The Listeners

The Listeners

by Harrison Demchick
4.1 6


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The Listeners by Harrison Demchick

"Before the plague, and the quarantine, fourteen-year-old Daniel Raymond had only heard of the Listeners. They were a gang, or at least that’s what his best friend Katie’s police officer father had said. They were criminals, thieves, monsters—deadly men clearly identifiable by the removal of their right ears.That’s what Daniel had heard. But he didn't know.He didn't know much in those early days. He didn't know how the plague began, but then, no one did. The doctors and emergency medical personnel said it was airborne, and highly contagious. They said those infected became distorted both inside and out, and very, very dangerous.Then the helicopters came and took the doctors away, and no one said much of anything after that.Except the police officers. They said they'd provide food and order, in exchange for guns and, ultimately, anything else they felt like taking.Daniel’s mother went out for toilet paper. She never came back. He hasn't heard from Katie since the phones went dead. And with his real family gone and surrogate family unreachable, Daniel, scared and alone, has nothing except the walls of his apartment, the window shattered, the poisonous air seeping in.That’s when the Listeners arrive. Derek, the one-eared man with the big, soulful eyes, promises protection, and hope, and the choice not to sit alone and wait to die in some horrific way. He offers a brotherhood under the watch of their leader, the prophet Adam. He offers a place in the world to come.A harrowing work of literary horror, The Listeners, Harrison Demchick’s electrifying debut, is a dark and terrifying journey into loneliness, desperation, and the devastating experience of one young boy in a world gone mad."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781610880824
Publisher: Bancroft Press
Publication date: 09/18/2013
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.90(d)

