The town of Marlo has been thrown into confusion and crime all because of words that appear on a website. Someone has recorded conversations of the townspeople, word for word, onto the website. The words found there are shocking and devastating. Neighbor has turned against neighbor, friend against friend, husband against wife, all because of careless words spoken when they thought no one was listening. Their private conversations have just gone public. The police are scrambling to control the insanity the town is descending into, but they themselves are caught in the undertow. Marlo Sentential writer Damien Williams is trying to get to the bottom of the problem with his police officer friend Frank. But when words on the site begin to hit his own home and family, the police try to pin it on him and Frank. Damien resolves to find the culprit, or else.
When I first heard the description for this book, I knew it had to be good. Unlike most plots, there's no way this book can't be original. The foundational idea is very strong. The plot makes the reader think rather than only be entertained. The message is cutting and convicting because this type of thing could happen anytime anywhere, and it's all because of our words.
As usual with Rene Gutteridge, the characters are complete with personalities and imperfection. Damien is not the type of lead one would expect from this type of book. Since this plot is all about imperfection, there is no way it can be crafted without imperfect characters. Not even the seemingly typical mentor character is innocent of serial speaking.
The best parts of the plot are who is writing the website and how they are capturing the conversations. This was the area of concern I had because Rene could have easily reverted to a sensational supernatural explanation, bringing down the rating a bit. But she kept the book in reality and gave a good explanation for how the eavesdropping was taking place. But the person who is doing it is the icing on the cake. Not many authors would have taken the leap she did in making the culprit close to home. There is also a key character death near the end to serve as a deep consequence of words.
Listenis the type of plot we don't get to read very much-one that is centered around choices of the leads. I love these types of plots not only because they are realistic, but also because they make the reader think. Fiction should be about making the reader think about how they can make their life better rather than entertaining him, but doing this through using examples and not being preachy. Rene Gutteridge is one of the most prolific authors on the market because she has mastered this difficult goal.