Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Book Review & Giveaway: The Returned by Jason Mott

Release Date: 8//27/13
Author: Jason Mott
Series: The Returned
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Provided By: The Publisher at Book Expo America 2013
Jacob was time out of sync, time more perfect than it had been. He was life the way it was supposed to be all those years ago. That's what all the Returned were.

Harold and Lucille Hargrave's lives have been both joyful and sorrowful in the decades since their only son, Jacob, died tragically at his eighth birthday party in 1966. In their old age they've settled comfortably into life without him, their wounds tempered through the grace of time ... Until one day Jacob mysteriously appears on their doorstep—flesh and blood, their sweet, precocious child, still eight years old.

All over the world people's loved ones are returning from beyond. No one knows how or why this is happening, whether it's a miracle or a sign of the end. Not even Harold and Lucille can agree on whether the boy is real or a wondrous imitation, but one thing they know for sure: he's their son. As chaos erupts around the globe, the newly reunited Hargrave family finds itself at the center of a community on the brink of collapse, forced to navigate a mysterious new reality and a conflict that threatens to unravel the very meaning of what it is to be human.

With spare, elegant prose and searing emotional depth, award-winning poet Jason Mott explores timeless questions of faith and morality, love and responsibility. A spellbinding and stunning debut, The Returned is an unforgettable story that marks the arrival of an important new voice in contemporary fiction.


Mott also has published companion novelettes to The Returned. Each book tells the story of a returned from a different perspective. I read The First before The Returned and like any great companion book, it really added to my reading experience. At a price of FREE-Fifty-FREE* for your e-reader, what's not to love?

(*99 cents is the suggested retail price, but as of this writing they are free on Amazon and B&N)

Jason Mott lives in southeastern North Carolina. He has a BFA in Fiction and an MFA in Poetry, both from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. His poetry and fiction has appeared in various journals such as Prick of the Spindle, The Thomas Wolfe Review, The Kakalak Anthology of Carolina Poets, Measure and Chautauqua. 
He was nominated for a 2009 Pushcart Prize award and Entertainment Weekly listed him as one of their 10 “New Hollywood: Next Wave” people to watch.

He is the author of two poetry collections: We Call This Thing Between Us Love and “…hide behind me…” The Returned is his first novel.

The Returned has been optioned by Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B, in association with Brillstein Entertainment and ABC. It will air in March, 2014 on the ABC network under the title “Resurrection."


So, good news for book adaptation fans! The Returned has been picked up by ABC (and renamed Resurrection) and will hit small screens near you May14th, 2014. (So far away!)
Check out the trailer below. It's great!

Most of us have felt the incredible pain of loss. Wishing, dreaming, begging for just one more day, hour or minute with our loved one. Mott poses such a scenario in The Returned. Would such a reunion soothe our pain? Assuage our guilt? Curb our loneliness? Or would we just like to keep it all in the past, carefully covered up?
So, one day people start coming back from the dead. Not coming back zombie-style, mind you, they are completely intact and relatively normal. They try to go to work, go home, see their families, all parts of their normal routine, except...they have been dead. Naturally, their family, friends and co-workers faint, scream, cry and generally freak-out upon seeing them.
But, theoretically, this would be amazing, right? You could see your long-lost loved ones again. Sometimes many years after their passing, some just months later. No more moving on, no more sorrow, a wonderful miracle, theoretically...
In reality, it's weird and people feel uneasy around the returned. They just don't know what to make of them or what to believe. In a spiritual sense, this goes against everything anyone has ever known. Are the returned sent by God or the devil? How can you pick right back up again with your loved one when they have been gone for so long or when you have just picked up the pieces and started over? Loss is a part of life and as devastating as it is, we do have the capacity to keep living. What if that were turned upside down?
Practically, the returned present another problem. What are we going to do with all of these new people? Some are lucky enough to be reunited with their families, but some have no family or friends left in the world. They are scared and alone. However, towns can't support them, the economy can't support them. We don't have the space or the food supply for everyone who has ever died to come back to Earth.
The already-living face these emotional and practical problems in a variety of ways ranging from acceptance to anger. The governments of the world (and the U.S. in particular) take matters into their own hands to handle the problem of the returned.
The Returned is a breathtaking novel that poses interesting questions. Mott's style reminded me of a poetic Stephen King. One of the things I love about King's writing is his ability to get inside the heads of even his most minor characters in such a way that immerses the reader even further into the story. Jason Mott has this talent as well. The Returned is told from multiple POV's and I felt attached to each of his characters. The arc of The Returned was perfect, with small details being presented in the beginning, then leading to a huge climax and a well wrapped-up ending that leaves you thinking. The Returned will definitely be one of the most talked about books of the year, if not for some time to come.

So, I'm sure you can't wait to dig into The Returned for yourself. Well, you're in the right place, Steph's Stacker! Thanks to the ever-awesome Harlequin MIRA, we have not one, but TWO copies of The Returned for two lucky winners!
So, get your tweet on and enter now! Good luck!
(Giveaway for US and Canadian residents only)
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Jason Mott is one of the authors scheduled to speak at the BookMarks Book Festival in Winston-Salem, NC on September 7th. I'm looking forward to hearing him talk about The Returned.

    1. I'm so jealous. I got to meet him at BEA, but there was no time for chit chat. Plus, I hadn't read The Returned yet, so I would love to hear him speak after having read it! I thought it was a great book, In case you couldn't tell. Have fun! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Wow, I had no idea this book was going to be made into a TV show. I really like the premise of this book and I'm glad you liked it.

  3. I finally got around to checking out Amazon for the 3 novelettes and noticed that the audiobook versions on Audible were also 0.00.

  4. Thanks for the info. I should buy Jason's Novel.
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