What happens when a loner tries to redeem himself with his newfound ability--the ability to regenerate body parts? We review Fred Venturini's engrossing debut.

The Samaritan by Fred Venturini

The Samaritan begins when Dale Sampson is in the sixth grade. Girls don’t talk to him. And when the school baseball star, Mack, decides to befriend Dale, Dale earns an air of mystique—but he remains luckless when it comes to the opposite sex. Later in high school, when Dale is about to graduate, when it seems he may finally win the girl of his dreams, those dreams are shattered.

So when he discovers that he can regenerate his body parts, he decides that if he can’t improve his own life, he’ll put his regenerative powers to save others—starting with the twin sister of his dream girl, the sister who married an abusive husband.

A strong, honest voice
The Samaritan is written from the first-person perspective, and Dale lays out his life and feelings with such raw and brutal honesty that even if you don’t like him, you understand him, you trust him, you sympathize with him. So when Dale thinks the unthinkable, instead of believing him a villain, you instead see what dark thoughts can result from the hope of love after a long lack of human contact. And you forgive him because sometimes even your own mind can betray you. Forgiveness is more than Dale can grant himself, however, so he decides to seek redemption.

A difficult journey
The Samaritan captures small town life—the friendships that grow from self-congratulation that end up holding together because of self-pity, the dreams that turn into hopelessness, the great beyond revealing itself as nothing more than another trapped existence.  Then there’s life, of course, that pitcher who won’t stop throwing curve balls. As much as Dale knows he’s never going to be normal, he keeps striving to be special on his own terms. But life has other plans.

A story about human connections
For a loner like Dale, his supernatural power is the only thread connecting him to others. As he exploits this connection, he manages to distance himself even further. His journey, which consists of effort after effort to claw his way back from the dark pit of guilt and despair, is a fascinating and powerful one, but it is not for the faint of heart—I must warn readers that this book does contain a violent rape scene.

Why should you read this book?
This is an extremely strong debut, and with Venturini’s insights into human nature and smart writing style, it’s easy to see why the budding Blank Slate Press chose Venturini as one of its flagship authors. Who knows how many books it will take for Venturini to garner the attention he deserves, but why not say you knew him when? Pick up a copy of The Samaritan and find out for yourself.

Win a copy of the book!
Thanks to everyone who entered this giveaway. The lucky winner is Heather J. from Florida, U.S.A. Congratulations!

Benni received a review copy courtesy of Blank Slate Press and TLC Book Tours.

About Benni Amato

Benni was born in a theater playing Star Wars, and has loved science fiction and fantasy ever since. She did go through a non-fiction phase, but now that her 50-70-hour/week job keeps her plenty occupied with non-fiction, she escapes when she can into the world of fantasy. Though clinically cleared of ADHD, Benni requires constant engagement, whether through good pacing, character development, or world-building. And while she would like to believe that she has more discerning taste than a child, she considers herself otherwise a good measure of whether a book will hold a child’s attention and do well if the movie rights are sold.

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  1. Thanks for the thoughtful review. I’ll keep an eye on comments if anyone wants to discuss the novel, or writing, or maybe even the weather. I’m easy to find on Facebook and Twitter (@fredventurini). Thanks again,


  2. Great review- I like the format! Thank you so much for being on the tour and taking time to tell your readers about The Samaritan!

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