A question for Will: How the actual **insert expletive of choice here** am I supposed to review this brilliant, twisted, warped, important and at times gut-wrenching tale?
All the links you need to buy are available at Orenda Books.
During the blog tour for Good Samaritans earlier in the year it was suggested by a number of people, including my learned colleague Mart over at the Beardy Book Blogger, that reviewing this book is a near impossibility. They were right.
There is very little I can say about the plot beyond what is printed on the back of the book without risking spoilers. Nonetheless here goes. Good Samaritans follows Seth Beauman, Seth can’t sleep, and when Seth can’t sleep, he calls people at random in the hope of making a connection. The story follows one such connection and the events that follow. Populated by a captivating group of characters each with their own voice and motivations, each of the short chapters is told from a single viewpoint, and even though each chapter is simply numbered the myriad voices, written with great clarity, that Will Carver has created make it really clear who is guiding you through each part of the tale.
Will Carver’s phenomenal ability with prose is clear from the outset, a skill utilised to great effect, without ever slipping into the trap of “look at all the big words I know” that certain famous authors sometimes fall prey too. Will uses naturalistic tones throughout, which actually makes some of the twists that more shocking, in particular the coldness that occasionally comes through.
Trust is the central theme that came through for me, and being careful with where you place it. Also an underlying important message about mental health issues plays throughout the story, their perception in the wider world and how loneliness isn’t always obvious and can lead to desperate circumstances. Great fiction should allow you to empathise with experiences outside of your own and in doing so widen your world view, Will Carver achieves this in Good Samaritans, really getting inside the motivations and feelings of his characters.
I couldn’t review this book without talking about the sex and violence. There is a quote on the cover comparing it to Fight Club – they’re not talking about adding extra frames to movies! This is an adult book, the violence is graphic and the sex is raw and rough. What makes this remarkable though is at no time does either one feel pornographic or gratuitous, they are fundamental elements of the story being told, you couldn’t get into the psyche of the characters without them. To take them out, or even scale them back would fundamentally change the nature of the book.
Good Samaritans is a great example of what indie crime is all about, almost unmarketable in the mainstream but finding an audience amongst those more willing to take a chance on a trusted publisher. Whilst Will Carver has composed a tale clearly not for the faint of heart, this skillfully written and expertly constructed novel is a highly recommended thriller.