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BLOG TOUR! THE GOOD SAMARITAN by JOHN MARRS

The Good Samaritan

 

I’m thrilled, honoured and most privileged to be here on Day 2 of the Blog Tour of The Good Samaritan by John Marrs. Thanks have to go to Tracy Fenton of THE Book Club, not only for inviting me, but also for creating a truly amazing online haven and marvellous home from home for any discerning book lover and author stalker.

 

 

 

THE BOOK …

Thank goodness for those Good Samaritans who you know you can call when you have absolutely nobody else to talk to (here in South Africa, you call LifeLine). You know they’re there to listen with a non-judgemental ear, and gentle encouragement. And after sharing your problems, even if you’ve been offered no solutions, you just feel better.

For some though, there really is no way out and they feel there’s only one option and that’s when they call End of the Line. Here again, there’s no judgement just people to listen without questioning your choices.

But then there’s Laura … she has an entirely different agenda.

Laura’s a master at the art of illusion. She appears perfectly normal: your typically warm, caring wife and mom who’s content with her life. Someone who has it all and wants to give back to others by volunteering for those in need. She looks after her colleagues, remembering birthdays, names of family members and their ailments and allergies. Is anyone really that ‘lovely’? Doesn’t she seem just a teeny bit too good to be true?

Only one of the End of the Line team isn’t quite taken in by Laura. But that’s OK. Laura knows how to handle her. Because Laura is extremely clever, exceptionally devious, and has excess time on her hands, which seems strange for someone with a family at home to look after, doesn’t it?

The thing is with such clever people, they always think they’ve got everything worked out absolutely perfectly. They assume everyone else is beneath them, that nobody’s quite as clever as them and that they’ll never get caught. And that’s when they take things just that step too far. People forget: someone will always outwit you!

Once again, John Marrs presents his readers with a dark and complex main protagonist.

John Marrs

John Marrs himself!

It becomes clear quite early on that Laura is beset by demons, but exactly who or what these are is not quickly revealed. In true Marrs style, we are made to wait patiently … ok, not patiently at all!! We are forced to read into the wee hours, alternately turning pages (or swiping them, in the case of kindle readers) and biting nails, anxiously desperate to race to the conclusion. And then disappointed with ourselves, because it’s over, and we should have made it last just a little longer because now we’ll have to wait a while for John’s next cracker of a book!!

This is the emotional roller-coaster that The Good Samaritan will take you on. It delves into the emotional and psychological questions of why, when people are at their lowest, most hopeless ebb, they would choose to pick up the phone and call a faceless stranger, and shows the level of vulnerability that person has reached and how easily they can be manipulated.

How do you know that person really has your best interests at heart? What lies behind that soothing voice on the end of the line? How do you know they aren’t going to say the wrong thing, something that might just be the trigger you don’t need to send you over that proverbial edge? They really do have your life in their hands. The moral implications are huge, but when you’ve reached a level of despondency where you feel that you’re so wretchedly irredeemable, that doesn’t occur to you, just as it doesn’t occur to Laura but for entirely different reasons.

Hearing how John describes himself (and basically all authors) as a ‘thief’, reminded me specifically of Jodi Picoult (yes John, I think I’m comparing you to Jodi Picoult!). When she visited South Africa a few years ago, at one of her public appearances, someone asked ‘that’ question: “Where do you get your ideas from?” She replied that her ideas were often sparked by those tiny, obscure articles that you find (or maybe you don’t), tucked away in an almost un-readable little block around page 11 of the newspaper. She’d read these little tidbits of random information, that most people classified as newsless, and she’d think, “What if …?” and then ‘whammo!’ … another bestseller!!

John’s books have become bestsellers. From initially self-publishing his books to now having a publishing deal with Thomas & Mercer, he’s living the author dream, but not without a ton of damn hard work, and not a small amount of stalking by a certain small group of (carefully selected) individuals known as the John Marrs Groupies – of which I am a proud member!!

 

 

 

The Good Samaritan 1

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02/11/2017 · 08:51

BOOK REVIEW – The Liberation by Kate Furnivall

the-liberationKate Furnivall is known for her sweeping, epic novels and The Liberation will not disappoint those who’ve loved her previous books.

Set in a post WWII Italy that is struggling to find itself and regain some of its former glory, Furnivall artfully depicts what it must have been like to live in a post-war era. While one would imagine that once the war was over, things slowly got back to normal, the reality was very far from this. There is so much to wade through in order for the country to truly move forward, and this is what the author focuses on.

Caterina Lombardi’s family are a shattered shell. First her mother left them eleven years earlier, to run off with a man from a rival family (it’s Italy remember, they love and hate with equal passion); then two years earlier her father was killed when his woodworking workshop was bombed. She has been left to look after her blind grandfather and her younger brother, Luca. Thankfully her father passed on his carving skills and knowledge to Caterina and she’s able to create beautiful wood articles to sell in order to make a little money for them to survive on.

It is through her craft that she meets two soldiers, British Harry Fielding, and American Jake Parr, and discovers that although they primarily appear to merely be part of the Allied forces in Italy to help the country regain its footing, they’re actually intelligence officers on a much more disturbing mission.

What follows is an intricate and convoluted tale of corruption, greed, intrigue, deception and conspiracy in which Caterina must clear her late father’s name and uncover the truth about Italy’s stolen artworks. With Furnivall’s talent for descriptive narrative, we’re able to picture it all against a magnificent Italian backdrop that is still beautiful, despite being ravaged by war.

The cast of characters is quite a heavily populated one and it did take me some time to figure out who was who. But everyone is well defined. I had some difficulty with Caterina’s brother Luca, who at just 11 years old seemed to act far older than this, even when one took the effects of the war into account.

If you’re looking for something fast-paced then I wouldn’t suggest this. Even though it has that element of mystery, it’s quite drawn out and because of the extensive narrative the action tends to lose some of its impact.

However, for fans of this genre and author I’d highly recommend this. I give it a 3.5 to 4 star rating – because there are no half stars, I’m going the 4 star route!

My thanks to the author and TBC Reviewer Request Group (on FB) for my copy of this in return for an honest review.

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