I Dare You

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 09 Jan 2020

Member Reviews

A heart chilling book that had me turning page after page as I wanted to know what happened. 

I was shocked as I didn’t expect the twist of this book! The build up was expertly written and I simply loved the style of writing. There was suspense and intrigue throughout the book. I also found it slightly heartbreaking that things like that could happen.

Makes me weary about small villages and what goes on!
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Sam Carrington's style is not necessarily one that I would usually relish in other authors and while her previous one "The Missing Wife" was rather slow burning but it packed a punch by the end, I was still a little dubious going in with this one. I need not have feared...I DARE YOU was five star brilliant!!

I generally do not enjoy slow burn thrillers. I would rather they reel me in from the first page and get to the point to keep that ride going. However, despite being a slow build in her writing style, Carrington still manages to do all that - reel me in from the beginning, dropping little snippets through to keep me interested whilst building up to the inevitable climax. And what a climax it was!!!

1989: Two 10 year old girls, Jonie and Bella, are playing the childhood game "Knock Knock Ginger" (which here in Australia we call "Knock and Run") on the local weirdo of Mapledon village they cruelly call "Creepy Cawley". They aren't the only ones to play. In fact, the entire village children at one time or another are playing the same game, knocking on the same door, playing their childish pranks on the same man over and over again. 

Until one day...the prank goes horribly wrong. The two girls go out to play and only one returns. She was last seen getting into Creepy Cawley's truck and never seen again. Her body was never found and the village was never the same again. 

Billy Cawley, the subject of these games and pranks, was never going to fit in with the "Stepford wives" village of Mapledon and when his wife died, it only got worse. He became a recluse, seen as the local misfit. The local kids tormented him relentlessly. Even his young daughter Eliza was deemed weird with her perverse pleasure of dismembering her dolls. 

The local village women banded together to rid Mapledon of the Cawleys. So sure were they that Billy was abusing his 8 year old daughter Eliza, that they called in social services and had her removed from his care. And then Jonie went missing. And all eyes turned to Creepy Cawley... He pleaded guilty to abducting and murdering Jonie Hayes and was given a 30 year prison sentence.

2019: In the thirty years since the tragedy that shook the village, Mapledon hasn't changed. There are secrets that have been buried for far too long, simmering beneath the surface, whispered behind closed doors...if at all. But now people are on edge. Because Billy Cawley is out on licence and the village of Mapledon awaits to see if he has the audacity to return to his home that has sat empty since his arrest 30 years ago.

The gossip that had tongues a-wagging 30 years ago is once again alive and well as villagers question what's to come. Will Billy Cawley return and exact revenge on those he deemed responsible for putting him away? Will he disclose the whereabouts of Jonie's body so her mother Tina can at last have some closure? The village is filled with anxiety, fear and even guilt.

It's been twenty years since Anna left the toxic atmosphere that was Mapledon. But now, at the request of her mother Muriel, she returns home. Someone has been tormenting Muriel, leaving dismembered doll parts nailed to her door with frightening messages alluding to the fact that Muriel knows something. Within a couple of days, her mother's erratic behaviour leads Anna to believe that she is in fact keeping secrets. So Anna endeavours to search for the truth.

Lizzie is a journalist married to Dom. Upon receiving a letter notifying her of Billy Cawley's release, she decides to return to Mapledon to seek out answers to her childhood. Although she knows she had lived in the village a long time ago, she has no real memories of that time but hopes upon her return they will begin to come back to her. But her journey is also one of truth. And it isn't long before she discovers that Mapledon isn't keen on sharing the truth with outsiders.

Anna and Lizzie team up in their search for answers, each wary of the other and wondering whether they can really trust the other. When each woman's true identity is revealed, both women are shocked while at the same time realisation dawning as to the sense it all actually makes. They both begin to question each other's motives while at the same time Anna questions her mother's role in it all.

One thing is abundantly clear...Mapledon has a toxic undercurrent simmering below its surface, reminding Anna why she escape the clutches of the poisonous village two decades ago. 

But Mapledon is also a village that will stop at nothing to protect its own. Anything to protect its children. So many secrets, so many lies, so much manipulation and deceit. The truth is somewhere in between. 

And Anna and Lizzie will stop at nothing to reveal it...whatever the cost.

