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Publisher's Summary

It's 1934. Businesses went under by the hundreds, debt and foreclosures boomed, and breadlines grew in many American cities. In the midst of this misery, some folks explored unscrupulous ways to make money. Angel-faced John Partlow and carnival huckster Ginger LaFrance are among the worst of this lot. Joining together they leave their small-time confidence scams behind to attempt an elaborate kidnapping-for-ransom scheme in New Orleans.

In a different part of town, Curtis Mayhew, a young black man who works as a redcap for the Union Railroad Station, has a reputation for mending quarrels and misunderstandings among his friends. What those friends don't know is that Curtis has a special talent for listening...and he can sometimes hear things that aren't spoken aloud.

One day, Curtis Mayhew's special talent allows him to overhear a child's cry for help (THIS MAN IN THE CAR HE'S GOT A GUN), which draws him into the dangerous world of Partlow and LaFrance.

This gritty Depression-era crime thriller is a complex tale enriched by powerfully observed social commentary and hints of the supernatural, and it represents Robert McCammon writing at the very top of his game.

©2018 Robert McCammon (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“McCammon conjures believable characters whose sympathetic plight pulls the reader headlong into the novel’s volatile mix of crime and fantasy. Its tense finale, paced at breakneck speed, will have readers turning pages until its surprise-packed end.” (Publishers Weekly)"McCammon masterfully combines historical thriller and supernatural horror in a compelling and suspenseful tale of race, class, and family…" (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Southern Fried Horror Done Right

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Robert McCammon has done it again with The Listener.

Two young people who can communicate in a most unusual way that is thought to be a mental defect by those closest to them.

A femme fatale who can judge people more deeply than anyone, perhaps even she, is aware of.

Southern Town, rich, poor, some racial tension, and the Depression.

These things are the perfect mixture for a horror masterpiece by Robert McCammon.

I loved every moment of it.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Curtis was my favorite character because he was so brave, yet he was unaware of that bravery. He thought that he was plain, ordinary, and nothing special, yet without him the book would have been lacking a lot of its essence.

Which character – as performed by Marc Vietor – was your favorite?

It would be impossible to pick just one. I like to be able to forget a narrator while I am listening. If a narrator is great, then the characters come alive and you're involved with them, and the narrator fades into the background.

This was my first listen by Marc Vietor and he was great. He didn't, as my daughter calls it, break the 4th dimension. I will look for other things he narrates.

I was with the characters, experiencing the tale with them and not aware that I was listening to a book. I can't give a better compliment to a narrator.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, I did and I will listen to this book again. I will recommend this to my book clubs as well.

Any additional comments?

I'm very happy to see more unabridged Robert McCammon books on Audible. I am a big fan of his works. Listening to one of his wonderful stories on a rainy day is my idea of time well spent. Thank you Audible for making these available.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Engrossing!

Very hard to stop listening! Many twists and turns. Great characters. A classic good vs evil tale.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Southern Delight

I really dug it... Some simply fantastic writing! A tale of good and evil, light and dark, have and have nots, and woven together so skillfully... It’s gotta slow pace for the most part, but that perfectly fits the evocatively vivid and nearly tangible settings, like a leisurely sw Louisiana spring afternoon... I could smell pontchartrain and the gumbo;). Especially taken by the Arthurian theme and Curtis as its exemplar... Definitely light suspense, and I in no way read it as horror, but just short and between.... I wish there were more bc it sucked me in and ended too soon....

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Mat
  • Lincoln, NE
  • 03-20-18

perfect.

I loved this story. The performance was spot on. I will listen again. McCammon has the ability to make the reader taste and smell characters that should never have crawled out of their holes.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Loved it!

As with most of Mr. McCammon's work, The Listener is an enjoyable and fast read. It's a story that describes the times, the depression in Louisiana, as well as the characters. Ultimately, it's a mystery and about the very best in people and the very, very worst. Don't miss this book!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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McCammon is still the master

Once again, Robert McCammon shows why he is America's undisputed master of story crafting and character development. And the performance will keep you wanting to listen just a little while longer, take an extra lap around the neighborhood before getting home and stopping for the night. Did I say "I love this story and the narrator. "

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Jim
  • Birmingham, AL, United States
  • 03-18-18

His best yet...

I’ve read all of McCammon’s books! And have known him personally since the early 1980’s when he was early in his career. His early books were in the “horror” genre. He hooked me. His later books were a little different, but have always had the theme of good vs evil and often with hints of paranormal. This latest book is his best yet! “The Listener” will be a classic. I loved it and you’ll love it. The narration is superb! This one is his best yet! I can see a movie made from this one.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Excellent listen !

