Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Return

Expiation. The protagonist of Michael Gruber’s novel, The Return, may well be the most fully formed complex character that I’ve enjoyed in a novel in many years. Richard Marder is a book editor who is reconciled to dying from an inoperable brain tumor. The manner in which he places his affairs in order provides the plot for a thrilling novel. Marder buys a home in the Mexican town where his late wife and her family lived. His plan is to bury his wife’s ashes in her hometown. He travels to Mexico with a Vietnam War comrade, Patrick Francis Skelly, and they find themselves in the middle of conflict between two drug cartels. Gruber presents alternating peace and violence in Marder with great care, and the kindness and benevolence Marder shows to the people of the community provides an added level of depth. Marder’s daughter, Carmel, leaves her doctoral program at MIT and tracks him down in Mexico, joining his effort to build a sustainable community free from the violence of the criminals. The tension remains taut throughout the novel which will appeal to those readers who enjoy thrillers. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase The Return from amazon.com.

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