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The Return Man Paperback – 29 Mar 2012

61 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; Unabridged edition (29 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444725181
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444725186
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 3.3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 441,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'The story is tremendous, totally gripping and orchestrated in such a way to keep the reader on their toes, with plenty of twists, turns and dramatic moments - this is one of those page turners that grip you completely. The prose is easy to read and very clever while characterization is spot-on... The character of Henry Marco is played out brilliantly, given an incredible depth and heart-tugging back story that pretty much explains his reasons for doing what he does... The Return Man is a must for any fan of the genre, along with anyone else who isn't squeamish.' (sfbook.com)

'Bloody excellent.' (Financial Times)

'This novel is engaging, tense, gripping and very well written. I was hooked from the get-go... The novel is tightly written, in very brisk prose. I wasn't really sure what to expect from this novel, and indeed the synopsis didn't prepare me for how big this novel was going to get - not in terms of length... but in terms of scope and imagination...I found this to be an imaginative and original novel. Thought-provoking, pleasantly (not to mention surprisingly) attuned to international relations, and very human. It has a very tense atmosphere. It has great, evocative writing - the reader really gets a feel for the horrifyingly expectant existence in the quarantined states. The Return Man also has a poignant, fitting denouement, which leaves open the possibility of more to come in this setting. The Return Man is very highly recommended. This is a thought-provoking, suspenseful and above all gripping take on the Zombie Apocalypse sub-genre. Brilliant.' (civilian-reader.blogspot.co.uk)

Zito expertly piles on thrills, cliffhangers and numerous twists, investing renewed life into the shambling, cliché-ridden corpse of the zombie subgenre. (Guardian)

'An overload of thrills, spills and adventure.' (Sun)

'The adventure in this book is astounding - I'm yet to read a zombie book with this many fight scenes, this much grit and gore and violence. The fight scenes are damn well done, told is such a gripping way you have to read faster and faster to find out what happens next...Characters in dystopian can be tricky - in these sorts of 'doom and gloom' books it's easy to disconnect from them, just wish they'd stop moaning for a while (even if they have every right to moan) and just get on with it. YET - in 'The Return Man', you can emphasise with these characters. You feel proud at how they manage to keep going on, and you hope they get there and succeed... As for plot, it moves rapidly, feels entirely realistic and doesn't drag in any part. It's interesting, it has enough detail (both descriptive and scientific) for there to be enough information to explain, but not enough to drown the reader into boredom. My copy was 400 pages long and I didn't feel it needed to be any shorter or longer than it is. This novel works well as a stand-alone, yet there is also room for more stories in this series - and I hope there are...V. M. Zito - I'll certainly keep an eye out for any other work you produce.' (sentientonline.net)

Hands down one of the best zombie novels I've read in a long, long time. From first page to last, THE RETURN MAN is an astonishing read. With characters you genuinely give a damn about and a story that'll keep you turning page after page, this is an outstanding debut. (David Moody, author of Autumn)

'In a word: relentless.' (Sunday Telegraph)

Contagion meets Mad Max. (The Times)

. . . a perfectly balanced layer cake of action and horror . . . This is a stunning debut and matches the feelings I had when I first read the likes of World War Z and Hater . . . you are unlikely to experience a better crafted and adrenalin fuelled thrill ride than V.M. Zito's novel THE RETURN MAN. (Liberation Frequency)

A page-turning, action packed, well-crafted debut novel that will take your breath away. Highly recommended. (The Founding Fields)

'Henry Marco is a wonderful protagonist - inventive enough to be fun to read, and at the same time sufficiently complex to seem real . . .A highlight of the subgenre.' (Drying Ink, Best Horror Novel of 2011)

Thrilling. (Publishers Weekly)

The story is tremendous, totally gripping and orchestrated in such a way to keep the reader on their toes, with plenty of twists, turns and dramatic moments - this is one of those page turners that grip you completely. (Sfbook.com)

THE RETURN MAN is very highly recommended. This is a thought-provoking, suspenseful and above all gripping take on the Zombie Apocalypse sub-genre. Brilliant. (Civilian-reader.blogspot.co.uk)

Full-throttle, intense and not for night reading. ( West Australian)

The Return Man is a cracking zombie novel . . . It's a real page turner, it's action packed, the characters jump off of the page, it's unputdownable and it's one hell of a rollercoaster ride. (dogeardiscs.wordpress.com)

This is an outstanding piece of fiction. If it came from the pen of an established name I would say they were at the top of their game. For a first time writer, it is nothing short of an astonishing piece of work. I would heartily recommend it to anyone with a pulse. V. M. Zito is most definitely a writer to look out for. (geeksyndicate.wordpress.com)

I have to say that its one of my favourite zombie debuts of all time as well as making this a title that's going to be well up on my UF favourites for the year. It's well written and whilst the concept on paper is remarkably simple, it is one that will attract readers the world over as the stories hero is manipulated into doing the governments bidding . . . All in a cracking story and when backed with an author whose writing style I couldn't get enough of, definitely a title to get before the hype hits. (falcatatimes.blogspot.co.uk)

Forget 28 Weeks or 28 Days Later - THE RETURN MAN is the most immediate, action packed tale of hunting and avoiding the undead that I have ever read. If you love the movies of George Romero, The Walking Dead comic books and tv show, then you are in for a real treat here . . . (booksandwriters.wordpress.com)

The adventure in this book is astounding. The fight scenes are damn well done, told in such a gripping way you have to read faster and faster to find out what happens next . . . you can emphasise with these characters. You feel proud at how they manage to keep going on, and you hope they get there and succeed . . . (sentientonline.net)

I enjoyed every terrifying bit of this book, and if you love zombies, good writing, and great storytelling, I think you will too! (mybookishways.com)

