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.
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.
"Sicko action is minimal, with Demchick instead following the workaday structure of Colson Whitehead's Zone One (2011) while also incorporating the kind of primary documents seen in Max Brooks's World War Z (2006). [With] evocative nonlinear prose . . . Demchick's depth of focus is both confident and impressive."
Booklist (Daniel Kraus, author of Bram Stoker finalist and Odyssey Award-winner Rotters)
"Finally, a smart book with zombies! Strangely beautiful and creepy at the same time, it's Cormac McCarthy's The Road meets Fight Club, with a splash of Stephen King's The Dead Zone thrown in. I loved it!"