Hello Transcriber, Hannah Morrissey’s suspense debut is a highly compelling atmospheric novel and by atmospheric I do not mean the sense of the place alone but the darkness and misery of its characters that bleed into the story. The writing by Hannah Morrissey gets under your skin, she excellently conveys the suffocation Hazel feels trapped in her marriage and being in the Black Harbor.
Even though her job as a transcriber sounds exciting, like sharing a piece of cop action without facing the actual dangers of the job, Hazel has to dig deep into her psyche to listen to the dictations by the police officers. But when her neighbor lands slam-dunk in the middle of a child’s murder, Hazel becomes more than a passive observer of the crime. Involving herself with Detective Nikolai Kole personally and professionally gives her an unobstructed view of the drug-infused crimes that rattle their small town.
Hello, Transcriber is, I would say wrongly classified in the mystery genre. It is a romantic suspense novel with Kole and Hazel embarking on an illicit affair and the crime providing the background for their relationship that develops. The author’s portrayal of Hazel is heartbreaking, the loneliness that consumes her marriage with Tommy and the sheer terror of having sex with him is painful to read. I would have loved it if the author had provided the reason for the trauma that Hazel seems to suffer but this plot is left open-ended and Hazel herself comes across as immature at certain points in the story. Kole was a drool-worthy character and a hero to root for and honestly wished for a different hopeful ending even though for the grim overtone of the story, I know it was the perfect climax.
The depressive streak that underlays each and every interaction in the story has been crafted amazingly by the author as the Forge Bridge known as the suicide point becomes the symbol of everything wrong that runs as black sludge in the crime-infested place. Hazel as the unreliable narrator of the story increases the tension of this haunting crime fiction that reeks of sadness as it races to a twisty end.
Hannah Morrissey’s Hello, Transcriber is a captivating mystery suspense debut featuring a female police transcriber who goes beyond the limits to solve a harrowing case.
Every night, while the street lamps shed the only light on Wisconsin’s most crime-ridden city, police transcriber Hazel Greenlee listens as detectives divulge Black Harbor’s gruesome secrets. An aspiring novelist, Hazel believes that writing a book could be her only ticket out of this frozen hellscape, but her life isn’t exactly brimming with inspiration. Until her neighbor confesses to hiding the corpse of an overdose victim.
With an insider’s look at the investigation, Hazel becomes spellbound by the lead detective, Nikolai Kole, and the chilling narrative he shares with her. Through his transcription, she learns that the suspicious death is linked to Candy Man–a drug dealer notorious for selling illegal substances to children–and when Kole invites her on a covert operation to help take the dealer down, the promise of a story calls to her. As the investigation unfolds, Hazel will discover just how far she will go for her story, even if it means destroying her marriage, her career, and any chance she has of getting out of Black Harbor alive. Because if she’s learned one relentless truth about this place, it’s the fact that everybody lies.
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