Rating:

Reviewed by Marcus Hammond

Dale Sampson is an awkward, depressive, and confused young man who discovers he has the ability to regenerate tissue. The Samaritan follows Dale as he struggles with the uneasiness of early childhood through the confusion of finding a comfortable identity in adulthood.

As a young boy who is uncomfortable with his identity, Dale finds solace in any type of attention he can get. As a result of bullying, however, Dale is thrust into friendship with Mack, whom takes Dale under his wing. Mack’s brand of guidance comes in the form of lessons in how to score with girls and how to play baseball. Dale, however, prefers to hold onto a more chivalrous ideal.

In an event that would change the lives of everyone involved, Dale and Mack stumble upon another student raping a girl whom Dale had wanted to date. The rapist responds by committing suicide but not before he shoots all three, killing the girl and severely injuring both Dale and Mack.

As the dust settles from the tragic rape/murder/suicide Dale discovers he has an unexplainable ability to regenerate the fingers he lost. He eventually begins to test his power through self-mutilation and medical testing. Dale sees an upside to his gift, and decides to become a living organ bank. This, however, is not a selfless choice. In an attempt to reconnect with the love he felt for the murdered girl, Dale tries to get her twin sister to love him. She, however, wants nothing to do with Dale. This leads him to put his gift on display publicly by becoming the subject of a reality show, wherein he donates body parts to those who need them most. In doing this, Dale hopes the twin will see the good in him.

The Samaritan is odd to say the least. Dale’s superpower and subsequent selfish motivations represent a hyperbole for a growing list of those in need of organs and the struggle to make difficult choices. With that in mind though, there is no explanation for Dale’s superpower. It is hard to suspend disbelief enough to connect with the science fiction plot device.

The book is highly original and the prose is well written, but the plot devices and characters make The Samaritan a book for only the strictest of science fiction lovers.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 

After obtaining a Masters in Liberal Arts and Literature Marcus has dedicated most of his time to teaching English Composition for a community college in the Midwest. In his down time, he spends time avidly reading an eclectic selection of books and doing freelance writing whenever he gets the chance. He lives in Kansas with his wife.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Blank Slate Press. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.