3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Clever mystery - opens up the whole life after death debate.,
This review is from: The Returned (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The novel follows a similar, very similar, plot to the recently much acclaimed French TV drama 'The Returned'. We're asked to consider the consequences of what might happen if the dead came back to life; not as zombie's but as the people they once were. They haven't aged, they're fit and healthy, show no signs of any physical injury or illness - they just turn up where they left off and want nothing more than to continue their lives - or do they?
As you can imagine, the community is divided when a little boy, victim of a drowning incident, reappears after many years dead to pick up his former life with his now elderly parents. It would rather freak you out if it happened and the couple are a believable mixture of joy, suspicion and fear to which their son seems oblivious. As time moves on and more strange events unfold the local community begin to change. Anti-Returned/Pro-Living groups begin to flourish and the couple, once loved and respected, become isolated and distrusted.
The author opens up clever threads concerning life after death but also concentrates on the more realistic issues that would impact such as overcrowding, lack of resources and the deep personal costs to the living as their dead relatives/friends/children/lovers begin to return. Quite scary when you consider it might not just be the young and the good who come back. Who knows who'll knock at the door? I thought that sense of mystery and 'secrets yet to be revealed' was the strongest element of the novel and helped move along a plot that's quite slow to build.
There is some violence, which you'd expect, but it's done in harmony with the rest of the story and doesn't become gratuitous. In fact, considering how violent events might have become, James Mott has produced quite a gentle, enquiring mystery completely lacking in any sense of gore and horror.
Do I have a negative? Not really but there are two comments I'd like to share. There perhaps isn't enough of the 'the dark side' in The Returned and some darker threads would have helped move along a plot that's slow to build. The ending is flat and could have done with something more to surprise the reader. Having made those comments I'm still more than happy to recommend this novel to anyone enjoying a thoughtful, slower, intelligent mystery thriller.