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The Return Man

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  1,245 Ratings  ·  200 Reviews
The outbreak tore the USA in two. The east remains a safe haven. The west has become a ravaged wilderness, known by survivors as the Evacuated States. It is here that Henry Marco makes his living. Hired by grieving relatives, he tracks down the dead and delivers peace.

Now Homeland Security wants Marco for a mission unlike any other. He must return to California, where the
Mass Market Paperback, 416 pages
Published April 1st 2012 by Orbit (first published January 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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3.5 Stars.
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 af
Jan 05, 2012 Lou rated it really liked it
Before the Resurrection they all had normal lives and families, when all went to the undead their roles and priorities changed. One man Marco, changed completely, once a renowned Doctor hes now a hired Hitman to execute the undead. Returns them, for their families, back to dead as they should not be walking the earth undead. It is a task that requires emotional detachment and one that Marco the marksman has developed on. There are many things he had left behind one being his wife, four years now ...more
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)
You may also read my review here:

Henry Marco, former neurologist, is now a gun for hire in the wastelands of what used to be the western US (the Evacuated States). His business partner and former brother in law lives in the east, in the area deemed safe by the government, the New Republicans. Days are spent tracking lost relatives and giving them the peace that their family members desire, with the memory of his wife haunting his every step. Haunted, yes,
Milo (BOK)
Original Post:

It didn’t take much convincing to get me hooked on The Return Man, VM Zito’s first foray into the realm of the writing industry. First of all – the appearance of zombies, and as you know if you’ve been following TFF for a while, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan. In fact, although I haven’t recently read many of zombie fiction (to see which zombie-related books that I’ve reviewed, click on the tag at the bottom of the review labelled zombies.)
Jan 21, 2013 Paul rated it really liked it

It is here that Henry Marco makes his living. Hired by grieving relatives, he tracks down the dead and delivers peace.

Now Homeland Security wants Marco, for a mission unlike any other. He must return to California, where the apocalypse began. Where a secret is hidden. And where his own tragic past waits to punish him again. But in the wastelands of America,
Sep 21, 2013 Lainy rated it really liked it
Time taken to read - 3 days

Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton

Blurb from Goodreads

The outbreak tore the USA in two. The east remains a safe haven. The west has become a ravaged wilderness, known by survivors as the Evacuated States. It is here that Henry Marco makes his living. Hired by grieving relatives, he tracks down the dead and delivers peace.

Now Homeland Security wants Marco for a mission unlike any other. He must return to California, where the apocalypse began. Where a secret is hidden.
Aug 14, 2012 Ryandake rated it liked it
just about the only internal organ that doesn't ever become external in this book is a uterus.

the guts! the gore! the slime! the pus! the ...... ya, the list of icky goes on and on.

but it's still, in a way, a kind of fun read for zombie fans. the premise is way cool: a zombie virus begun on the US west coast has worked its way eastward and been stopped only at the Mississippi River. the US abandons the midwest and the west and goes on about its business, after absorbing the non-infected refugees
Matthew Davenport
May 23, 2012 Matthew Davenport rated it it was amazing
The Return Man has brought the concept of zombies back from the dead, for me at least. I was getting tired of all the stories that were all identical with the same plots, the same types of protagonists and no real story telling. "Let's just shoot some zombies" had become a way if life for zombie writers, and then, along came V. M. Zito, who decided to actually write a story about a character that you could relate to, that had depth, and that was Henry Marco. This story follows a former surgeon n ...more
Marie Sexton
Apr 04, 2013 Marie Sexton rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book. It's obscenely violent and gory, but hey, it's about zombies! What else would you expect? What surprised me was the depth of the characters and the quality of the writing. Much better (IMO) than most other zombie fiction. So glad I picked this one up!
Tim Martin
Aug 28, 2012 Tim Martin rated it really liked it
Yes it is a zombie novel. Yes I know that zombies seem to be everywhere on the big screen, on the small screen, in comics, and in novels. They are I guess the new "it girl" of monsters, with the star of vampires fading somewhat (are vampires really even scary anymore, 30 Days of Night and the vampire Nathaniel Cade in Christopher Farnsworth's novels aside?). One can aruge that can be quite interesting if not scary, but well, that is not the topic to be discussed here.

