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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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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  • Story

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.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Marvelous story

I'm usually very picky about my fiction. Truth is, this is not great literature, the plot is far-fetched (but plausible), and the characters are a bit over the top. And yet . . . It sucked me in, made me believe, and drew me back to listen to it all the way through a second time, with undiminished pleasure.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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A complex story of love, friendship, revenge and narco-violence in Mexico

This is now one of my top 5 books it is a complex story with many threads weaved through it that don't come out until it's very end. the characters are great and have depth. the narrator does an awesome job in both languages. Please give it a try you will not regret it at all.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Robby D
  • Virginia Beach, VA, US
  • 03-17-15

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Rebecca K
  • On the southside of the Schuylkill its always sunny!
  • 04-25-17

after a slow start, I was captured by this story

I almost didn't finish listening to the story because it started out a bit slowly, but I'm very glad that I did. the narration is great and the story really grabbed me after the first few chapters. I didn't want it to end, and I couldn't stop listening. a great find!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Thrilling & Thoughtful

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes indeed, it was very well performed and the story while far fetched is nonetheless quite entertaining.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Return?

The dealings with the priest. It's pretty much how I could imagine it happening in the real world.

What about Jonathan Davis’s performance did you like?

Perfect Mexican accent when needed and excellent portrayal of emotion. Very nicely done.

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

I did laugh several times... I could see myself and best friend in the roles of the two main characters.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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AWESOME ending !!!

The narrator was good and had a great verbal understanding and projection of the storyline, making it very realistic. Having myself been in the Vietnam war, the geographical locations of the numerous parts of the story were very accurate.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Interesting story & great performance

This book was full of action, had a great pace, and the narration was spot on! I would definitely recommend it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful