22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Return Man (Paperback)
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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.
It would be east to dismiss The Return Man as just another end of the world/zombie book, but by the time I reached the end I felt genuinely disappointed the journey was over - if Zito writes another Return Man book I definitely be getting it. So, not exactly the most original book I've ever read, but definitely one of the most entertaining. An easy five stars from me.