I am delighted and honoured to be kicking off the Blog Tour for John Marrs’ latest psychological thriller THE GOOD SAMARITAN published by Thomas & Mercer and available to download or purchase on 1 December 2017.
John Marrs is a freelance journalist based in London, England, who has spent the last 20 years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film and music for national newspapers and magazines.
He has written for publications including The Guardian’s Guide and Guardian Online; OK! Magazine; Total Film; Empire; Q; GT; The Independent; Star; Reveal; Company; Daily Star and News of the World’s Sunday Magazine.
His debut novel The Wronged Sons, was released in 2013 and in May 2015, he released his second book, Welcome To Wherever You Are.
In May 2017 came his third book, The One. It was chosen as the book of the month for BBC Radio 2’s Book Club.
The Wronged Sons was re-edited and re-released in July 2017 under a new title, When You Disappeared.
And his fourth book, The Good Samaritan, is set for release in November 2017.
About the Book: She’s a friendly voice on the phone. But can you trust her?
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.
To read my review of The Good Samaritan – click here
I asked John to write an exclusive piece for Compulsive Readers and here’s what he had to say:
I’m a thief.
I think all writers are. We cherry pick moments from our own lives, the lives of our family and friends and the people we work with. We steal locations, situations, predicaments, appearances, personality traits, loves and loathes and insert them into worlds we create in the pages of a book. The first you’ll know about it is when you read it.
My first novel, When You Disappeared, was based upon an anonymous letter written to the Family section of The Guardian. In it, a wife and mum explained to her missing husband what had happened to her and their children in the fifteen years since he vanished. In my book, I incorporated everything from my mum’s dressmaking skills to my father’s terminal cancer and my best friend’s house.
My second, Welcome To Wherever You Are, was loosely based on my backpacking experiences around America. The hostel location, half a dozen characters and even my friend Sean (who got to keep his name in the book) were all points of inspiration.
Then in The One, I stole my partner’s personal trainer, my physiotherapist, a TV reality star and an office close to where I work to tell the story.
But I didn’t realise just how much of a kleptomaniac I was until I began writing my latest psychological thriller, The Good Samaritan.
I’d just signed my first book deal in which publisher Thomas & Mercer required a re-write of When You Disappeared plus two brand new novels. I sent them 2,000 word treatment for a tense thriller that I was convinced would suit them down to the ground. However, the response was muted. While it wasn’t a ‘no’ it wasn’t the resounding ‘great idea John, get writing straight away!’ I’d hoped to hear either. It was back to the drawing board.
It was a few days later, when I was introduced to my friend’s new partner, that the idea for another story came to me. He casually slipped into the conversation that he volunteered for The Samaritans. For the benefit of non-British Compulsive Readers followers, it’s a free organisation that supports desperate people at their lowest ebb. Either in person or by helplines, it offers non-judgmental support, 24-hours a day for anyone who needs someone to listen.
It was fascinating hearing him talk about all aspects of his volunteering, and just how emotive it can be. On occasion, he had even remained on the line and listened while callers ended their lives. He had been the last voice they’d ever heard. What a weright of responsibility to carry on one’s shoulders.
His story haunted me for days afterwards, and I began to wonder if it might make the basis of a character for a novel, perhaps a volunteer worker for a different organisation who hears a person take their own life and is then is compelled to learn more about them.
Then I turned the idea on its head. What if the volunteer in my book was desperately flawed and actually encouraged people to die? And a relative of one of her victims discovered what she was doing and tracked her down?
I pitched the idea to my editor in just one line. ‘I love it,’ came the enthusiastic response.
Choosing such an emotive subject to write about like suicide a tricky one. While readers won’t bat an eyelid if, in a psychological or detective thriller, an innocent child is murdered or a woman is battered and raped, there is still something about the subjects of suicide and depression that are guaranteed to divide readers.
I hope that I have handled with sensitivity the aching sadness that prompts a person to want to die, and the crippling depression grief can bring. But I am fully prepared for this to be a divisive story.
As I write, I have almost finished my first draft of book five and will soon start to think about my sixth novel. And just so as you are aware, if we ever meet, don’t be surprised to find yourself immortalised in one of my stories one day.