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The Return Man | [V. M. Zito]

The Return Man

The outbreak tore the US in two. The East remains a safe haven. The West has become a ravaged wilderness, known by survivors as the Evacuated States. It is here that Henry Marco makes his living. Hired by grieving relatives, he tracks down the dead and delivers peace. Now Homeland Security wants Marco for a mission unlike any other: He must return to California, where the apocalypse began. Where a secret is hidden. And where his own tragic past waits to punish him again.
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Publisher's Summary

The outbreak tore the US in two. The East remains a safe haven. The West has become a ravaged wilderness, known by survivors as the Evacuated States. It is here that Henry Marco makes his living. Hired by grieving relatives, he tracks down the dead and delivers peace.

Now Homeland Security wants Marco for a mission unlike any other: He must return to California, where the apocalypse began. Where a secret is hidden. And where his own tragic past waits to punish him again.

But in the wastelands of America, you never know who - or what - is watching you.

©2012 V. M. Zito (P)2012 Hachette Audio

What the Critics Say

"Thrilling, melancholy, and stomach-churningly gory... This is a sturdy and crowd-pleasing novel that squarely hits its target." (Publishers Weekly)

"A hair-raising quest ... Zito expertly piles on thrills, cliffhangers and numerous twists ..." (The Guardian, UK)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (100 )
5 star
 (27)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.9 (95 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.1 (92 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (17)
2 star
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1 star
 (1)
Performance
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  •  
    Mike Naka VA 09-01-12
    Mike Naka VA 09-01-12 Member Since 2012

    Avid Zombie fan who's starting to listen to more and more Fantasy and Sci-Fi stories. So, my description is apt to change. Dog lover who's known to have cats. LOL C# coder, part-time prepper, B movie fan, AMC watcher, recovering but successful day trader, perpetual student, overjoyed uncle, former adrenaline junkie with a flare for cooking, and lots more. LOL

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    "wtf a zombie assassin? yes, but much more!"
    Any additional comments?

    wow! 2 great zombie books in a row! hissers and the return man. i know i'm supposed to be reviewing the return man, but i'm pumped having just listened to 2 great zombie books in a row! i thought i'd listened to all the best zombie books on audible, BUT I WAS WRONG!

    ok...don't let the title throw you. the return man is a story about henry marko. the story picks up 4 years after the zombie outbreak. marko is "the return man." he is a zombie assassin. yes, that may sound hokey, but give me a second.

    before the zombie apocylapse, marko was a neurologist. he has developed a theory that helps him track down where zombies might be so he can "return" them to being dead. his theory is known as emotional geography. marko realizes the zombies tend to go places where they have emotional contacts. this aids him in finding the zombies he's contracted to "return" to the dead

    everything west of the mississippi river has been abandoned. marko lives in the unprotected part of america. he is a contractor. people living in the safe states (protected zone) contract him to find their loved ones. if they've become zombies, he is contracted to "return" them to being dead so their survivors can get a sense of closure and start over. marko is also looking for his wife, to "return" her. he has tricked out his house with barricades and traps. he hopes to trap his wife so he can "return" her.

    the story starts out with marko working on the rourke contract. marko is looking for joan's husband. after the contract is fulfilled he contacts ben, his contact and brother-in-law in the safe states that finds him clients. during that conversation, a guy named osbourne breaks in, revealing himself to be in the room with ben. osbourne threatens and forces marko to return to california to "return" a friend and former colleague, dr. roger ballard.

    osbourne shows marko a video of dr. ballard's last location, a prison, where he is seen leaping off a catwalk to escape a horde of zombie prisoners. osbourne wants marko to return to this prison to "return" the good doctor to the dead. to help marko accomplish his task, osbourne sends a resurrection group to aid him. along the trek west, marko is joined by sgt. wu, who has his own motivations. together, they battle zombies and the four horseman, a large group of survivors who control california and have ties with drug dealers and the u.s. government's enemies.

    the story is kind of predictable, but what i really enjoyed was the all the zombie action. this book has a lot of heart-pounding zombie horde fighting scenes with lots and lots of well-described gore. overall, a solid addition to your zombie libray, and a great thrill ride!

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    carlos missouri 05-11-13
    carlos missouri 05-11-13 Member Since 2012

    More cheese!

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    "When liberals write zombie novels..."

    Hilarity ensues. Cliches and logical fallacies abound! But what are you going to do? I actually liked this novel...a lot. It was all the old tired cliches about a certain political party that made this novel comical in places. Thankfully, it was mainly at the beginning.

    I actually laughed out loud at some of the silly caricatures the author painted of the "evil" party, which she/he put "New" in front of to make it look as if it was some new really really really nefarious party, but was soooo obvious whom she/he was referring to. It grew tiresome quickly. And when she/he brought in the fake "crisis" that the party was inventing, I nearly choked on the irony, considering today's Chicken Little president.

    But alas, the story itself was great! Good character development, good concept (zombie assassin), lots of action and plenty of zombies. The Chinaman was a great way for her/him to show how much she/he loathed this country. Everything the Chinaman believed and said could have been a talking point from the a certain political party today--guess which one. Notice that nothing that character did was considered "bad." Even his religion was better than anything a silly Westerner put faith in, as we saw in the end. Yawn.

    I digress. Again, great story just wished the silliness wasn't so obvious, I would have given it a 5...I was aching to do so. As it turns out, "The Infection" is still my top zombie novel pick.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gunslinger929 Stafford, VA, United States 07-28-13
    Gunslinger929 Stafford, VA, United States 07-28-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What an Ironic name...story falls short."
    What would have made The Return Man better?

