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The Returned: A Novel | [Jason Mott]

The Returned: A Novel

Harold and Lucille Hargrave's lives have been both joyful and sorrowful in the decades since their only son, Jacob, died tragically at his eighth birthday party in 1966. In their old age they've settled comfortably into life without him, their wounds healed through the grace of time.... Until one day Jacob mysteriously appears on their doorstep - flesh and blood, their sweet, precocious child, still eight years old. All over the world people's loved ones are returning from beyond.
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Publisher's Summary

"Jacob was time out of sync, time more perfect than it had been. He was life the way it was supposed to be all those years ago. That's what all the Returned were."

Harold and Lucille Hargrave's lives have been both joyful and sorrowful in the decades since their only son, Jacob, died tragically at his eighth birthday party in 1966. In their old age they've settled comfortably into life without him, their wounds healed through the grace of time.... Until one day Jacob mysteriously appears on their doorstep - flesh and blood, their sweet, precocious child, still eight years old.

All over the world people's loved ones are returning from beyond. No one knows how or why this is happening, whether it's a miracle or a sign of the end. Not even Harold and Lucille can agree on whether the boy is real or a wondrous imitation, but one thing they know for sure: he's their son. As chaos erupts around the globe, the newly reunited Hargraves find themselves at the center of a community on the brink of collapse, forced to navigate a mysterious new reality and a conflict that threatens to unravel the very meaning of what it is to be human.

With spare, elegant prose and searing emotional depth, Jason Mott explores timeless questions of faith and morality, love and responsibility. A spellbinding and stunning debut, The Returned is an unforgettable story that marks the arrival of an important new voice in contemporary fiction.

©2013 Jason Mott (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (403 )
5 star
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Performance
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  •  
    FanB14 09-15-13
    FanB14 09-15-13

    Short, Simple, No Spoilers

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5626
    ratings
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    146
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    7
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    Story
    "You'd Want to Return It"

    Positive reviews in Entertainment Weekly magazine always spark my interest to listen to said book on Audible. Usually spot on, not so for this one. The overall idea of the dead coming back at the same age, suspended in time, yet in the future is intriguing. If you watched "The 4400" on the USA Network in years past, you won't be surprised by the idea, but the two cannot compare. I cared about those characters and wanted to walk away from the farmer, his wife, and Jacob, but stayed for a visit waiting for some dramatic or even mildly interesting explanation that never came to pass.

    Plodding along, "The Returned" introduces a newish idea and causes us to question our prejudices along with how society treats those who are different from the norm. I did enjoy the repartee between the farmer and man from the bureau. Mott is a good writer; story just sluggish and unsatisfying. Save your credit for another book.

    35 of 38 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jill 09-12-13
    Jill 09-12-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
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    40
    5
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    Performance
    Story
    "I kept waiting for it to get going"
    What was most disappointing about Jason Mott’s story?

    It seemed to drag on and was rather anti-climactic. I found myself getting excited for the next turn of events, only to be disappointed by the story losing it's momentum.


    Which character – as performed by Tom Stechschulte – was your favorite?

    Harold


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

    Disappointment. I was intrigued at the beginning as it reminded me of a Stephen King novel, but fell short of my expectations.


    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason Poteau, OK, United States 09-04-13
    Jason Poteau, OK, United States 09-04-13 Member Since 2010

    Bi-Vocational Pastor/Draftsman. Full time husband and dad. Audiobooks are a staple in my life because I can read and work...

    HELPFUL VOTES
    393
    ratings
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    130
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    Story
    "MEANT FOR THERAPY - not sci-fi enough"

    POSSIBLE SPOILER: Its not aliens... Its not demonic... Its not magic... Its not time travel... Its not the end times... Its not even addressed! Why are dead people returning? WE NEVER FIND OUT! This has a really cool premise and could have really been fun to explore, yet the authors note at the end explains the purpose of the book: THERAPY. So, after 10 hours of hoping, I reached the end with not one shred of venture into why all this happened. It was a complete let down. In my mind, a real SCI-FI novel plunges into the questions with explanations... however unrealistic and sometimes corny they might be. Nothing here. The most interesting thing was the ramifications of thousands upon thousands of additional people thrust on small town population. Pass on this one. I hope this helps. Later.

