Title: The Returned
Author: Jason Mott
Published: 27th August 2013
First line: Harold opened the door that day to find a dark skinned man in a well-cut suit smiling at him.
Last line: Things were happening like this all over.
I'm not sure where to start with this book. I guess I was initially drawn to the title as I was already watching the series of the same name. Coincidentally there is a basic similarity in the premise of each but that is where the similarity ends.
There are a series of small tales in this read which are woven ever so carefully around a main story and all relate to the re-emergence of deceased loved ones and their effect on one village in particular. It is the story of the return of Jacob that takes centre stage. His childhood death in the 60's has understandably haunted his parents ever since, but his return has an even bigger impact, not just for his now aging parents but for the local society who are they believe at risk of being overrun by 'the undead'.
This book tells how not only the central characters cope but also how the wider society reacts. The tales of each weave together slowly to form a really well written plot, the problem for me is that it was too slow. I was reading patiently for the first third of the book waiting for something to happen and when it didn't I slowly began to lose interest. I'm sad to say I didn't finish the book in the end. Don't get me wrong, I didn't fail to finish because I didn't think the book was any good, I was just never gripped by the plot and because I wasn't gripped by the plot I lost interest in the characters as well written and rounded as they are.
I did enjoy some of the side stories a tad more, especially the tale of the artist and his muse but those even those weren't enough to keep me reading. I decided in the end to quit while I was ahead. I do wish I could have engaged in The Returned more. Mott adds subtle detail that makes scenes and characters come alive but this unfortunately didn't make up for the lack of pace in the story. This is actually a really well written story and no doubt for every one person that like me, doesn't gel with it there will be a thousand that do. The Returned is well worth a look.
3/5 For all my misgivings about the book this is a really well written story and I do suggest you give it a try. You might love it!