Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Book Review | The Return by Joseph Helmreich

The Return is a science fiction thriller from Joseph Helmreich.

Years after a scientist is abducted on live TV, a graduate student tracks down the mysteriously returned, yet reclusive man, ultimately uncovering a global conspiracy.

During a live television broadcast on the night of a lunar eclipse, renowned astrophysicist Andrew Leland is suddenly lifted into the sky by a giant spacecraft and taken away for all to see. Six years later, he turns up, wandering in a South American desert, denying ever having been abducted and disappears from the public eye.

Meanwhile, he inspires legions of cultish devotees, including a young physics graduate student named Shawn Ferris who is obsessed with finding out what really happened to him. When Shawn finally tracks Leland down, he discovers that he's been on the run for years, continuously hunted by a secret organization that has pursued him across multiple continents, determined to force him into revealing what he knows.

Shawn soon joins Leland on the run. Though Leland is at first reluctant to reveal anything, Shawn will soon learn the truth about his abduction, the real reason for his return, and will find himself caught up in a global conspiracy that puts more than just one planet in danger.

Equal parts science-fiction and globe-hopping thriller, The Return will appeal to fans of both, and to anyone who has ever wondered... what's out there?

If you are a fan of Blake Crouch's Dark Matter, you might want to put Joseph Helmreich's The Return on your radar. Like Dark Matter, The Return is filled with hard, heavy science, but it's completely accessible. You don't have to understand it in order to enjoy the events that are taking place. I appreciate novels that don't fit neatly into a genre box. The Return spans across science fiction, mystery, and thriller so if you are a lot like me and love reading all three genres, this is a book to be excited about.

It's not just the genre-crossing that makes The Return an unexpected read, though. The story itself is unpredictable in a great way.

I'm excited to learn The Return is Helmreich's debut novel. I will be keeping an eye out for what comes next.

7/10: Recommended Read

Review copy provided by author


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  1. Ooo! Sounds very interesting.

  2. I really enjoyed this one! For a book with so much quantum physics and science thrown at my face, I had a shockingly good time :)

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    1. Right? I'm really liking these science thrillers.

  3. I loved Dark Matter so maybe I need to get this... plus I remember seeing a review for it earlier and it sounded really cool. adding this one... thanks!

  4. This looks really good. Is there a thriller aspect to it? I miss good old science based thrillers like Jurassic Park.

    1. Yes! You know, I was trying to think if there was a genre behind science thrillers and Jurassic Park is exactly what came to mind. I wouldn't really compare this to Crichton, though. I think a book like Preston & Child's Relic would be a good Jurassic Park style read. I really miss those books, too. But this is a good read! I hope to see a resurgence in the science thrillers.

    2. I was thinking on my commute this morning what other science thrillers I've read, and Layton Green is a another author. I wrote a review for The Egyptian (6 years ago!) and compared it heavily to Crichton.

      None of this is to dissuade you from reading The Return, though. I'm hoping we get treated to more books like this one. I do love the science. :)

  5. I'll be keeping an eye out for this book...I love that magic combination of science and mystery and suspense. I also think it's hard to find books that have all that that are also well-written and...good. So I'm glad to know about this one. Thanks! :)

    1. Do look out for this one! I completely agree. :)


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