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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 thats what his best friend Katies police officer father had said. They were criminals, thieves, monstersdeadly men clearly identifiable by the removal of their right ears.Thats what Daniel had heard. But he didnt know.He didnt know much in those early days. He didnt 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 theyd provide food and order, in exchange for guns and, ultimately, anything else they felt like taking.Daniels mother went out for toilet paper. She never came back. He hasnt 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.Thats 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 Demchicks electrifying debut, is a dark and terrifying journey into loneliness, desperation, and the devastating experience of one young boy in a world gone mad.
- Bancroft Press, December 2012
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