I Dare You by Sam Carrington | Will I ever find a thriller I love?

I love books written in “now and then” style when each chapter brings us closer to THE day of the crime, and two realities – the future and the past, finally meet together and in a mere click, everything starts to make perfect sense. 

It’s been so difficult to find some new thrillers and mysteries that would really surprise me. I remember when I was younger, all I used to read were thrillers and all of them were amazing. Which prompted me to pick up more and more of the same genre. I don’t know if it’s the critical reader in me, and the need to review books that is lowering my excitement, or simply I can’t choose the right books for myself anymore

goodreads blurb:

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?


Thank you Netgalley and Avon Books UK for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own and not influenced by the company or its affiliates in any way.

«I Dare You» by Sam Carrington seemed like the perfect thriller for this time of the year – an eery small town in the middle of nowhere, the closed community of natives that would always guard their secrets, and a young woman going back to visit her mother just when she thought she was able to escape. 

But was it as suspenseful as I thought it would be?


1 – No matter how many issues I had with the story, it was still a fun and quick read. I powered through this 400-pages book in just under 6 hours, which is truly astonishing. And it was very easy to get into the story. The first half was exciting – Anna just came back to the village and all the old secrets and memories started to slowly emerge. The 30-years old tragic events never really left the village and affected everyone in a different way. 

I think I was expecting more thrills that we got, that’s why my mind started to wonder elsewhere noticing awkward dialogues and weirdly written plot lines.


1 – The dialogues often felt awkward and pulled me out of the story, when they are supposed to do the complete opposite. Especially the conversations between Anna and her mother, they seemed more like friends or companions than mother-daughter chats. I don’t mean by that the need to have a mother-daughter bond, but something about the dialogues didn’t make it feel as genuine as it was supposed to. 

2 – It’s difficult to care about the crime and the truth behind it when you don’t care for the characters. I felt very distant from the story. It was as if I was watching it all play out from above, not actually feeling myself a part of the story or the community. And the reason for that, in my case, was the narrative style. 

As I said previously, I love the “now and then” technique. However, in this book, we had too many points of view from now (2019) and from then (1989), so at the end, this writing method didn’t serve its purpose of unveiling the hidden facts, it was mere storytelling. 

3 – The plot wasn’t well thought through. The author had this main line of events and big twist ready and prepared, but the intentions of the characters kept switching during the story. She needed Lizzie to go on this trip from the very beginning, but Lizzie’s beliefs suddenly changed mid-book for no other reason than “I had this feeling”. 

Also no matter how hard the author tried to throw shade onto Lizzie and make her look guilty of some things that were taking place in the village, it never seemed plausible enough to raise that doubt in my head. 

My rating:

This is the first time I wish GoodReads would have half-star ratings. Because this book doesn’t really fall into the 3-star category of books that I liked but had issues, however, it also doesn’t fit with the 2-stars, which are mostly the books I didn’t like. 


Have you read any of Sam Carrington books? Which one was your favorite? 

Let me know in the comments below! 

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6 thoughts on “I Dare You by Sam Carrington | Will I ever find a thriller I love?

    1. Thank you! I got back into mysteries this year, mostly due to the amazing Agatha Christie novels. I’m trying to read (and re-read) all of her books. I even printed out the Miss Marple reading guide from the Agatha Christie website to follow it 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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