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The Return Man by [Zito, V. M.]
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The Return Man Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 87 customer reviews

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Length: 439 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


'Hands down one of the best zombie novels I've read in a long, long time. From first page to last, THE RETURN MAN is an astonishing read. With characters you genuinely give a damn about and a story that'll keep you turning page after page, this is an outstanding debut.' (David Moody, author of Autumn )

"Thrilling, melancholy, and stomach-churningly gory... This is a sturdy and crowd-pleasing novel that squarely hits its target." (Publishers Weekly )

"A hair-raising quest ... Zito expertly piles on thrills, cliffhangers and numerous twists ..." (The Guardian (UK) )

"An overload of thrills, spills and adventure." (The Sun (UK) )

"V.M. Zito manages to do away with many of the most common elements of the zombie novels...some books of this ilk lurch from scenario to scenario like levels in a videogame, but here it's all done smoothly...enjoyable." (SFX )

'Zombies, action, and overlapping schemes make this a sure winner.'

Best Horror Novel of 2011 ( )

"Unputdownable ... A page-turning, action packed, well-crafted debut novel that will take your breath away. Highly recommended." (The Founding Fields )

". . . a perfectly balanced layer cake of action and horror . . . This is a stunning debut and matches the feelings I had when I first read the likes of World War Z and Hater . . . you are unlikely to experience a better crafted and adrenalin fuelled thrill ride than V.M. Zito's novel The Return Man." (Liberation Frequency )

About the Author

V.M. Zito resides in Connecticut, USA with his wife and daughter. When not writing, he spends his weekdays working as Creative Director at a New England ad agency and his weekends running on forested trails. THE RETURN MAN is his first novel.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1977 KB
  • Print Length: 439 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B007BCRIF0
  • Publisher: Orbit (April 1, 2012)
  • Publication Date: April 1, 2012
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0073J66N6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #377,385 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Spoiler free review here!

Simply put: I love end-of-the-world stories. Obviously so do numerous others.

So, last Friday, when I saw this book in my local bookstore, I was excited by the cover and the blurb. But I had no idea it was a zombie novel. Not until I began the first chapter did I learn this.

OK. No biggie. I've read my fair share of zombie novels by the best writers. (And some I didn't care for like others.)

Bottom line: Despite some issues I had while reading this novel, V. M. Zito grabbed my attention from the get-go, and never let up till the end. THAT in itself is a great accomplishment for a debut author. Kudos there!

Zito's writing in this genre was pretty solid, and had loads of action which I love. But it also had solid characterization, not just good guys with big muscles and big guns blowing away zombies. It is a bit more involved than that. But the pacing is outstanding. Lots of different situations when the main character, Dr. Henry Marco, along with a very badass Chinese spy, Kheng 'Ken' Wu, go on a dangerous quest for a corrupt CIA agent, deep within the badlands of California, which is now part of the western region of the US, now known as the Evacuated States, where zombie run rampant in a ravaged wasteland. The eastern states are now called the Safe Haven, where this dark shadowy agent hires Dr. Marco to find his old working acquaintance, a madman scientist genius named Roger Ballard.

This scientist may not only hold the key to the zombie virus, but may have the answers to stop the spread. But Marco must not only make it there from his homebase in Arizona, with zombies running rampant everywhere, but penetrate a huge prison facility where the mad scientist is holed up.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a fun book. There are some books I read that strike me so strongly as a story that would translate well into a movie. The Return Man is one of those movies. I read a lot in this genre. I love survivalist, end of society and end of world books. When I saw this title I grabbed it because it fits everything I love about an action novel. And it did not disappoint. The Return Man had me not wanting to put it down and had me thinking about the world created between its pages long after I finished.

The Return Man begins several years after the western part of the United States has fallen and succumbed to a zombie plague. The government and society has retreated to east of the Mississippi; everything west of the Mississippi has been evacuated and abandoned. The zombie plague is focused only in the USA, other countries have not (yet) experienced it. (I wasn't clear if Mexico or Canada had been effected and if not ..... why or what they were doing.) The main character of the story lives in Arizona in the house he lived in with his wife before the fall. He has fortified it and is able to jump off satellite connections and communicate with a relative living in the "safe states". The Return Man is an interesting and different take on the zombie plague compared to what I have read before. Zombies are referred to as "corpses" and they are not completely mindless. The corpses are like most zombies -- not complex and not thinking roving beings but they retain some reflexive memory of places and actions. This is explained in the book in a scientific way - - the stronger the emotional connection to a place or action, the more embedded it is in the brain and only that is retained. So a corpse will return to locations that it had a strong emotional connection to. Why is this important?
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Most readers and viewers of the zombie experience are familiar with the meandering, apparently "mindless" shuffling of the resurrected dead; indeed, this portrayal is so universal, most never question why the zombies stay in one place or why they sometimes seem to roam. But what if there were still some remnant of a memory flickering deep inside that mindless body that served as a beacon to keep it in a specific place or to compel it to return to a specific place in memory, such as home, workplace, or favorite vacation spot? This is one of the intriguing foundations of V.M. Zito's "The Return Man" which suggests that an emotional link buried somewhere deep in a resurrected zombie compels it to seek that place in memory.

Building on this foundation, Dr. Henry Marco has become "The Return Man", a kind of zombie hitman in a post-apocalyptic America, who accepts pay from human survivors living in the "safe states" East of the Mississippi, to hunt down loved ones who have been resurrected as zombies in the vast wasteland of the Western US which has experienced a Zombie Plague and is now a dangerous and deadly occupation zone for the undead. Marco uses information supplied by the living to hunt down and ultimately "kill" their zombie loved ones in an effort to provide some modicum of peace and finality to both parties. But Dr. Marco is also part of the "walking dead" in his own way as he is an emotionally damaged man haunted and mentally imprisoned by the death of his young daughter and the apparent loss/disappearance of his wife who lives in a crafted set of precarious memories in his feverish mind as he constantly seeks her body, living or dead, to "return" her, if necessary.
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