    18 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chase FRANKLIN, TN, United States 09-04-13
    Chase FRANKLIN, TN, United States 09-04-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    72
    9
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    FOLLOWING
    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "could have been better but great message"

    I think for me this book left a lot of open questions. I started this with the first 3 prequel books which left me in suspension. I pre-ordered this book with hopes of continuing the story(s) from those short stories and answer a lot of the questions I felt at the time must have been saved for the full title. I was left with a lot more to be desired. Dont get me wrong the book is well written and flows together just fine, its just I wanted more out of it. I felt there could have been more easily added that could have made this book not only good but shine.

    The author leaves you with a great message about love, memories and regret which is in itself worth it. I felt the ending was rushed however surprisingly satisfied once it was all said and done.

    There is far more going on here than just a bunch of resurrections. This will open your mind to thinking about how you would feel, what you would do, and what you would experience if you had one more chance.

    All in all The Returned is definitely worth the read/listen regardless of your belief in God.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jami VICTOR, NY, United States 01-21-14
    Jami VICTOR, NY, United States 01-21-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    84
    ratings
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    167
    164
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    4
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting Premise"

    This was one of those books that I needed to finish in order to appreciate the entire story. I had read the several free prequels and thought the book would explore all of those stories in more detail. This was not the case, and initially I was put off by that. As the story developed, I found I liked it. I particularly liked to read it in the context of how fear of people who are different than the majority are treated. There were many parallels to civil rights issues in today's society. Not sure I will need to follow the tv series however, but I imagine it will translate well to that medium.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lauren Levine Long Beach, CA 02-09-15
    Lauren Levine Long Beach, CA 02-09-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
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    0
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    Story
    "Boring"

    Cool idea, poorly executed. There was opportunity to explore interesting themes but the author fell disappointingly short. It just wasn't believable and I found myself disconnected and not caring about the story or the characters. The story took time to tell little side stories about various returned but managed to stay surface level with everything. Very anticlimactic and boring. Too bad.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brett Chapin Petaluma, CA, United States 09-19-13
    Brett Chapin Petaluma, CA, United States 09-19-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loved it"
    Where does The Returned rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Gets you thinking about losses you've have and if you never had them lost again


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen 09-05-13
    Karen 09-05-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    168
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    Story
    "Oddly flat"

    After the two prequels, I was intrigued but ultimately the book itself was rather a let down. The writing itself was fine but I kept waiting for the story to go somewhere and it just meandered. The most disappointing aspect was that it just turned into another exploration of segregation and fear. The 'returned' could have been any minority group. Not nearly enough exploration into the whole idea of coming back. On the whole, very disappointing, especially after the prequels.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Denise FENTON, MO, United States 09-09-13
    Denise FENTON, MO, United States 09-09-13 Member Since 2013

    Married "Mature" Female living in St. Louis, MO. Love Fiction of many genres.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    181
    3
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    Story
    "I wanted to like it but..."
    What did you like best about The Returned? What did you like least?

    I liked the concept and I'm a huge Tom Stechschulte fan. The 3 preview stories grabbed my interest. However, this book fell short. It just didn't go anywhere very exciting and the characters weren't that interesting.


    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elle in the Great NorthWest Beaverton, OR, United States 04-01-15
    Elle in the Great NorthWest Beaverton, OR, United States 04-01-15

    I LOVE books. And dogs & quilting & beading & volunteering.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1244
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    Story
    "Interesting premise"

    An off track idea that could have been developed much more fully, this is a real soft read.

    The story arc is lacking in cohesiveness to a large extent. I made a huge error by listening to the 3 Prequel short stories after I'd listened to the main story and they added absolutely nothing..

    I didn't hate it and it's better than MEH-Average, but not spectacular.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Toby
    BEXLEYHEATH, United Kingdom
    9/11/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Can't ignore the obvious"

    Got this on an Audible recommendation, but it might be last time I do that.

    I understand that this story deals with a family during an 'incident', but there are glaring omissions that really weaken the back-story in my humble opinion. It's hard to care about the characters and their troubled emotions dealing with the 'Returned' when not a single person in the immediate or wider story suggests actually digging up a grave to see if the original bodies are still there.

    That said, the writing is good and the reader does a good job. I just didn't connect with the story.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. P. D. Selman
    Kent, U.K.
    7/26/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not the t.v. show"
    What made the experience of listening to The Returned the most enjoyable?

    I bought this book because I was enjoying the t.v. show 'Resurrection', which was based on this novel. The book is considerably different from the t.v. show and I enjoyed seeing the tale from a different, more global, viewpoint.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Henry was my favourite character because he seemed the most conflicted about the supernatural events occurring in his home town. I could really believe in him as a real person.