I need to admit up front I
L.D. Rose
Aug 28, 2012 L.D. Rose rated it it was amazing
Wow, I honestly cannot even begin to express how much I love this book. From beginning to end, it grabbed me by the throat and never let go. I absolutely fell in love with Henry Marco from the moment I met him (okay, him being a physician had a little to do with it ;)) and his character is fleshed out so so well and I just had to know his story.

I won’t reiterate the premise, but Marco is contracted by surviving family members to hunt and kill their zombified loved ones. He brings back trinkets w
Mar 04, 2016 Drew rated it it was amazing
The Return Man is a zombie book, set in the USA after a fast spreading virus turns people into zombies causing countless casualties, the Eastern part of the US is then quarantined with most of the survivors left alive being there, called The Safe States. The Western part of the US is where the zombies rule and only a few survivors remain, called The Evacuated States, with the lead character of the title ‘The Return Man’ being one of them.

The main character is Dr Henry Marco who in simple terms ‘
Richard Kearney
Oct 11, 2012 Richard Kearney rated it really liked it
V.M. Zito's first novel, The Return Man, is a well-paced, well-written, and compelling entry in the zombie fiction genre. While it features many elements that will be familiar to zombie fans in terms of plot, setting, and characterization - not to mention abundant quantities of gory details! - the novel maintains an energetic freshness that will hold readers' interest. It even manages to throw in a few new twists.

A few years after a massive rising of the undead has rendered all of the United Sta
Feb 13, 2014 Kym rated it liked it
I admit to a weakness for Zombie books, just can't resist them for some reason. The Return Man was a fun read, a slightly different take on the trope.

The United States is split into the Safe States (the portion of the US to the East of the Mississippi River) and the Evacuated States (West of the Mississippi). Guess which one is full of Zombies? :)

In the Evacuated States, our protagonist Henry Marco lives in Arizona. He acts as a kind of Zombie bounty hunter. Tracking down loved ones for surviv
Brian Taylor
May 13, 2015 Brian Taylor rated it liked it
2.5 stars from me. Too often zombie books have thin plots. Authors rely too heavily on their character, or characters, simply surviving. I found that to be the case in Return Man. On page 125 I found myself not caring about the main character. His job, if you can call it that, is to hunt down zombies for people and kill them so they don't have to worry about their flesh eating loved ones suffering anymore. Marco chose to stay in the quarantine zone and now wishes he hadn't. He wants to find his ...more
Ryan Mishap
Apr 19, 2012 Ryan Mishap rated it did not like it
Siiiigggghhhh. There's a certain kind of science fiction or action nove--almost exclusively written by me--where the prose is stultifying and inappropriately detailed (when I'm fighting zombies, my thoughts usually drift back to when I met my wife or what my father once told me...and the strangely discolored intestine looped around the thing's legs, just like the garden hose around my mother's legs that summer I joined the marines and trained on XJ-75 Lightning Kill Machines with titanium bolts, ...more
Jun 06, 2014 Chuck rated it did not like it
Yet another zombie novel, in which the United States has been afflicted with a plague of the undead. Everything west of the Mississippi has been cordoned off and abandoned to the zombies. Henry Marco has stayed behind, working as a contract killer who "kills" zombies so that they can have their final peace. He is given the task of making his way from his home in Arizona to a prison in California where a vaccine against the zombie disease can be found.

"The Return Man" is structured like a video g
Katharine (Ventureadlaxre)
Mar 13, 2012 Katharine (Ventureadlaxre) rated it really liked it
Shelves: review, read-2012
‘The Return Man’ by V. M. Zito is a dystopian adventure set in America in the year 2018. Zombies have taken claim to half of America, leaving the East safe and a stronghold. No one, not even though ‘un-infected’ are allowed in.