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The Listeners 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
MariReads More than 1 year ago
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It was such a beautifully, almost poetically, written zombie apocalypse novel. Its definitely not a typical zombie story. The infected are not dead. They are sick people, who's mental state slowly degenerates. They are covered in boils and highly contagious. They are a frightening addition to the horror genre. Daniel Raymond is 14 year old, left alone in his apartment in the middle of the quarantined borough. He thinks of his mother, his friend Katie and their lives before the outbreak. Within the walls of the quarantine, the police have become corrupt, the people dependent on them for food and protection. There are also The Listeners, a band of boys and men with an ear chopped off that seem almost a myth, but who have an agenda of their own. Then there are the infected roaming the streets.  The story goes back and forth in time, and is sometimes interspersed with Daniel's dreams and what seem like hallucinations. It is very affective at portraying the madness and desperation within him to find answers to what is happening around him. I realize that this review sounds a bit vague but I feel sharing even some of the plot gives away too much. You will enjoy it better if you read it without knowing what is coming next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Finally, a smart book with zombies! (Pride and Prejudice Zombies doesn't count.) What a fabulous read--strangely beautiful and creepy at the same time. Think...Cormac McCarthy's The Road meets Fight Club, with a splash of Stephen King's The Dead Zone. I pray there will someday be a screenplay for this story. Buy this, read it, and enjoy!
BookPublishingVeteran More than 1 year ago
Stunningly compelling, even for those who eschew horror. Vivid, even for those lacking an ability to visualize. Relatable, even for those who want their horror thematically empty. And gorgeously written, even for those who pick up the latest National Book Award winners solely for their literary artistry.
Hermyoni More than 1 year ago
Review: Sometimes no matter how hard you try to like something it might just never click with you. Unfortunately this was my problem with The Listeners. I tried longer than I usually do to "get" this book. I wanted to see what people were raving about, I wanted to be part of this mind blowing experience and yet try as hard as I might I never was privy to it. The Listeners is about 14 year Old Daniel who is struggling to survive Quarantine after a horrific epidemic breaks out. This plague is nasty not only does it have symptoms very close to the Bubonic plague (pus filled buboes) but it takes the disease a step farther by having the infected not only go crazy but also rot inside and out. This plague was by far the most fascinating aspect of the book and I wish could of followed the disease more and The Listeners less. Daniel left all alone after his mother goes missing during a supply run eventually meets up with a gang called The Listeners. All members have only one ear (the right is cut off) and claim this is to better hear the truth and not hear the lies. Their leader Adam is the only one with two ears but being the "Prophet" it's OK and is justified. Here is my problem with The Listeners. They actually sounded crazy and all I kept thinking was it's a cult how can you not see that?!?! I didn't like that after all Daniel went through he became a part of them. I'd hope he would be smart enough to realize they were dangerous. I guess that's how cults work though they suck you in through friendship, safety, food and shelter and then one day Blam they have you suckered into believing their ways and cutting off body parts in allegiance. Once Daniel is an Official member of The Listeners things go from bad to worse. I won't give away what happens but let's just say that it doesn't ever really get better. No happy, neatly packaged ending here, so be prepared to be left with lots of unanswered questions. Overall The Listeners is a decent attempt to show what it might be like to slowly slip into insanity. The pacing flowed nicely and I could see great potential in the writing. While this book didn't work for me, I would recommend giving it a shot and seeing for yourself. I did like the Plague aspect of the story and because of the Author's attention to detail I did find myself feeling squeamish during certain scenes. All that combined would make me at least borrow a copy of the next book if it ever happens as I'm curious to see how things end up once those left realize things aren't exactly as Black and White as they thought. In the end I will be rating The Listeners ¿¿¿. *Book reviewed via Netgalley.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
read the book in one day. In the beginning, it seems like it’s relatively straightforward, at least for the first chapter. And then, you cut to a different chapter, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the first chapter. This whole time, you’re thinking, something more is going on here. And that’s what I love about horror novels—that there’s always some sort of increase of suspense to build up to whatever it actually is. And quite often in horror novels, whatever it actually is is a quite disappointing ending, and I feel that, usually, I am ripped off by horror novels, unless it’s by Dean Koontz or Stephen King—or this book. . . . Seeing as this is Harrison’s first book, I am amazed that it is this accomplished, and I’m not sure whether it’s because he’s an editor. I’m not sure whether because he’s an editor and works in a publishing house, he knows what will market well and what will go down well with readers, but it seems like he just has this instinct for writing. . . . It feels like you’re moving forward in this sense of confusion and dizziness, and then the storyline becomes clear, and you’re like, wow. This is amazing. I think it ranks behind, just behind, The Stand by Stephen King. It’s in my top four books ever. In my top horror books, it comes in second. I think it’s pretty evident that I’m giving this book a six out of five stars.”
Openbooksociety_dot_com More than 1 year ago
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Sammy *Beware of possible Spoilers* I’m Not sure how to rate this book, the writing is wonderful, the story had so much potential and at times was very interesting, but I had a very difficult time following the story line. So, because of the wonderful way the writer had of expressing things I’m going to give the story 3 stars. Here are a couple of quotes from the book, the author starts with these amazing poetic type expressions such as, “His breath catches halfway through the exhale, like a thin shirt on a sharp twig.” and he literally continues with this incredible writing style throughout the book. Here’s one from closer to to the end. ”The water crashes you into bodies; it pushes you into a rip tide of offal; the putrid meat of death and decay swallow your face, and you can swim for the surface all you want, but you’re too far down to even know what that is.” The way the author describes things you can see the blisters ready to pop, and smell the rotten bodies, feel the rain as it soaks the characters faces. Fantastic writing. 5 stars for his writing alone. The story and ideas seemed wonderful on the surface, but so many things were repeated or not finished, half the time I couldn’t figure out if things were real or if the main character was having flash backs, imagining things or if they were just delirious. Also, the story had many timeline issues. A very difficult story to follow. Saul had some very, ironic, funny lines in the story, but it doesn’t go anywhere, except the last part of the book where his saying is written on a wall, but we really don’t know what happened to him. There were so many things that just ended in a way that didn’t seem complete. Katie, was she sick, did she die, did she go with the Listeners???? It was unclear. As for the plague, I wish the author would have told us more about it, oh there were a few experiments but it didn’t go anywhere. In the afterword, it explains that this book was a series of short stories that the author wrote and put together in one book, that’s what it felt like while reading. Several, really well written short stories thrown together trying to make one full length book. I was so glad I read that part because I was so confused while reading, especially after reading the 5 star reviews about what an awesome story it was. While I believe it could be an awesome story, for me I couldn’t catch the flow of this story and it was missing a cohesiveness that seemed to be beyond my grasp. I will be looking for more books by this author because even with the issues the story had, his ideas and writing were fascinating. I recommend this story for mature young adults and adults who enjoy poetic writing, with interesting ideas, that their own imaginations can fill in. This review and more at openbooksociety dot com