You may have guessed that i picked this book up due to it sharing the same name and premise as the fantastic French series currently showing on Channel 4. However, I will start by warning all those that get all excited by that thought – this is NOTHING like the series.
The dead are returning.
In Arcadia, a small town in the US, elderly God-fearing church-goer Lucille tells her husband Harold “They’re not people – they’re devils!”
That is before Agent Martin Bellamy from the Federal Bureau Of The Returned turns up on their doorstep with Jacob. Jacob, their only son who died 55 years before – drowned on his 8th birthday.
As Lucille seems to whole-heartedly embrace the boy as their son, Harold is suddenly the one with the doubts. How can this be possible? The dead are dead – they can’t come back. he looks for signs that the child is something other than exactly what he seems. His son.
When Agent Bellamy asks “Do you want to keep him?” Harold has to search his heart for an honest answer.
As more and more of the Returned appear across the world, emotions run high. Different cultures react to them differently. Soon they will outnumber the living – and then what?
And Arcadia has its own protesters against the Returned.
There were parts of this book that I loved, and parts that just didn’t work as well for me.
I believe that the author had the idea for the story after his parents had died, and he had a dream that he came home and found his mother sitting at the dinner table just waiting for him.
These are the parts of the story that worked for me. The emotional, difficult question – how would we react to our beloved dead if they suddenly came back and started iving amongst us again. How would their return affect us? How would the changes in the world appear to them?
I think that this is being explored far better in the French series – it’s far more about people and coming to terms with what’s happened and is now happening.
I think the book lost a little momentum in the middle. Overall it was a good story, and the main characters were believable and likeable. The ending was simple, but effective, although I wasn”t as keen on the last chapters leading up to it.
I am thinking that perhaps the very reason I picked the book up in the first place was the reason I ended up not being quite as taken with it. If you haven’t watched the French series, you’ll probably really like the book!
And just for those who have been watching the series – did you know that it’s a remake of a 2004 French film called “They Came Back“? I didn’t!
The Returned by Jason Mott will be published on 27th August 2013.