The Listener - Robert R. McCammon

“What’re you planning on doin’ with your share?”
“‘Raisin’ hell,’ said Donnie . . . ‘What else is there?’”


After decades in the writing business, Robert McCammon proves he still has tricks up his sleeve and isn’t content to stick with any one genre. In The Listener, McCammon’s first crime thriller, a mastery of the language is on display that can come from only a seasoned veteran. Set in 1934 New Orleans, this gritty, high-octane tale of a kidnapping — with healthy doses of the supernatural — and murder is among this writer’s strongest; not a word is wasted. As always, McCammon is firing on all cylinders, not content with resting on his laurels.


In addition to the cinematic and enthralling plotline is some of this author’s finest character work: one can root wholeheartedly for the protagonists and empathize with the villains. As is commonplace in McCammon’s many works, these characters are fully-fleshed creations, original and memorable people drawn in full color. It is through these characters McCammon touches on themes such as poverty, wealth inequality, racism, belonging . . . universal themes as relevant today as they were in the Great Depression. It is against this backdrop of desperation and anxiety these folks shine bright.


It has been some time since a new release has excited me this much. Get ready: the first must-read novel of 2018 will arrive next month. I couldn’t put it down, nor did I want to. Recommended to all readers.


Thanks to Richard Chizmar at Cemetary Dance for the ARC. You rock!