The Listeners by Harrison Demchick

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Before the plague, and the quarantine, fourteen-year-old Daniel Raymond had only heard of the Listeners. They were a gang, maybe even a cult, 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.

About Harrison Demchick

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Raised in Baltimore, Maryland on a steady diet of magical realism, literary fiction, science-fiction, and Spider-Man comics, Harrison Demchick spent most of his formative years inside his own head, working out strange thoughts and ideas that would eventually make their way into stories, screenplays, and songs.He went to Oberlin College to attain one of today's most notoriously useless degrees, a BA in English with a creative writing concentration, but then actually used it, working the last seven years as a book editor.Harrison is also a screenwriter, and the winner of the 2011 Baltimore Screenwriters Competition.The Listeners was born in an independent study in fiction during Harrison's senior semester at Oberlin. Originally a series of interconnected short stories, it was adapted first into a screenplay, and then, from the screenplay, into his first novel. Harrison hopes ardently that The Listeners will catch on in such a way that he doesn't have to market it.He lives still in Baltimore, working on a musical and various screenplays.
Published November 27, 2012 by Bancroft Press. 288 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Horror, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Listeners

Publishers Weekly

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Demchick’s stylish debut makes an admirably ambitious, if flawed, attempt to breathe new life into the tried-and-true threat of zombies.

Oct 29 2012 | Read Full Review of The Listeners

Open Book Society

(Goodreads) 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.

Dec 17 2012 | Read Full Review of The Listeners

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