WOW! If I had one word to describe I DARE YOU, it would be that. It starts out as one thing and ends as something not too far removed while at the same time being completely different. The toxicity in that village was so noxious I'm surprised anyone could breathe!

Told from several perspectives back and forth from 1989 to the present day, I DARE YOU is very easy to follow. The dual timelines are woven together seamlessly with a tension that is palpable throughout. Anna and Lizzie are the main narrators that bring us to the penultimate climax...and what a climax it is!! It just keeps on giving...and just when you think you have all the answers there is still even more to come. Normally the tension builds to a climax that is over within a chapter...this one kept going and going and going with many more reveals.

A slow burner initially, I DARE YOU does pull you in from the beginning and I think it's the short snappy chapters that keep the story moving at a steady pace despite its slow build. Sam Carrington has a way of weaving her stories like that in such a way it doesn't feel as if you are reading a slow burner. The twists are misleading, enlightening and confusing all at once as the pressure builds.

While the overall theme appears to be how far will you go to protect your children and yourselves, I DARE YOU is rife with manipulation, lies and secrets that would suffocate any normal person should they happen upon Mapledon. How can a village steeped in so much poison find peace? And when the truth is revealed, what then? Can all those involved move on and find their own peace? Will justice be served? I'm not sure justice was served in the end, but it left you pondering what may or may not happen. As well as the mystery of who? I have my suspicions...but who knows? It was a bit of a loose end leading us to an unknown conclusion. I guess it was subjective to the reader.

The question that remains...was Billy Cawley guilty or innocent? You will need to read the book to find out! I dare you...you won't be sorry!

I would like to thank #SamCarrington, #NetGalley and #AvonUK for an ARC of #IDareYou in exchange for an honest review.
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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.
Now…
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?

There's nothing like a small village for keeping secrets, and Mapledon is no stranger to that.  Some thirty years ago, Jonie Hayes disappeared after playing a game of Knock, Knock, Ginger with her best friend Bella.  Her body is never found, but Bella tells the police that she saw Jonie being taken away by the local wierdo Bill Cawley.  He pleads guilty to her disappearance and is sent down for murder but now he has been released and is desperate to find out what really happened as both he, and others in Mapledon know he isn't the killer. 

Bella (now going by the name of Anna) returns to Mapledon at the request of her mother who has been experiencing some threatening behaviour of late that has left her a little scared.  Anna isn't keen to return to the home she grew up in but she knows that her mother needs her.  Whilst she is there she meets Lizzie, a journalist, who also has a connection to the area; one that she is keeping close to her chest.  As the book progresses, it seems that there is more than one person who has some idea of what happened to little Jonie, but it's anyone's guess as to what actually happened and who was responsible.

The book flits back and forth over the thirty year period filling the reader in on the characters of Bella and Jonie as children and of what the village was like in 1989.  Many of the residents still live there though friendships have both ended and grown since the night Jonie vanished.  It would seem that there are many regrets and lies having been told, but someone in Mapledon seems to have figured out just what occurred, and is hoping that the killer will finally admit what happened so that Jonie can be laid to rest.  Sam Carrington puts in lots of twist and turns to keep you guessing 'whodunnit' throughout the book.  It kept me hooked to the very last page!
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I don't know what to think about this book - as the atmosphere was really doing the thing, but characters were such strange sometimes like the mother-daughter relationship was non-existent like made into some strange exchange of sentences that was more appropriate in the position of two women that were the same age.
Thirty years ago, a tragedy happened, now that the convict is out of prison a village is in the uproar with that info. Now, a lot of things will be put in motion so nothing can be sure - be always cautious of everything that is going on in such a small village. A tight spider web of lies will be threatened but will it survive the storm that is coming?
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A very good mystery/ thriller.  While not an original story line, Sam Carrington has packed enough of the misguided actions of the past into the story of revenge and retribution that I was very much engrossed in the characters and their reactions.  The story moves pretty quickly, with enough references to past actions that you THINK you know what will happen next.  Surprises are in store for everyone.  Great read.
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I Dare You is a compelling addictive read told between 1989 and the present day.  
In 1989 a young girl goes missing in the close knit community of Mapledon and straightaway fingers point at Billy Creepy Crawley who is subsequently imprisoned for 30 years.  When he is released on licence the old secrets and lies of the village are slowly uncovered.  I loved the characters and found them very believable.  This book is full of twists and turns which I loved and it kept me guessing right to the end. 
Thanks to Avon Books UK for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review.
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I Dare You is a suspenseful, slow burning thriller that had me turning the pages as fast as I could to see who the murderer was in this fab whodunnit.
Anna has returned to her childhood home, she has come to see her mother and suspects she is suffering from dementia but as the days go by she realises it’s not dementia at all. Anna’s childhood friend was murdered when she was ten years old, the weird bloke who was a village outsider was convicted for this awful crime and served thirty years. Thirty years is now up and strange things are happening to Anna’s mums house, is it Bill Cawley the man that is now free from prison or is it someone else having a laugh at their expense, either way it’s someone that seems to know more than Anna.
This was a fab thriller, I have read other books by Sam Carrington before and enjoyed them so I kind of hoped I’d be on to a winner and I was! Dark, suspenseful and thrilling from the beginning to the end.
I would like to thank Netgalley and Avon Books UK for this ARC I received in exchange for an honest review.
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I Dare You is that interesting blend of past and present and as the two time frames start to collide so long buried secrets start to be revealed. However, the journey to this final reveal is convoluted and complex and filled with lots of twists and turns. In the present we meet up with Anna and Lizzie, two young women who have more than enough going on in their private lives but when they inadvertently meet in the small village of Mapledon in rural Devon, the reasons for their return to this place of childhood memories becomes chillingly apparent as the story progresses.

