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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)

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

87 of 88 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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So, so, SO good!

This is the first book I have read/listened to by Robert McCammon, and I was floored by how superb it was. What an incredibly fine writer he is! "The Listener" had me hooked from the first sentence, and it didn't let up until the very end. I found I was timing all my tasks so I could listen to it while I worked... and certainly during my daily commute. I worried that I might find it upsetting or sad because it has to do with children in terrible trouble. But instead I was spellbound, in suspense, almost holding my breath -- all the way through. I liked the "good" characters and was totally fascinated by the bad guys. I could see the entire story as it unfolded -- see it in my mind in bright technicolour, as bright as it would appear on a large screen. I don't know if a movie has been made of this, but if it hasn't, it should be.

If you want a gripping, can't-stop-listening story, this is it.

Now I'm off to find another book by Robert McCammon!

20 of 20 people found this review helpful

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Too much violence for me.

With one little blip at the beginning this started out as good story. But then it just seemed to be violent act after violent act. It seemed the entire last part of the story was people getting killed, beaten, shot, stabbed, tortured. I'm not a prude but it was too much for me.

189 of 198 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....

30 of 31 people found this review helpful

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  • Taryn
  • Suffern, NY, United States
  • 07-13-18

Another Win for McCammon

Robert McCammon has the ability to tell a really good tale that engages you from beginning to end. Sometimes its a little unbelievable but that's ok with me. This story brings us to the south in the 1930's, there is a plot to abduct 2 children and hold them for ransom. The quirky part is that the little girl is blessed with a gift that allows her to communicate with certain people telepathically. The story is told from the perspective of a rich white child and a poor black "redcap" and how their lives interconnect. It's about love, evil and heroism. If you like this author get this book! The narrator is excellent as well

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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McCammon makes it real

I’ve been a McCammon fan since I was a young teenager and he wrote horror. Swan Song, to me, still beats The Stand as the ultimate post apocalyptic novel.

This novel, like Boy’s Life, is set in the south and is a Norman Rockwell Thriller (I just made that up). You get all the trappings of the old south but with horrors and a touch of the supernatural. This slight flavoring of the supernatural is actually one of my favorite aspects of his work. Like Koontz, he takes real life people and just gives them a little smattering of something more. Love it.

This novel felt too short. It’s not too short, it just felt that way.

I recommend.

35 of 37 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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. "

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful

This book is full of heart and soul, magic and love. Not hocus locus magic, but the magic of love and the stuff that connects us to one another. A young boy first learns that he can talk telepathically with those possessing the same ability. When a couple of grifters decides to kidnap the children of a wealthy businessman. The resulting story is how he is able to help others with his gift and how all of us are connected and things do happen for a reason. This is a great story with good character developments; I highly recommend this book!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Lia
  • Sutton, Australia
  • 08-21-18

Lots Of Potential

I admire the heck out of Robert McCammon and have repeatedly gone on record opining he's one of the most underrated writers of his generation. I still stand by that, but have to say, for me, this newest offering is just kind of ... okay.

It's well-written, make no mistake. It has the genuine immersive feel and detail McCammon brings to his historical fiction (if maybe somewhat overly cautious when touching on the racial issues and ugliness of the era). The characters are interesting and seem like real people, the story's solid enough. It's just missing the full depth and punch and wow factor I've come to expect.

I guess I just wanted more from this book. I wanted more backstory on the kidnappers, I wanted more conflict and tension and resolution. I wanted more than the slightly wince-worthy 'magical Negro' trope, while at the same time I wanted to know and see more of his abilities, wanted more pro-activity.

Maybe I'm just greedy and spoiled when it comes to my favorite authors; I expected so much more. Wasn't a waste of my listening time or anything like that. Just wasn't what I think it could and should have been.

Marc Vietor was outstanding with the delivery of the story and made the book enjoyable for me.

6 of 6 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!

20 of 22 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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  • Lynda Yong
  • 05-04-18

I just enjoy this author ,he makes me stop and listen to his words and the tale he tells

I would always recommend this author
He tells a very good tale ,the story takes from my busy life and transports me to a different time and place and my imagination creates the faces and places , and It makes me relax
Because the story is so good , it encourages me to listen to more
And I always am disappointed when the tale finishes and I have to find a new book , keep writing , please

1 of 1 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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • mr
  • 07-05-18

Another triumph

How does this author introduce an element of the supernatural and make it seem normal and unquestionable and weave it into such a great story. He truly is a master.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-10-18

Very good novel

I’ve been a fan of McCammon’s work for more than 30 years. While there have been a few novels that don’t meet my expectations this is not one of them.
Fairly strong plot with excellent characterisations. I felt transported back in time to the 1930s and enjoyed this story which is told be a good narrator. Would not hesitate to recommend.