Book Review: The Good Samaritan by John Marrs

This was my Kindle First choice for November, and boy am I glad I chose it! From the moment it opened, with a couple of total strangers meeting for the first time to walk hand-in-hand over the edge of a cliff, plummeting to their deaths, I was instantly hooked.

Laura is a housewife who volunteers for an organisation called End of the Line, which provides a listening ear for those in distress. Many of the people who call End of the Line are just that – at the end of their line – and suicide seems like the only option. As somebody who has been there, I could definitely emphasise with the type of person who would call such a helpline. Volunteers to the helpline however are not expected to give advice to the callers, or even talk them out of their suicidal thoughts. They are only there to listen, in the hope that the caller will eventually talk themselves into a better place.

Which brings us to Laura, who is not your regular helpline volunteer. Her sole purpose, it would seem, is to encourage people to commit suicide, and to be on the line to hear their last breath. It is an obsession of hers. Yes, Laura is one sick and twisted individual, and one that also suffers from a great deal of self-delusion. At the beginning, she certainly seems to be the one in control, and is responsible for the cliff-top dual-suicide. But as the story proceeds, it becomes evident that all is not as it seems in Laura’s world.

Ryan is a widower, having just lost his pregnant wife Charlotte after she jumped off a cliff in an apparent suicide pact with a complete stranger. Angry, confused and grieving, Ryan decides to investigate his wife’s last weeks and discovers a number of calls to a suicide helpline, End of the Line. He eventually tracks down Laura and, realising that Charlotte had not planned her suicide alone, sets out the exact revenge.

And so starts a cat and mouse game between Ryan and Laura, told from both POV’s. Things get messier and messier, and both of their worlds start to unravel drastically, with fatal consequences.

I really enjoyed this book. The title was a tad misleading as there was very little good about this Good Samaritan. I was fascinated to learn more about Laura’s life and family – she really is a repulsive character, a sociopath of the first degree, but also extremely compelling to read. And some of her caustic observations about her co-workers were laugh out loud amusing.

I have given this a well-deserved 4 stars on Goodreads.

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