    What does Tom Stechschulte bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Tom Stechschulte did a really good job with the narration of this book. You can instantly tell which character is talking.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Everybody you've ever lost... is coming back...


    Any additional comments?

    If you didn't like the t.v. show, don't write off the book. It really is almost a completely different experience.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ron
    4/8/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "when does it end?"

    ive stuck with this to chapter 20. its been anything but easy. not sure whether its the snails pace ...actually, a snails pace would be like lightning in comparison... the story that goes no where, or the performance where the readers accent is such a distraction... where i wind up counting the times he uses a short o sound ...bah-dee bah-ther. wish i could get my credit back!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sara
    2/16/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent! But quite different to the TV Series"

    I loved listening to this story. The narrator performs the different characters very well, most of which are southern American. I bought this audio book as I enjoyed watching the TV that is based on it. The story is quite different to that of the TV series, however it is still a great story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • toveyc1
    1/23/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A pleasant surprise."

    I wasn't expecting to like this based on the subject matter but it was a really pleasant surprise. I enjoyed it very much. It wasn't ham fisted or pushing an idea. It's up to you to decide what it means. The characters are likable and believable. Narration was spot on.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Verner
    Camberley, United Kingdom
    12/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "They returned again and again, but I won't be."
    If you could sum up The Returned in three words, what would they be?

    sci-fi does prejudice


    Would you be willing to try another book from Jason Mott? Why or why not?

    No. Overall the story was not sufficiently coherent and complete for my liking. The author's note at the end was interesting and redeemed many factors I was not so keen on in the book. It gave some context and made the story feel more purposeful.


    What does Tom Stechschulte bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Down south accents that (together with my own prejudice) supported the mind sets of the characters.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No. I did not feel particularly strong empathy for the characters and would not be upset by their untimely demise.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • JOANNE
    7/30/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant"

    Couldn't wait for the next chance to listen. A true picture of a parents unconditional love

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Debbie
    Hitchin, United Kingdom
    1/31/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Slow to grip but in floods of tears in the end"

    It took coming back to the novel after a break before I became gripped. I had been intrigued by the premise and once I became attached to be main family, I was feeling everything they were feeling. The pain of losing a child and then that child coming back to you and not understanding why felt very raw and real. You could not help but love little Jacob. You know from the beginning its not going to end happily and the last hour or so of the audiobook I had tears running down my face. Then with the authors note at the end tears became floods.
    Not a book to read if you want to be uplifted but definitely a book to give a go.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • David Pillinger
    Stroud Gloucestershire
    12/31/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "NO NO NO NO NO"

    I watched the tv series and really enjoyed it until the lousy end at which point i felt cheated out of several hours of my life which had clearly been wasted. Since the basic story was pretty good I thought I'd give the book a go however.
    Well, it was ok. Didn't really grip the attention but it was ok. Performance was fine. Not outstanding but ok. I would probably have finished the book were it not for the fact that the author then decided to insult my intelligence. He introduced characters called Nico Sutil and Timo Heidfeld. Are we supposed not to know that these are the christian and surnames of four German Formula one drivers? Could the author not be bothered to think up any other German names? I once read a book in which two Naval lieutenants were lieutenants Chub and Dace and i didn't finish that one either.
    So no. I won't be finishing this one and i won't be buying any more from the same author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dawn
    CUPAR, United Kingdom
    11/6/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Dull"
    What would have made The Returned better?

    I waited and waited for something interesting to happen with this book but I was disappointed. Maybe a faster pace and more interesting plot would have improved things.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Tom Stechschulte?

    The narration wasn't great but it wasn't the main problem with this book, I would listen to another by this narrator if it looked like a good enough story.


    Any additional comments?

    I bought this after watching the french TV series with the same title (Les Revenants) and I was aware it wasn't the same story but was built on the same premise and it had good reviews so I thought I'd give it a try. The TV series was full of suspense and drama, with a serial killer returning to start where he left off, a child whose twin sister has grown up without her and a man who slowly comes to the realisation that he in fact committed suicide on his wedding day, while struggling to cope with finding out his fiance has moved on to a new man. This book had none of that. The pace was infuriatingly slow, the characters were dull and after waiting the entire time for something to happen, the climax of the book was predictable and boring. People come back from the dead, the government don't really know what to do with them all, they lock them up, some people are open-minded, some people are not, then it all kicks off, some people get shot, some property is destroyed and then the returned just vanish into thin air with no explanation for it all.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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