Kaila!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was definitely a lot darker than I’m used to, but I loved it & bet you would, too. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on John Marrs’s writing, whichever you’re able to get to first! Thanks, Diana 🙂


  2. I’m glad to see your review because I’ve seen some lower ratings recently. I’ve had this one on my shelf and plan to read it …not sure when though. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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