“Hello Transcriber” is a dark, first-person, present tense narrative that plunges readers into the dark world of Hazel Greenlee. Readers know what she hears, what she says, and what she thinks about all of it. She is an observer of things is around her but not a participant. She would like to participate, but instead, she buries herself away. She is getting nothing out her marriage, nothing out of the town, and nothing out of her life. She wants out; she wants a story; she wants him. But what about “him?” Is there something more? Something secret?
Hazel has just taken a job as the night transcriber for the Black Harbor Police Department, so she soon knows everyone on the police force. She diligently types up every morbid, confidential detail of every arrest, complaint, and traumatic thing that happens at a blazing 111wpm with ninety-eight percent accuracy. She knows everything about everyone, and she wonders what everyone knows about her. Then, police reports contain things about people she knows, things she should not know, and her world implodes. However, this is Black Harbor; nothing good happens here.
Morrissey fashioned narrative rich with detailed descriptions, and filled with phrases that ignite the senses. At twilight, the sky is an ugly bruise with a halo of yellow hovering along the horizon. “He” smells of sandalwood, sage, and a hint of leather. She crumples like a can thrown into a fire. It feels as though a weighted blanket has descended on the entire police department.
“Hello Transcriber” is full of personal reflections and problematic secrets. The story flows like a relentless current that pulls down everyone and everything; those who manage to come up for air, must struggle to not be pulled down again. I received a review copy of “Hello Transcriber” from Hannah Morrissey and Minotaur Books. It is a compelling tale of two worlds that collide.
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