I wouldn't be surprised if we see a version of THE RETURN MAN on the big screen. (bookonaut.blogspot.co.uk)

Zito throws in an international intrigue and action angle that would make Tom Clancy green with envy. (www.scaryminds.com)

A strong debut. (techmonkeymag.com)

[THE RETURN MAN] absolutely mesmerised me . . . An impressive debut novel. This is strongly recommended; those who enjoy classic horror will appreciate it, but it should also find an appreciative wider audience among those who enjoy well written, well plotted stories with very strong characterisation. (aussiespecficinfocus.wordpress.com)

The storyline is original, the characters are alive on the page, the action and gore scenes are top-notch, the writing is superb, and it's a fun time. This is a damn good book and it has potential to be a zombie classic. (buyzombie.com)

'Compelling, captivating and at times hauntingly scary.' (fantasybookreview.co.uk)

V.M. Zito has written an amazing book, so good I finished it in just two days. (themanlybookworm.blogspot.co.uk)

Book Description

Civilisation's gone . . . He's stayed to bury the dead.


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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By M. D. Harris on 9 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
While the premise of The Return Man is not exactly new - basically a fetch quest in a zombie filled United States - it is most certainly entertaining.

The plot is straight forward enough, a fast spreading zombie virus results in massive casualties and the western USA being quarantined off. Survivors are now all crammed into the safe eastern states. Our hero has stayed behind to locate his missing wife, but also accepts jobs from people in the safe states to 'return' people to the grave, ending their days as living dead and giving closure to surviving families. This sideline leads to a contract to locate a missing colleague who may have discovered a treatment for the virus in the days leading up to the outbreak four years earlier, finding him will not be easy...

So far so 'I am Legend' (and with this I'm referring to the book - which is excellent, not the movie - which was not). It's fair to say this book has certainly been influenced by the likes of the Richard Matheson iconic short story, but The Return Man finds it's own path to follow and does a fantastic job of pulling you in.

The book wastes no time getting into it's stride and the author V. Zito does an good job of making the zombie filled evacuated states a believable place, providing the reader with enough information to make things plausible without bogging the story down in pointless detail. The characters are also pleasingly rounded humans (those that aren't zombies of course) who make rational decisions, and feel like real people rather than ciphers who exist merely to propel the plot along. There's also a satisfying balance of character moments, action, horror and humour.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Enquirer VINE VOICE on 30 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
THIS IS EXTREMELY GOOD FOR A FIRST NOVEL. I read The Return Man in 3 sittings over 24 hours - much of the time with my mouth hanging open. This is really able action writing. The plot is partly genuinely unique, and partially a compound of Resident Evil 3 Resident Evil 1-4 [DVD] [2011]and The original Omega ManThe Omega Man [DVD] [1971]. Does that detract - not a bit, but it did make some of it quite predictable to me.

The story hinges around the 'life' of Marco, The Return Man. His business is to 'return' zombies in the West of the US on behalf of paying relatives in the barricaded Eastern States. The West is a wasteland. The East is a 'business-as-usual' police state. Returning involves putting a bullet through a specific zombie's brain - RIP - no more flesh eating etc. He has turned his old Arizona home into a private fort (a la Omega Man) and sallies out on each mission. At the back of his mind is the constant desire to Return his wife, who he lost 4 years before when the epidemic hit the West in what they now call the Resurrection.

Yes, Marco will have a side kick - well-drawn, interestic, vital - but I wont say who. Yes there is more to it all than just his daily grind. Read on - IF you are not sqeamish and have a strong constitution. This is easily the most grisly book I have actualy ever chosen to read. It is unusual in that, while I plan to never re-read it, I would still recommend it. I found it a bit to much for me. I genuinely hope there is no attempt at a faithful filming of the story. It would be just too horrible - but exciting too!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By PJ Rankine TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 29 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Falling somewhere between a horror story and science fiction this book is all zombie. The USA has been split in half by a terrible event called the 'Resurrection' where the dead have come back to life to devour the living and spread their infection. The country has been torn in two with the survivors living in the Eastern states and the West left to the ravening hordes. Henry Marco however stayed behind to find his wife and now makes a living returning loved one to their final death, for a fee of course. The opening chapter features Henry completing his latest contract and sets the scene perfectly, illustrating how dangerous his job and the environment are.
Returning to his fortified home Henry is 'persuaded' by the new version of Homeland Security to undertake a dangerous mission to locate a former friend and return him to death. The only problem is he is in a prison in California filled with thousands of reanimated dead.
This is an exciting story featuring a lot of the background of its hero and the Resurrection itself. I also liked that fact that this holocaust is restricted to the USA only and whilst the rest of the world is terrified it hasn't got to them yet.
Zombie fans won't be disappointed but I got a little fed up with descriptions of rotting animated corpses and their oozing black bodily fluids and trailing intestines.
Overall great story telling but a little too much of the yucky stuff for me so only four stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Maggie VINE VOICE on 14 Feb. 2012
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I would not have chosen a "zombie" story particularly but I am drawn to dystopian novels, as this one was billed. It is very graphic and stomach-turning in its descriptions, but not at the expense of good writing. It is believable in that biological weapons of the sort described are not beyond the imagination and the science did make some kind of sense. Once I saw the word prions I knew we were in CJD/"mad cow disease" territory and I think the author was clever to use this rather than some old bacteria or virus! Although the action was totally gripping and the hero admirable and sympathetic, what struck me most of all was the pathos in all these ordinary and not-so-ordinary people having been struck down by the disease and then left to endure a half-life as a zombie: the guys having a drink in a bar, the station master in the shreds of his uniform, the toddler still strapped in his car seat, condemned for ever to reach out for food. For me it was this link to humanity that made the book so powerful. I would certainly read this author again.
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