    If it avoided the cliche treason-in-your-midst plot trying to weave the noir detective with LMOE. Lone man in the land of walking corpses? Make it survival with the goal of safety. I caught the political tirade, but wasn't put off by it. seems ill conceived that we'd just be content to draw a line in the sand (Mississippi River), hunker down and pretend the other side isn't there. Meanwhile, in a non-existent economy, folks pay bundles to have a guy seek out dead loved ones and put 'em down? I know it's a zombie story, so some belief-suspension is required, but there needs to be a limit.


    What was most disappointing about V. M. Zito’s story?

    Like a mish-mash of Rot & Ruin and The Tomb. The plot did little to capture my attention. Sounded like a neat idea, "zombie assassin", but missed. Survival stories make more sense. A better spin on this idea was Rot & Ruin: more depth of feeling and an overall better story.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Bernard Clark?

    He was ok. Accents were good.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Boredom...disappointment. Miffed that audible wont let me return it.


    Any additional comments?

    Ironic that despite Audible's claimed guarantee, I cannot return "The Return Man." Stick with Mark Tufo, J L Bourne, Max Brooks, Jonathan Mayberry and Larry Correia. Listened to a few stinkers recently, always fall back on the aforementioned writers for satisfaction.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bryan Mechanicville, NY, United States 10-07-12
    Bryan Mechanicville, NY, United States 10-07-12 Member Since 2010
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    "An A+ story and narration"

    One of the better storylines. Great narration. Very easy to listen to and get sucked into for hours.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SYLVIA Houston, tx, United States 07-14-12
    SYLVIA Houston, tx, United States 07-14-12 Member Since 2010
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    "First rate apocalyptic fiction"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Return Man to be better than the print version?

    haven't read the book


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    non stop action with heart wrenching emotion


    Which character – as performed by Bernard Clark – was your favorite?

    excellent narration


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    hard to put down.


    Any additional comments?

    this was an excellent story rich in scope and full of emotion

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia Pipe Creek, TX, United States 09-10-12
    Patricia Pipe Creek, TX, United States 09-10-12 Member Since 2008

    Love to read and love audio-books, esp Sci-fi and fantasy, and zombies, of course. I believe the narrator can make or break the experience.

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    "If you R a conservative, don't support this author"
    Would you try another book from V. M. Zito and/or Bernard Clark?

    I wish I could give this book a good review, because if this author could have hid his hate of Republicans and conservatives, he has a good story here. I love zombie books and would have supported a follow up of this story, and perhaps anything else he/she has written, but I won't give him/her any more of my hard earned money. I was constantly insulted by this authors hate for me and my political beliefs. Too bad. Don't support this author. And I'm a bit sorry for Bernard Clark, having to read that hate.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Change the political parties to something fictional, would have hidden the authors hateful beliefs and he might have sold a few more books.


    12 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lee RIALTO, CALIFORNIA, United States 01-14-14
    Lee RIALTO, CALIFORNIA, United States 01-14-14 Member Since 2008

    I love horror books.

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    "A must read of zombie lovers"
    What made the experience of listening to The Return Man the most enjoyable?

    The narrator did a great job with the voices of the different characters. He has a voice that keeps you on the edge of your seat.


    What other book might you compare The Return Man to and why?

    There aren't any other books that I would compare it too.


    Have you listened to any of Bernard Clark’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I don't remember listening to any of his other books


    Who was the most memorable character of The Return Man and why?

    The main character


    Any additional comments?

    This book was a refreshing change to the other zombie books I have been listening. I really enjoyed the entire book. It was easy to listen too. The author did an awesome job with the characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    deedeeg gilbert, AZ, United States 06-27-13
    deedeeg gilbert, AZ, United States 06-27-13 Member Since 2010

    deedeeg

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    "Not your typical zombie book"

    This story is very detailed, and while it is about zombies, it is not your typical zombie read. Without giving much away, I would say it's a mixture of zombies, survival and mystery. There are a lot of gruesome details included here, so much so, I definitely thought it was overkill. The narrator pretty much uses the same tone throughout the entire story, and tells the entire tale at the same pace, which is something that I don't really care for when I am listening, vs. reading. There has got to be a sequel, and I don't feel compelled to continue to the next installment, so I will end here saying, that I was a bit underwhelmed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Drew (@drewsant) Watertown, MA, United States 05-13-13
    Drew (@drewsant) Watertown, MA, United States 05-13-13 Member Since 2009

    Post apocalyptic listener with some thrillers mixed in. Follow me on twitter at @drewsant

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A good balance between action and character dev"

    The Return Man takes you on a trip through the bad lands which used to be part of the USA but has been ceded to the Zombies. The main character is likable but has his own flaws and demons which he must overcome. The story does a good job of balancing character development with action and mystery which keeps you engrossed in the telling. The author does have a habit of using metaphors to describe the scene (Flowing like water from a spigot) which seems a bit gimmicky to me, but doesn’t really take away from the story. Certainly not what I would call a happy ending, it certainly wraps it all up and even leaves room for another book if the author chooses.

    The Performance was a bit lacking. When not doing dialog Mr. Clark was dry and monitone. When interacting with the characters he was really good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terry Carthage, IL 04-01-13
    Terry Carthage, IL 04-01-13 Member Since 2010

    I am a bookaholic. If not reading a real book, then listening to one during my daily commute or as I go to sleep each night.

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    "Can't put it down!!!"
    Where does The Return Man rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Definitely one of my favorites that I will listen to again and again. Looking forward to more from this author.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Each chapter got better and better. The seamlessly of current story and backstory was definitely a plus.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Return Man and why?

    Have to say that my fav was Wu. His evolution throughout the book is one that I was amazed by. Definitely can get into his psychology.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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