Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

This thrilling crime fiction story will keep you turning pages until you find out what in the world is going on. And then, you will be shocked several times over before you get there.

About the Book

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Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3srsYQa
Amazon UK: https://amzn.eu/d/iwgHZBE
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/125957858-the-returned

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When she re-lives this night, over and over, Nancy will wonder if she’d just gone upstairs a few minutes earlier, what might have been…

A devastating fire.

A grieving mother.

A picture-perfect village full of dark secrets.

And now, a son who has seemingly come back from the dead.

A detective called back to her hometown, back to the memories she thought she’d left behind…

An electrifying novel from a compelling new voice in Irish crime fiction, for fans of Liz Nugent and Claire Mackintosh.

My Thoughts

This was one of the twistiest books I’ve read yet. I don’t like to include spoilers in my reviews, so even alluding to some of the twists would be telling. But trust me, I was angry and mad and wanted to say no, 1 star for you!! But then, she twisted again, and I wasn’t as mad anymore. It was an absolutely wild ride.

The main female character is an absolute mess. I love the tendency now to show messy, sometimes hard-to-love female main characters. Honestly, it kind of makes me love them more because they are real. They feel more like myself and the people I know. They are a hot mess, they know it, and while they might be a little apologetic, they’re also openly challenging the patriarchy. And lovable, nerdy, male main characters for the win. I loved both of these characters so much in the end. Especially Clarke, because I love a nerdy, lovable sidekick more than is reasonable.

The intricate development of relationships is more than half the story here, and Cassidy weaves a gorgeously complicated tale. I did not expect the ending, and I read and watch enough that it’s always exciting when I’m surprised. I would love to see more stories with these characters in them. It felt like this one was resolved, but I also felt like the author left room for a sequel. I’d be okay either way.

While my small towns were in a completely different country, it seems small towns everywhere have a similar setup. And the author did an amazing job of painting the picture of a small town banding together to protect its secrets from outsiders, whatever the costs. She also did a fantastic job of showing character growth both in the main characters and side characters throughout the story.

I am so grateful to the author, publisher, and Love Books Tours for including me in this tour. The author has already published one book that is definitely going on my TBR list and I’ll keep an eye out for more books as well.

Who’s It For?

This book is for anyone who loves a good crime novel with shocking twist after shocking twist. If you enjoy messy characters with messy background stories, you’ll love this book. The plot was so complicated and winding, that I’m pretty sure it’s one of those books that will reveal new things upon a second read, but it was still digestible.

Content Warning: This book has a lot of potential triggers including, but not limited too, sexual assault, child death, suicide, suicidal ideation, kidnapping, fire, domestic abuse, violence, stalking/harassment, adult language, adult situations, and arson.

About the Author

Amanda Cassidy is a freelance journalist, commissioning editor and former Sky News reporter represented by Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency in London.

Shortlisted for the Irish Journalist of the Year Awards, and more recently the Headline Media writing awards, her features have clocked up over seven million readers.

She’s a frequent contributor to national radio, print and television and holds a BA in European Studies from Trinity College Dublin.

When she’s not on a plane, you’ll find her in her cottage in Dublin where she lives with her husband and three young children.

The Returned is Amanda’s second novel. She published Breaking in 2022.

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