We meet Henry Marco, a man who has remained out in the Evacuated States instead of obeying the call to retreat to the Safe States the Government managed to defend. He’s out there with a few million zombies, making a living by communicating with his brother-in-law (in the S
Sep 06, 2013 Katrin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Grandios! Ich hab lange nicht mehr so ein spannendes Buch gelesen.

Zombies, sehr guter Schreibstil, Action und Überraschungen. Kann es jedem nur empfehlen, wenn er Zombies mag.

Ich hoffe wirlich auf eine Fortsetzung.
Emma Sea
Very gripping and evocative writing style, ruined for me by a doofus MC and a basic premise I simply cannot believe (no, not the zombies: Marco's job).

And one word, dude: crossbow.
Kevin W
Jan 30, 2015 Kevin W rated it it was ok
Not as good as I had hoped.
Aug 07, 2015 Dave rated it it was amazing
A fantastic book!!! There needs to be a 2nd book!!!
Dec 12, 2012 AudioBookReviewer rated it really liked it
Please find my review here:
Dec 27, 2014 Aileen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Das Ende
I'm about 75 pages in and I think this is going to be a good zombie book--not an all out gorefest but something with plot! Even if a good deal of the plot (the main character's occupation)seems to have been lifted from Jonathan Maberry's Benny Imura books. I read a LOT of zombie fiction and that occupation was one of the truly original things I'd encountered. Until now.

I'm finding some of the British/Canadian/Australian(?) spellings are throwing me right out of the narrative. For a supposedly bo
Dena Mckenzie
Feb 12, 2017 Dena Mckenzie rated it really liked it
4.5 Really enjoyed this classic zombie apocalypse story.
The Return Man is set in a barely future U.S. in which some sort of zombie plague has broken out and the country has been cut in half by a retaining wall at the Mississippi River. Our daring main character is a neurologist by training, but refused to evacuate due to personal reasons, and now passes his time hunting down other people's loved ones and delivering final death to them (Wait, does this sound like Rot Ruin? I hated that.)

The book opens with Marco up in a tree blind having searched for
Sean the Bookonaut
Mar 18, 2012 Sean the Bookonaut rated it really liked it
The Return Man is V.M.Zito’s debut novel. It’s a curious, entertaining mix of zombie apocalyptic fiction and military thriller.

The story

A contagion has rendered half the US a dead zone where zombies roam free.

Our protagonist Henry Marco is the Return Man. He’s paid by relatives or friends of the “zombified”, living in the safe states of the US, to “return” them or kill their zombie form.

Zombies retain some memory of their previous lives, “emotional geography” Marco calls it and it enables him to
Henry is one of the few people alive in the zombie wastelands, looking for his missing wife, and being hired by grieving families to have their zombie relatives put to rest. Now the government have found out about him and they want to hire him to track down a doctor who was working in a prison lab to find a cure-and they won't take no for an answer. Henry and his military escort have a dangerous journey ahead and Henry is not aware that his escort is actually a Chinese agent who plans to kill hi ...more
Carrie Slager
Jan 01, 2013 Carrie Slager rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-bought

I honestly can’t decide which book I love the most: Feed by Mira Grant or The Return Man by V. M. Zito. And for those of you who know how much I loved Feed, you’ll know that that’s the best comparison I can give. This is the best book I’ve read in the past few months and is a fitting start to my reading challenge.

Marco is living in the Evacuated States, working as a return man, someone who kills the zombies of people who hire him. The logic behind this is that no one wants to know their lov
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Night of the Livi...: November 2012 Selection: The Return Man 1 7 Jan 04, 2014 05:54PM  
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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 trails. THE RETURN MAN is his first novel.
More about V.M. Zito...

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