The Listeners by Harrison Demchick- Review
Expected Publication: December 17,2012
Publisher: Bancroft Press
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.
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 ★★★.
*I received a copy to review through Netgalley. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in any way for providing them.