"Theres something genuinely chilling and timeless about so-called ‘road crime."
Theres something genuinely chilling and timeless about so-called ‘road crime. Robberies, abductions, murders; offences that depend for their raison detre on the fact that they occur on lonely stretches of the open highway. A no-mans land where travellers are vulnerable and largely defenceless.
Society has been fascinated by such violence for centuries, whether it be the legend of highwayman Dick Turpin, murderously patrolling north Londons heathland for travellers gold, or Sawnie Bean, the cannibal who haunted Scotlands lonely Gretna-Stranraer ferry road for human flesh.
In The Samaritan, Mason Cross has tapped into our timeless dread of roadside assassins. In his scenario, we are on the dry, desert backroads of California. The mutilated body of a young woman is found in the Santa Monica mountains. Her car had broken down and the media swiftly dub her killer ‘the Samaritan – a sadist who preys on lone female drivers, in the guise of being their rescuer. In fact he is an efficient, ruthless and opportunistic predator.
LAPD detective Jessica Allen realises almost at once that shes seen this murderous pattern before – nearly three years ago, and on the other side of America. Gradually she comes to understand that The Samaritan has been active and undetected for at least ten years. His targets are always the same – lone women drivers who have broken down and are completely defenceless. Or are they? Wasnt one of his victims a middle-aged man?
All is confusion. There are no significant leads or traces. Jessicas investigation begins to stall practically before it has begun.
Which is where Carter Blake enters the picture.
"I really enjoyed the authors portrayal of the LAPD cop on the killers tail, Detective Jessica Allen, and her good-humoured sidekick Jonathan Mazzocco."
‘You need some help?
The guy wore a dark blue or green baseball cap with no logo, the brim pulled down so that three-quarters of his face was in blackness, with only a clean-shaven chin visible.
She swallowed and felt a chill that had nothing to do with her soaked clothing. She wasnt sure if it was the voice or the instinctive primal sense of unease that came from not being able to see his face properly, but all of a sudden she felt a strange urge to tell the driver that it was okay; shed wait for the next car.
But that wasnt an option. On a night like this, shed be stupid… no, crazy – to pass up the offer.
‘Yeah. She nodded. ‘Yeah, I really do need help.
And so it begins – or, rather, continues. This, our own first encounter with The Samaritan, is merely the latest in his personal ten-year campaign of roadside throat-slitting and sadism.
I really enjoyed the authors portrayal of the LAPD cop on the killers tail, Detective Jessica Allen, and her good-humoured sidekick Jonathan Mazzocco. They make a likeable pairing and when the mysterious Carter Blake volunteers his services to them, their initial suspicions of him are palpable and believable.
Who is this shadowy manhunter, Carter Blake? He seems to know so much about The Samaritan – but what is he? A former cop? Ex-military? Why does an FBI agent give him such a glowing reference (‘Id trust him with my life!)?
Youll have tremendous fun finding out.