Lauded as his number-one favorite book of the year, Stephen King advised President Obama, in the pages of Entertainment Weekly, to pick up Michael Gruber’s previous book, The Good Son. With an unforgettable hero, The Return is as exciting and provocative as Gruber’s best work.
The real Richard Marder would shock his acquaintances, if they ever met him. Even his wife, long dead, didn’t know the real man behind the calm, cultured mask he presents to the world. Only an old army buddy from Vietnam, Patrick Skelly, knows what Marder is capable of. Then, a shattering piece of news awakens Marder’s buried desire for vengeance. With nothing left to lose, he sets off to punish the people whose actions changed his life years earlier. Skelly shows up uninvited, and the two of them together raise the stakes far beyond anything Marder could have envisioned.
As Marder and Skelly head toward an apocalypse of their own making, Marder learns that good motives and a sense of justice can’t always protect the people a man loves. With a range of fearsomely real characters, from a brutally violent crime lord to a daringly courageous young woman, a roller coaster of twists and turns, and a shattering exploration of what constitutes morality in the face of evil, Michael Gruber has once more proven that he is “a gifted and natural storyteller” (Chicago Tribune), and shows why he has been called “the Stephen King of crime writing” (Denver Post).
©2013 Michael Gruber (P)2013 Blackstone Audio
Gruber's stories are all superficially different from each other. Characters, story locales and threads are, with a single exception, not repeated. What they all have in common is some supernatural overlay that ranges from obvious to subtle. What they also have in common is good writing. I have never read a book I enjoyed where the author could not handle dialogue. Gruber can. In this book he weaves together a wide variety of characters in a tangled plot of the full range of human qualities and foibles: love, guilt, revenge, hope, passion, and the quest to give meaning to one's life. The story takes place within the drug cartel wars of western Mexico into which the protagonist injects himself. It was thoroughly enjoyable. The narrator is superb. He is quite clearly fluent in Spanish, moves easily among male and female voices and, in the lead character sounds exactly like George Clooney.
The fully developed characters. You grow to love or hate every one of them. You know who they are, how they feel, what they want.
Skelly, because you're never really sure about him.
It's impossible to choose. The whole book is captivating.
The story of a Viet Nam veteran trying to honor his love for his wife by bringing justice and freedom to the country she loved so much.
I don't write many reviews, but I had to do it for this book. It starts out slow, getting you to know the people in the story so clearly that you have to know what happens to them, even though it might not turn out the way you hope. It's truly one of the best books I've listened to in a very long time.
Okay, suspend disbelief a little and prepare to enjoy! This fast moving story takes us to Mexico, has a big cast of characters and a lot of action. The narrator was terrific. I enjoyed it all and found myself looking for more by this author.
I've liked the earlier books enough to listen to them again, all of them, but this one is just a little too far out. If he does another book, I'll try it, but I was disappointed in this one.
An amazing story of how life can take amazing turns and gain new meanings before it ends. Spanning the later lifetime of a Vietnam veteran-turned New York book editor, this story, that takes place in contemporary times, lets the reader know that many of life's huge events are never truly over until they allow themselves to be over. Marder, the protagonist in this story, has been given a medical death sentence that ends up taking him far away from his former life in NYC. He reunites with an old Vietnam buddy who hasn't totally left that particular place in his mind. The story that unfolds (albeit a trifle slowly at first) will leave you on the edge of your seat until the final pieces fall into place. I stayed up WAY too late listening to all of those pieces drop.
Superb reading, Johnathan Davis pulls off all the characters, giving each one just enough subtle inflective changes to make them identifiable by sound. His intonation reminds me a bit of the late Bob Crane.
This was a very good story, the kind that kept me up reading past my bedtime. Narrator was excellent. The plot is more than a little contrived, but it was still believable enough to keep me "in" the story, and I will happily recommend it to my fussy, fiction-reading friends.
I'm a huge fan of Gruber's "Forgery of Venus." Read 2 other of his books that were ok. Couldn't get through much of this one, so I never really found out the plot. I kept waiting for some glint of humor or insight to penetrate the 2-D testosterone-laiden characters, finally gave up - one credit wasted!
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