Review: The Returned by Jason Mott

Title: The Returned

Author: Jason Mott

Published: Harlequin September 2013

Read an Extract or Listen to the first chapter from Audible narrated by Tom Stechsculte

Status: Read from August 30 to 31, 2013 — I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

I first learned about The Returned when I attended the Harlequin Summit in February and I have been waiting impatiently for its release ever since. Jason Mott’s debut novel poses explores a compelling premise, what if the people you once loved, and lost, come back?

Nearly fifty years after Harold and Lucille’s son drowned tragically on his eighth birthday, Jacob is Returned to them having been found alongside a river bank in China. Their son is just one of many who have returned from the dead, as bewildered by their resurrection as are the ‘True Living’, with no memory of their passing or their absence.

The world is torn, are the Returned a miracle or a sign of ‘the end of days’? An infection or a blessing? People or monsters?  While some welcome the reunion with their loved ones, others shun them. Fear, jealousy, even resentment and regret amongst some of the ‘True Living’ engenders outbreaks of protests and violence. The American government, unable to explain the phenomena, eventually responds by segregating The Returned, housing them in increasingly overcrowded guarded camps.

The Hargraves’ story of Jacob’s Return is intertwined with tales from other Returned individuals including an artist whose fame came only posthumously, a cluster of Nazi soldiers, a family man and a girl murdered in war torn Sierra Leone. These snippets provide additional perspective and mystery.

For some readers the lack of explanation about the how’s and the why’s of the Returned may be a source of frustration but I was pleased that Mott didn’t attempt to make sense of it. There are more important questions to be asked and answered about ‘faith and morality, love and responsibility’, about humanity and the meaning of life. I was impressed by the way in which Mott navigated issues like religion and more prosaic concerns like the strain on resources resulting from a population explosion.

The Returned is a remarkable, captivating read and its questions will haunt you long after you have turned the last page. If your loved one was Returned to you, what would you do?

Available to purchase From

HarlequinBooksAU Booktopia I AmazonKindle

AmazonUS I AmazonUK I BookDepository

Download The Returned prequels FREE for a limited time only from

(click the covers}

Watch the trailer – it is amazing!

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20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. gargoylebruce
    Sep 02, 2013 @ 18:54:08

    Oh good, I’m glad you enjoyed this one…I’ve got it on hold at the library and I just saw a very lukewarm review of it the other day. It had me worried! Now I’m a bit more relieved…hopefully I’ll enjoy it too :)


  2. Kate Belle
    Sep 02, 2013 @ 21:44:12

    I’ve been waiting on your review of this one too. I love the sound of it saw it via a book topic blogpost and its on my must read list.


  3. Deb Nance at Readerbuzz
    Sep 02, 2013 @ 21:57:48

    An interesting premise. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about it!


  4. Silver's Reviews
    Sep 02, 2013 @ 23:15:44

    Great review. It is captivating and a bit eerie, but I enjoyed the book.

    THANKS for sharing your thoughts and for stopping by my blog earlier.

    Silver’s Reviews
    My It’s Monday, What Are You Reading


  5. Diana Leigh
    Sep 03, 2013 @ 00:07:18

    Fantastic review! I’m so intrigued by this one.


  6. Patty
    Sep 03, 2013 @ 01:44:41

    I have to read this soon! Sooner than soon!


  7. Belle Read
    Sep 03, 2013 @ 04:23:24

    I can’t believe that I haven’t seen this one before now. It sounds like my kind of read. Thank you for the introduction and great review.


  8. cleopatralovesbooks
    Sep 03, 2013 @ 15:21:58

    This is the third review I’ve read of this book and each one makes me want to read it more…


  9. The Australian Bookshelf
    Sep 03, 2013 @ 17:42:27

    Wow, I had a completely different experience of this book to you. I couldn’t connect with the characters at all and so I didn’t find it an enjoyable read.


    • shelleyrae @ Book'd Out
      Sep 04, 2013 @ 13:40:22

      I’ve seen that said a couple of times Lauren. For me though Harold and Lucille reminded me of my grandparents in terms of their personalities and relationship and also because they too lost a child, and I couldn’t help but wonder of they would react in the same ways.


  10. Melinda
    Sep 03, 2013 @ 18:50:32

    I wish I picked this one off Netgalley!


  11. kristinshafel
    Sep 04, 2013 @ 05:05:30

    Yours is the second or third positive review of this one! Now I think I have to add to my TBR :) Thanks!


  12. Tracey @ TheGreatUnread
    Sep 04, 2013 @ 17:14:11

    Did you read the prequels before the book? I’ve listened to them (free download via and they were an interesting lead in to the book (which I haven’t read yet). I have been wondering whether they are the start of the story (well, ‘The First’ is about the first returned, so apart from that) planned by the author or part of an elaborate marketing campaign/teaser.


    • shelleyrae @ Book'd Out
      Sep 05, 2013 @ 01:53:53

      I did Tracey, the prequels are similar to the individual tales entwined in the narrative of The Returned. Though not the start of the story, they are part of the story.


  13. Teddyree
    Sep 09, 2013 @ 15:01:24

    Great review Shelleyrae, my review goes up tomorrow. I found it thought provoking and I liked the emotions it evoked.


  14. Trackback: The Returned by Jason Mott | Ton of Worms

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