Return Man by V M Zito

Return Man cover

a review by Jade Hounsell

The USA has been divided into two; the East has become a safe haven from the West, which is now a wasteland filled with the resurrected dead and called by the survivors, the Evacuated States.

Henry Marco is a former neurologist and by choice has chosen to live the last four years, since the outbreak, in the Evacuated States. He had his reasons for staying during the evacuation; he found his wife’s crashed, blood-soaked car at the start of the outbreak and all he wants to do is find and return her.

Marco makes a ‘living’ by being the ‘Return Man’, which entails Marco’s brother-in-law, who lives in the East, finding grieving relatives and then Marco hunting them down and makes them permanently dead, or as he puts it, Returned.

Marco has just gotten back from a job when he is contacted by Homeland Security (yep they are still kicking along) whom have taken Marco’s brother-in-law hostage as leverage till he accepts a job from them. They want Marco to hunt down scientist Roger Ballard, (whom may have found the cure for the Resurrection disease and have it in his DNA), get a blood sample and return him.

Sounds simple enough, however the US Government isn’t the only one after Ballard and the starting point is California, where the apocalypse began. This job is going to test Marco like he has never been tested before, not only does he have to find his man with a team of soldiers (remember he has been by himself for 4 years), but he also has to deal with a spy and a group of radicals called the Horsemen whom want to find Ballard and sell the cure to the highest bidder. Will Marco succeed when the odds are really not in his favour? (Sorry, cross reference, just read the Hunger Games….)

Now I really have just given you the bare bones of what this book is about, I suppose you could say it is the core of the main plot but there are just so many little twists and turns along the way that it would take me ages (or pages) to list them all. I think that by telling you everything that happens would also take away all of the excitement of actually reading this book and, let me say, I really, really recommend that you read it. I powered through this book in two days as I couldn’t put it down, just wanting, no needing is a better way of saying it, to know what was going to happen next.

There is political drama, a bit of a love story, action aplenty, spies, some medical stuff and, best of all, zombies aplenty. So, in my mind at least, there really is something for just about anyone and everyone. Oh and there is a nice interview with the author at the back of the book giving a bit of insight as well.