Reviewed by David T. Wilbanks
Gary Morgan is a tough-as-nails London gangster as well as the lead character in David A. Riley’s novel The Return. After participating in a gangland shooting, with plans to hide out in his long-neglected hometown of Edgebottom, Gary soon discovers that the mill town’s bad reputation hasn’t improved at all over the years; in fact, strange occurrences are on the rise and he finds himself caught in a situation that gets more bizarre the longer he hangs around. So, with full intentions of leaving town and lying low somewhere less threatening, he instead finds himself slipping further and further toward the dreary town’s evil heart.
The creepy artwork by Andrej Bartulovic on the book’s cover broadcasts where this one is heading. Anyone with a craving for bleak crime fiction crossed with the Lovecraftian/occult should enjoy this well-crafted work of looming darkness. Compellingly, the novel follows Gary and the local police as they experience what turns out to be otherworldly mayhem. Pure malevolence, revealed slowly with hair-raising detail, will keep horror fans riveted as they turn pages toward the chilling and merciless conclusion. Celebrated British author David A. Riley has been in the business of writing horror, fantasy and science fiction for several decades now and this storytelling experience is reflected in his work. The Return is a grim, bloody book set firmly in the UK horror tradition, and will make a fine addition to any collection.