What’s it all about?:
When the mutilated body of a young woman is discovered in the Santa Monica Mountains, LAPD Detective Jessica Allen knows this isn’t the work of a first-time killer.
She’s seen this MO before – two and a half years ago on the other side of the country. Allen begins to dig deeper and soon uncovers a terrifying truth. A sadistic serial killer has been operating undetected for the past decade, preying on lone female drivers who have broken down. The press dub the killer ‘the Samaritan’, but with no leads and a killer who leaves no traces, the police investigation quickly grinds to a halt.
That’s when Carter Blake shows up to volunteer his services. He’s a skilled manhunter with an uncanny ability to predict the Samaritan’s next moves. At first, Allen and her colleagues are suspicious. After all, their new ally shares some uncomfortable similarities to the man they’re tracking.
But as the Samaritan takes his slaughter to the next level, Blake is forced to reveal that the similarities between the two men are closer than even Allen suspects. With time running out and an opponent who knows all of his tricks, Blake must find a way to stop the Samaritan …even if it means bringing his own past crashing down on top of him.
What did WE think?:
CHRISSI: You read a lot of crime fiction. How does this book compare?
BETH: I certainly do, although less than I used to as at one time I used to read it almost exclusively and kind of over-dosed a bit on it I think! I also found everything was becoming a bit “samey,” although I expect it’s quite difficult to come up with something completely original. As to how the book compares, I don’t think it’s the best crime fiction I’ve ever read but it’s by far not the worst! Generally, I really liked the characters and the plot captured my attention in a way that made me really want to know what was going to happen next.
BETH: One of the lead characters in The Samaritan is strong-willed detective Jessica Allen. How well did you think Mason Cross tapped into the female mind?
CHRISSI: I think Mason Cross did a good job of tapping into the female mind. I liked that she was a strong-willed and clever. Mason Cross made Jessica incredibly easy to like. I appreciate that! I do have to admit though, with her being referred to as Allen a lot, sometimes I had to remind myself that she was female!
CHRISSI: What do you think of Carter Blake – hero or flawed man?
BETH: For me, Carter Blake is definitely one of the good guys. He has somewhat of a murky past as we find out in the novel, and we don’t really find out too much about his past in any great detail (perhaps there is more to be revealed later on in the series?) but he is a hero for sure. For me, it makes a story all the more believable if a character has some flaws – after all, no-one is perfect, right? In the past he may have made some bad decisions and may even make a couple of wrong turns during this particular novel but he has so much good in him that makes up for his (very few) flaws!
BETH: Did you have a favourite character in this novel and why?
CHRISSI: I didn’t really connect with the characters as much as I wanted to. That’s not to say they weren’t great characters. I just didn’t connect with them. If I had to choose a favourite character it would probably be Carter Blake, mainly because I found him quite fascinating to read about.
CHRISSI: Discuss the idea of good and evil in the novel.
BETH: Ooh, good question! In The Samaritan, there is not such a clear cut between good and evil. Take the title for example, I’m sure we all know the definition of a good samaritan as being a person that goes out of their way to help somebody else with no real personal gain to themselves. Now, our bad guy in this novel is deemed The Samaritan by the police as his M.O. seems to be helping stricken young women with car trouble. This is obviously an ironic title in itself considering he ends up bumping them off! As a reader I also found myself quite dubious when Carter Blake first shows up. He is a bit of a maverick with an interesting past as I’ve already mentioned and as I haven’t read the first book in the series, I was unsure at the beginning of his motives in taking on The Samaritan case like our lead detective, Jessica. I don’t want to say too much more for fear of spoilers but I found myself wondering whether there is any truth in the statement “born evil,” compared to “learning evil.”
BETH: Were you surprised by the various twists and turns in this novel?
CHRISSI: I was. I enjoy good twists and turns in a novel. I like to be kept on my toes and to be kept guessing about what might happen next. I felt like the twists and turns kept the pace fast and certainly kept me as a reader, turning the pages. I was eager to find out how everything would unravel.
CHRISSI: Did it matter to you that this book was a further book in a series that you haven’t read?
BETH: Hmm. I think you might know the answer to this question already…YES! I’m afraid I’m a bit obsessive compulsive over wanting to read things in order but that’s purely a personal preference. It’s quite silly really as I don’t see any reason why this book can’t be read as a stand-alone. In some ways, perhaps it’s a bonus as I wasn’t familiar with the character of Carter Blake which made trusting him that little bit more interesting.
BETH: Would you read another book by this author? Does this book make you want to read the first in the series?
CHRISSI: I’m not sure. I don’t really enjoy this genre as a regular read and only like to dip in and out of it. I don’t think I enjoyed it enough to read the first book in the series. That’s not to say the writing or the book is bad, it just wasn’t my type of read. I think fans of the genre will lap it up!
Would WE recommend it?:
BETH: But of course!
BETH’S star rating (out of 5):
CHRISSI’s star rating (out of 5):