The village itself is a major character in the novel, not least because all of the action takes place there but also because it shields a mystery which happened a long time ago and which continues to hold a shadow over those who call Mapledon home.

The author writes this type of psychological suspense really well and allows just enough tension to pervade without losing sight of the individual personalities of the main players. There are some fascinating characters particularly the shadowy 'Creepy Crawley' around whom the plot circles. I enjoyed watching how the story unfolded, and particularly enjoyed reading the short snappy chapters, and the way in which both past and present were clearly defined without muddling the story with unnecessary detail.

I Dare You is a clever psychological suspense story in which a definite air of creepiness pervades. It looks at the power of childhood memories and of those long buried family secrets which once exposed can never be forgotten.
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This was my first read by Carrington and I will certainly be reading more! This was a fast-paced intense read that kept me guessing throughout - there are some triggering issues raised, but these are handled well. This was also a cautionary tale of the idea of mob hysteria and guilt being presumed. A gripping, interesting read.
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I dare you - Sam Carrington

Thank you to @netgalley and @harpercollinsuk for this ARC


Oh dear... Where do I even begin??
This book got me so wrapped up in it that I lost sense of time... I realised I read around 40 chapters last night and stayed up until 2 am...
I must admit, at first, the short chapters and jumping from a character to character and through time, I thought I'd get lost in it all... But after a couple of chapters I got a hang of it and really started to enjoy this book.
Anna and Lizzie return to their hometown of Mapledon, each for a different reason but both trying to find the truth - what happend to Jonie 30 years ago?? And will their and the secrets of the village stay hidden, or resurface to destroy the lives they'd known???
Really good written book, it kept me guesing who was really guilty if the crime... I loved how the author described the characters and the mentality of people in small villages towards strangers (not to generalise, of course!) and how much harm gossip can make!!

I gave this book 4 stars only because the last couple of sentences left me thinking like somehow the story's not really finished?! If there is going to be a sequel I'll definitely read it... Also I'm now on the hunt for the rest of Sams books
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This was a great book by a new author. The story was very well written, and the characters were easy to follow along with. I enjoyed the story and would enjoy reading more by this author. Thanks for the opportunity to read and review this book. I recommend it.
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This was a great read, took me a bit my surprise! It was a bit difficult to keep up with the various story lines as they switched from past to present, but once you got the hang of it, it was a bit easier. This book was suspenseful, twisty, and unexpected! Would definitely recommend.
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This book was a real page-turner and kept me hooked throughout. The author really captured the small-minded characters of the rural village beautifully and had me feeling very angry with them.  
A great story and I will definitely read more from this author.
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A book that is so cleverly written that you lose the entire day to just get to the end! 

We all remember the creepy man from our childhoods, the one everyone knew stories about but are any of them true, probably not, but the stories live on. 

A little girl goes missing and she is seen getting into the truck of Bill ‘creepy’ Cawley. Whilst no body was ever found, Bill had been in prison for 30 years and recently released... he wants revenge, he is innocent and wants the truth to be known.

