Customer Review

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WHAT IF?, 2 July 2013
This review is from: The Returned (Hardcover)
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A curious, haunting tale - its unfolding not as expected. Despite the supernatural theme (all over the world dead reappearing exactly as they used to be), this at its heart is a love story: that of old Harold and Lucille Hargrave. They never fully got over the death of their eight year old son Jacob half a century earlier. Now he has come back. Can they again be as they once were...?

The novel's background is dramatic indeed. The number of returning dead completely overwhelms. Countries cannot cope with the influx. Enter the military, swiftly constructed refugee camps filled to overflowing. Some fear this an invasion by "things" in human form. Life is for the living, not these freaks. Tensions overflow. There are riots, massacres.

Focus, though, is mainly on Harold, Lucille and Jacob. The old couple are great - Southerners and proud of it, formidable and colourful, forever bickering (this a particular pleasure), fearlessly standing up for what they believe right. Woe betide any who try to take Jacob away!

Also impressive is Agent Martin Bellamy, a coloured New Yorker trying to keep order as the town of Arcadia bubbles. (Interestingly he is the character with whom author Jason Mott most identifies.) Some readers may feel less happy about the portrayal of vigilante farmer Fred Green, his motives unconvincing and, towards the end, his actions decidedly over the top.

No explanation is given for the sudden reappearances. There are hints they represent a chance to put right matters that had been left unresolved - an opportunity to come to terms. (Jason Mott says writing the book helped him to do this.)

Fellow reviewers are better able to compare this novel with other "Back from the Dead" offerings around. I can only comment on the book itself. It held my attention all the way through: absorbing, thought-provoking, and ultimately most moving.
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3.8 out of 5 stars (120 customer reviews)
5 star:
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