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The Return: A Novel | [Michael Gruber]

The Return: A Novel

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (96 )
5 star
 (28)
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 (36)
3 star
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3.9 (87 )
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4.2 (84 )
5 star
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3 star
 (13)
2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Alan 10-01-13
    Alan 10-01-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    71
    ratings
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    244
    25
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    "Outstanding"

    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.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sheri 12-24-13
    Sheri 12-24-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    "All Time Favorite"
    What did you love best about The Return?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Skelly, because you're never really sure about him.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    It's impossible to choose. The whole book is captivating.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephanie Clearlake, CA, United States 12-28-14
    Stephanie Clearlake, CA, United States 12-28-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    49
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    39
    38
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    6
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    Story
    "Very Enjoyable!"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    F. Hawkins 11-20-13
    F. Hawkins 11-20-13 Member Since 2008

    silentsun

    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
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    46
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    "not as good as Gruber's earlier books"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robby D Virginia Beach, VA, US 03-17-15
    Robby D Virginia Beach, VA, US 03-17-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fantastic"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Holland Michigan 10-11-14
    J. Holland Michigan 10-11-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    6
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    Story
    "Enjoyable read"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen 05-10-15
    Karen 05-10-15

    Sassy dialogue, humor, and a great reader are important to me.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    404
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    537
    423
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    99
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    Story
    "17 Hrs of A Great Voice"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No. This was too long for me and my first of this author. I did not give up on this listen as I love the reader and had purchased this author due to J.D. reading this book.


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

    Good outline, but a good editor would have cut down at lease 4 hrs of material. It was like listening to someone's diary. Yes, it had some wonderful parts, but at hour 13, I said enough already but refused to quit listening as reviewers said don't give up. Yes, this had a good ending and the story line was good, but I would never re listen to this long story.


    What about Jonathan Davis’s performance did you like?

    Everything! which was the reason I purchased this author. I love him in Sandra Brown's Mean Streak, a mystery/romance


    Do you think The Return needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    The on going saga could be continued and developed as author has a good story to tell.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth 12-08-13
    Elizabeth 12-08-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    17
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    "A cauldron of phony machismo"
    Any additional comments?

    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!

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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