The book tells the story of two little girls who go out to play a game of dares, only one returns. The village these girls lived in is not all it seems, quite from the idyllic setting and as we go on a run of plot twists, turns and surprises, well essentially it leaves you gripped wanting more!
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Another superb book and one that lovers of this genre will devour speedily because it has a tense, tightly written plot with plenty of did she/did he/how/why questions that tumble about in your mind upon reading from the very beginning.
Based on a childhood game in the 80s where Joni and friend Bella, amongst other children, knocked and run away repeatedly from Creepy Cawley's bungalow in the close knit village community of Mapledon, this story follows the lives of the village inhabitants 30 years on from a crime that saw Joni abducted and killed.
Bill Cawley is released after 30 years in prison and everyone is expecting him to return to the village.
The right man was arrested and served his time, so why is everyone so on edge?
Maybe things weren't quite as clear cut as everyone would like them to believe?
With devastating consequences the event is replayed and the role different villagers played in what happened slowly revealed with twists and shocks that are heartbreaking.
Prejudice, deception, memories and lies weave in and out to turn what should have been an angel of protection into a monster of destruction.
Will anybody's lives ever be the same again?
Enjoyed this so much I will definitely be reading Sam Carrington's other books.
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Two little girls playing dares but only one comes back. As an adult she returns to her childhood home hoping to find out what really happened only to find almost everyone in the village is telling lies and has something to hide.
I feel the characters are well portrayed and with the many twists and turns this is a compelling read.
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This is a completely gripping and addictive book.

The story is told from Anna’s and Lizzie’s viewpoints. I had no idea at the start what connection these characters had to the events of thirty years ago. As the story develops, we find out more, but I still wasn’t prepared for the many twists and turns of the plot.

The plot flicks back and forth between the present day and the past, giving tantalising hints of what happened, then snapping back to the current events. It makes for absolutely page turning, compelling reading.

I found myself liking both characters, and even though Billy was convicted of the murder, liking what we saw of him too. I felt sure that there was more than meets the eye to this murder and several times I thought I had it solved, but I was completely wrong!

The setting is rather creepy, this seemingly perfect village, but with a dark undertone.

A really suspenseful and chilling story, absolutely gripping and engrossing. Highly recommended. A must-read for anyone who loves a good psychological thriller.
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There was something about this book that gave me a mixed reaction but I can't quite put my finger on it. 
It absolutely nails it in terms of the scene setting, picture that wee village, the kind where you walk into a pub and everyone turns and stares at you. They type of village where the closeness of neighbours feels somewhat incestuous at times, where secrets are kept buried and woe betide anyone who comes prodding and poking amongst them. That's exactly what the author does with this book and it works so well, it totally creeped me out and kept me hooked to find out just what secret was hidden.
But none of the characters really engaged me, I found myself caring very little about them, even when I found out their connections to the village, I still didn't really care about them or even dislike them enough to make me want to see their downfall. 
However the scene setting and the plot did keep me engaged and although I worked it out it was enough to keep me reading right to the end.
It is a well written and tightly plotted novel, it just didn't hit all the spots for me I'm afraid.
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A gripping story told over a dual timeline.

1989. Two young girls, Bella and Jodie, are playing ‘knock knock ginger’ (postman’s knock). Jodie pushes a very reluctant Bella to knock on ‘Creepy Cawley’s’ door. Her mother has told her never to go near his bungalow as he is dangerous. 

2019. Anna, as Bella is now known, receives a distraught phone call from her elderly mother, dragging her reluctantly back to the small village where she grew up but has not returned to since leaving many years ago. 

2019. Lizzie grew up in care. Now an adult, she receives a letter advising Cawley has been released from his 30 year prison sentence for the murder of a young girl. This drags Lizzie back to the same village where she lived before going into the care system.
Who was Lizzie? 

The story goes back and forth between the two timelines as bit by bit the secrets held by the small closely knit village begin to reveal themselves. 
Was Billy Cawley guilty of the crime? Who is nailing parts of a doll, with hidden messages tucked inside, to Anna’s mum’s door and what does this mean?

This brilliant book will have you glued until all the secrets are finally revealed. 

Loved it!
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It was a very insightful novel, with a strong cast of characters. I enjoyed the story line very much and would definitely recommend this book.
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