The Returned

The Returned by Jason Mott Review

Have you ever lost a loved one? Whether it was a car accident, a long drawn out illness, or just the years slipped away and so did they, there is always a feeling of loss, of sadness, of wishing for just one more moment so you could say a final I love you.

In 1966 Harold and Lucille’s only child, their son Jacob, slipped away from his birthday party and drowned in the river not far from their home. Harold and all the people at the birthday party spread out to search, which went on for hours. Finally, with dread in his heart, Harold is searching by the river, calling his son’s name, when he spots him floating, dead. Cradled in his arms, Harold carries his cold, dead son home to his wife.

After the heartbreak of losing their only child, and with no hope to have another, Harold and Lucille slowly over the years learn to cope with their loss. Harold turns from religion, and seeks solace in hard work. Lucille turns to god and her large extended family to help her through.

The years pass, as years will, and now Harold and Lucille are many decades older, still together and still feeling the loss of their beloved son Jacob. A knock at the door of their old farmhouse is about to change everything that Harold and Lucille know, feel and think because on the other side of that door is their 8 year old son Jacob, returned.

This is not an isolated event, it is happening world wide. People of all ages, whether they were murdered like the Wilson family, drowned like Jacob or died peacefully, are all coming back. They have been labeled the Returned and no one can figure out what is going on. Is it a miracle from god? Is it a trick of the devil? Are they really even alive? Or for that matter are they even real?

As more and more of the Returned show up world wide, rumors and anxiety start to grow quickly. How many Returned are going to show up and what is their purpose? And now some of the Returned are disappearing just as abruptly as they arrived…

Great characters get woven into this wonderfully worded story. I could not put this book down! I was left guessing right up to the end as to the intent of the Returned and what was going to happen to them.

Very suspenseful, humorous in spots, and it really really made me think.

This is a powerful debut novel from Jason Mott and I will definitely be looking for more of his work. I recommend this book for anyone who likes a good strong story with solid, realistic characters and a mixture of suspense, humor and thought provoking questions.

I received my copy through GoodReads and my review was unsolicited.

The Keeper of Dawn

The Keeper of the Dawn by J.B. Hickman Review

When Jacob Hawthorne is sent to Wellington Academy it was absolutely not what he wanted. Jacob feels he was sent away so he could not spend as much time with his grandfather whom his parents blame for Jacob’s older brother leaving. Wellington started with the campus at Eastbridge but it is no longer there and instead they are stuck on Raker Island, apart from everyone and everything. The only access for most is by ferry, unless you happen to be Governor Forsythe who travels by helicopter.

On Jacob’s first day, disappointed yet again by his father, he wanders away from the opening day ceremonies. Wandering off to the clock tower, part of the original hotel that is now the academy, he comes across Governor Forsythe’s trouble making son Chris, and his buddy Roland Van Belle the third, disrupting all by ringing the bell 27 times. Although Jacob was only an onlooker to the bell ringing, he was punished as well.

Soon Jacob, Chris, Roland and Derek Mayhew, another young man sent to Wellington Academy by his parents, are known around the school as the Headliners. None of the boys feel they measure up to what their parents want and expect from them and all resent being sent away to boarding school.

As the school year progresses, the boys become involved in doing what they can to disrupt the smooth flow of the school. When a presidential debate involving Chris’ father is scheduled to take place at the school, the other boys know Chris is going to do something to disrupt the proceedings, they are just not sure what.

When Jacob suffers a crisis, his friends are the only ones who can help. They all understand that if they help, they will probably be sent off to other schools but they will not desert Jacob in his time of need.

I found this book at first difficult to get into. It seemed to move slowly and rather predictably. After a few chapters the story picked up and moved along at a much better pace. The characters were well formed and interesting, the setting  had history and style and the story was well written and had a few unexpected surprises. An interesting addition to the coming of age books available.

 

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