Thoroughly enjoyed this book and did not want it to end! Enough said. Hmmm maybe not. 15 word min. One of best books picked so far this year‼️

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Well Worth Listening To

You ever finish a wonderful book, but aren't quite sure how to encapsulate your thoughts on it in a review, or what may be left to say after so many others have eloquently tread this same ground and said all the things already? This is the place I find myself in now, having just this morning finished listening to The Listener. This sucker's gotten a lot of positive press and plenty of wonderful reviews already, and I feel like I don't have much else to add. Still, I suppose I must try.

Simply put, Robert McCammon knocks it out of the park with this one. Set in post-Depression Louisiana, The Listener revolves around a kidnapping plot hatched by a pair of grifters who fancy themselves a Bonnie & Clyde duo. Their plan is to abduct the two children of a wealthy industrialist and hold them for ransom. Caught up in it all is Curtis Mayhew, a young black man with a supernatural gift. Curtis is a listener, and can communicate telepathically with others who share this special gift. He's been communicating with a ten-year-old girl, Nilla, and when she sends an urgent cry for help about a man with a gun, Curtis knows he has to help, damn the consequences.

The Listener is a slow-burn potboiler that places particular emphasis on its characters first and foremost. McCammon is meticulous and deliberate in his pacing, introducing us to each of the major players and their places in the world as they work to either scheme or merely eek out a living before becoming embroiled in this kidnapping. Each of these character's stories are paid off in beautiful and sometimes surprising ways as The Listener reaches it final denouement. This historical narrative is so perfectly constructed that nothing ever feels unnatural or out of place. Readers are eased into Curtis's life and his gift in such a way that, once his telepathy is used to full effect, it's every bit a natural part of the character as the air he breathes.

McCammon's writing is equally effective, his prose rife with lingo of the era, and he captures moments of human drama perfectly. There's humor and moments of sadness, as well as turns of violence that are both shocking and cinematic, and sequences of abuse that will have you ready to lunge out of your seat to restrain the psychopathic Donnie before he can inflict more harm on whoever dares to step near him.

Marc Vietor's voice captures the proceedings perfectly, hitting all the right pitches and tones of McCammon's literary style. His talents as a narrator are well-suited to the 1930s era of The Listener, with its hard-edged con-men and crazed women, as well as the softer, more rounded subtleties of gentle men like Curtis, who prize their brains far more than their fists. Vietor and McCammon make for a perfect pair here, and the audio edition of The Listener is a wonderful, and engrossing, production all around.

McCammon delivers a story that feels wholly authentic from start to finish, and The Listener just might be on the best books of the year. Highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Excellent!

Great atmosphere, intriguing story, fascinating characters- this is a great book. I was riveted by the last chapters.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Simon
  • 02-28-18

A Listener Treat!

My only previous experience of Robert McCammon was the wonderfully epic post apocalyptic thriller Swan Song which I would recommend to anyone in a heartbeat. This is a very different and slightly more understated book but the quality of the writing once again stands out.

Set in the depressed background of 1930s America McCammon takes his time early on to draw out his three main characters. We are introduced to a deliciously twisted pair of villains and a true unlikely hero as well as some of the desperation of the times. It's all brought to life by a very steady performance from Marc Vietor who helps considerably in providing the atmosphere.

The supernatural plays an important role in the story but is very modest and the horror is provided totally by the humans in what is indeed a very human story. The pace is upped considerably in the second part of the book draws to a very exciting and satisfying conclusion. For those prone to tears though a hankie will be a sensible precaution at the end.

Well worth a credit and a reminder to me that I need to read more McCammon!

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Graham G.
  • 03-04-18

Absolutely great!

The story is well developed from start to finish as are the characters. Marc Vietor's narration is perfect for this book. Highly recommended.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Freda
  • 03-25-18

Another great book from Robert McCammon

Two con artists, a man who was what was known as a hearse chaser, selling bibles to bereaved widows and a woman who worked for a show giving sex lessons to men, unite to kidnap the two children of a millionaire. They managed to do this with the help of a cousin of the woman's who is something of a physco. But unknown to them a young black man named Curtis, working as a railway porter has a gift for listening to things other people cannot hear. He has been talking to the little girl in his mind for quite a while, she too is a listener. She manages to send him a message saying they are being driven in a car with their bodyguard with a woman and a man and they have a gun. The race to find and rescue the children is not easy for a black man in the 1930s. It is a hard road to travel. This book is a fast paced thriller with a hint of the supernatural. Nail biting in some parts and sad in others, a must read.