Sunday 29 December 2019

I Dare You by Sam Carrington @sam_carrington1 BLOG TOUR @AvonBooksUK #IDareYou #BookReview

Mapledon, 1989
Two little girls were out playing a game of dares. Only one returned home.
The ten-year-old told police what she saw: village loner Bill ‘Creepy’ Cawley dragged her friend into his truck and disappeared.
No body was found, but her testimony sent Cawley to prison for murder. An open and shut case, the right man behind bars.
The village could sleep safe once again.
Anna thought she had left Mapledon and her nightmares behind but a distraught phone call brings her back to face her past.
30 years ago, someone lied. 30 years ago, the man convicted wasn’t the only guilty party.
Now he’s out of prison and looking for revenge. The question is, who will he start with?

I Dare You by Sam Carrington was published in paperback by Avon on 12 December 2019. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review and who invited me to take part on this Blog Tour

I have been a fan of Sam Carrington's books ever since she published her debut; Saving Sophie, in August 2016. I've read every one of her books and reviewed them all here on Random Things. I've always enjoyed her intelligent writing and her perfectly created characters. 

I can safely say that I Dare You is her very best book yet. It's a story that grabs the reader and drags them into the story with a very tense prologue set in 1989. 
Chapter One introduces us to Anna, in 2019 and the novel continues in this vein. Short, snappy and electrifying chapters, alternating between 1989 and 2019, and narrated in the main, by Anna and Lizzie; two complex yet compelling female characters who you never quite trust to tell the truth. 

Thirty years ago, when the prologue is set, the children of Mapledon village found their greatest excitement by playing Knock Knock Ginger; knocking on doors and then running away. Their main target was 'Creepy' Billy Cawley; a young widower, father of a small girl himself, and an outsider. The only reason that he's the target of those kids is because they've listened to the adults around them. Mapledon is one of those small, insular villages, where anyone who cannot trace their village heritage for hundreds of years is treated with suspicion.

When Jonie; ten-years-old and one of the keenest players of Knock Knock Ginger disappears, it is her friend's witness statement that sees Billy Cawley imprisoned. Jonie's body was never found.

Billy Cawley has served his sentence and is now a free man. There are many people in Mapledon who would prefer that he was never talked of, and will do their very best to keep long-held secrets.

Anna and Lizzie have their own parts to play out. Both of them left Mapledon many years ago, but both of them are drawn back to their childhood homes, but for very different reasons.

The author excels in character building, and in I Dare You, the village of Mapledon is a character too. Her depiction of this small, tight-knit village, populated by generations of the same families, with the same secrets, nursing the same fears is brilliantly done. It's certainly not a place that I'd like to visit; with a village shop full of gossip and scandal, and an assortment of, mainly female characters who wouldn't be out of place in the most sordid of soap opera scenes.

I really enjoyed the short chapters, nipping back and forth, slowly drip feeding the reader with clues, and it has to be said; a few red herrings along the way too. It's extremely cleverly constructed and throws up question after surprise after reveal, all the way through.

This is an intense, clever and engrossing psychological thriller that kept me turning the pages frantically throughout.  Atmospheric with flawed characters that really do chill.

Sam Carrington lives in Devon with her husband, two border terriers and a cat. 
She has three adult children and a new grandson! 
She worked for the NHS for fifteen years, during which time she qualified as a nurse. 
Following the completion of a psychology degree she went to work for the prison service as an Offending Behaviour Programme Facilitator. 
Her experiences within this field inspired her writing. 
She left the service to spend time with her family and to follow her dream of being a novelist. SAVING SOPHIE, her debut psychological thriller, published in September 2016. It became a Kindle eBook bestseller, with the paperback hitting The Bookseller Heatseeker chart at #8. 
Sam was named an Amazon Rising Star of 2016. 
Her second psychological thriller, BAD SISTER, published in 2017 followed by ONE LITTLE LIE in July 2018. THE MISSING WIFE was published in June 2019 and I DARE YOU  on 12th December 2019.

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