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Sunday 4 January 2015

‘The Return’ by Michael Gruber

Published by Corvus Press,
5 June 2014.

Richard Marder has just been told that he has a brain tumour. With only a short time to live, he decides to return to Mexico, to punish the criminal boss whose actions, years ago, ruined his life.

This is a fast-moving action novel, with all the expected chases, fights, guns, stand-offs, and unexpected plots twists. Marder is a hero we can sympathise with; he made a mistake in the past with his wife, which has separated him from his son, but he has a good, if distant, relationship with his daughter, the determined Statch, who is the novel’s main female protagonist. Now Marder is a book editor, but flashbacks of his Vietnam past show what he was once capable of. His self-destructive ‘Nam partner, Skelly, comes with him on his quest for vengeance, making the first part of the book a road movie. The action then builds into war against the bad guys once Mexico is reached.

A real page-turner, with good characters and plenty of action; definitely one for a boring journey.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

Michael Gruber was born and raised in New York City, and educated in its public schools. He went to Columbia, earning a BA in English literature.. After college he did editorial work at various small magazines in New York, and then went back to school at City College and got the equivalent of a second BA, in biology. After that he went to the University of Miami and got a masters in marine biology. In 1968-69 he was in the U. S. Army as a medic.  He went to Washington DC in 1977, and worked in the Carter White House, Office of Science and Technology Policy. Then worked in the Environmental Protection Agency as a policy analyst and also as the speechwriter for the Administrator. In 1986, he was promoted to the Senior Executive Service of the U.S., the highest level of the federal civil service. That same year, Robert K. Tanenbaum contacted him and asked him to write a courtroom thriller to be published under his name. Since then he have also written the first fifteen novels in the popular Butch Karp and Marlene series.
In 1988 he left Washington, D.C. and settled in Seattle, where he worked as a speechwriter and environmental expert for the state land commissioner. His first novel under my own name, Tropic Of Night, was published in 2003 (William Morrow) and a second novel, Valley Of Bones, as well as a children's book The Witch's Boy (Harper Collins) came out in 2005. He is married, with three grown children.

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

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