What would you do if a deceased love one showed up on your doorstep? That is the question that Harold and Lucille have to wrestle with when their 8 year old son shows up looking exactly as he did when he died back in 1966. Is he truly their Jacob or is he possibly a specter? Is he pure and good like the little boy they lost or is he something dark? Is it possible for Harold and Lucille to turn this boy who looks so much like their son away and, if not, how can this couple in the twilight of their lives ever handle raising a small child?
In what may possibly go down as one of the best bait and switches in history, “The Returned” was absolutely NOT what I expected. While there is absolutely no reference in the publisher’s synopsis of this book being a “zombie tale”, I still spent a good 100 pages totally creeped out waiting for the other shoe to fall and the Returned to become total True Living brain-eaters. With that being said, if you want a zombie book, this isn’t one and just cross it off the to-read list (if you’re anything like me you’ll never be able to finish that list anyway so marking one off might not be so awful).
However, if you can wrap your brain around the idea that “The Returned” is not a horror story, but rather a modernized “It’s a Wonderful Life” about second chances with loved ones dead and gone, this book might be up your alley. Filled with likeable characters and real emotion, “The Returned” was a breeze to get through in a day. The premise was so completely different from any other book out there right now (which might explain why my brain was trying to send me the subliminal message this was going to be scary) and was truly refreshing. Jason Mott has true promise for future success with this as his debut novel.