Cover Image: Hello, Transcriber

Hello, Transcriber

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Member Reviews

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an early read of this book!

Hazel has just started her new job as a transcriber for the police in the small town of Black Harbor, where she lives a rather dull existence with her often-absent husband.  She enjoys listening to the detectives dictate their reports and guessing on what they might look like based on the sound of their voices.  One night, she sees her neighbor Sam out in the street – he is clearly strung out and claims to have helped move a body.  Later, transcribing the report by Nikolai Kole, she is curious about the case and secretly witnesses the interrogation of Sam and learns about the Candy Man, a local drug dealer responsible for the overdose deaths of several young teens in the town.  She offers to help Nik gather evidence against this elusive criminal.  Being an aspiring writer, she sees this story as a ticket out of her small town and away from her husband.  She is surprised, however, but her attraction to Nik and to solving the case with him.  This is a great mystery, but my favorite part was really the character of Hazel.  She is broken in numerous ways, which we learn about over the course of the book, and I really felt for her desire to get out of Black Harbor and move on to something “better”. , to make something of herself, for herself.  If you like Celeste Ng or Angie Kim, then I think you might enjoy this one.
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This creepy thriller had “pensive music” playing throughout.  It was very hard to stop reading because I wanted to see what happened next.  Well written, it will be sure to keep your attention. 
Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange honest opinion.
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If a book had a social media status, this book's status would be "it's complicated".  My opinion of this book would always change as I turned the pages.  I did not really connect to any of the characters, but the action would pick up and I would not be able to put it down. Thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for this read.
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For me I found Hello, Transcriber to be a dark and melancholy book that never really and truly caught me in a way I need a book to do. I never really connected with the main character,  this was a new author for me. I would recommend the book to others because I know not everyone enjoys the same things in books, and should make their own decisions.

I received an ARC from NetGalley and Minotaur Books, the opinions expressed here are my own.
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Hello, Transcriber by Hannah Morrissey is a crime novel following HAzel, a police transcriber who discovers her neighbor hid the corpse of an overdose victim. Soon, Hazel is swept away by. the investigation and the lead detective, Nikolai, to avoid her daily life. Her interest leads her to discover a potential tie to the Candy Man, a drug dealer known for selling drugs to children. However, Hazel is now called on to act covertly to catch the dealer and she is committed to this mission at nearly any cost. 

Hazel narrates this story and I truly felt for her and all her internal struggles. You can tell Hazel feels stuck in her life and it only becomes more clear in the novel. I thought Hazel and the other characters in the story felt like real, complicated people. I also appreciated the character growth that we see develop in Hazel throughout the story. 

The atmosphere is dark and a lot of times the reader feels downtrodden waiting for a shred off hope or joy. A lot of this grittiness is driven by Hazel who is so obviously miserable in her life. Being from Wisconsin I enjoyed reading a book set there. 

I found the writing style to be easy to read in sentence structure, but difficult to read emotionally. The book feels heavier than most crime novels, yet still keeps the reader hooked. However, I recommend readers be mindful of this. 

The plot was unique and I appreciate the author highlighting a police transcriber as an occupation. I thought the plot was a bit of a slow burn, moving at a measured pace as the investigation unfolds, but still kept me hooked. 

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this fresh take on a crime novel and will be looking forward to more books from this author!

Many thanks to the publisher St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books and Netgalley for the ARC in return for an honest review.
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I am officially changing my relationship status with this book to "It's Complicated".  I can't tell you if I loved it or not, because my feelings changed often.  Just when I thought for sure I wasn't going to be able to continue and would throw down the book, I'd be picking it back up and thoroughly engrossed and gobbling up the pages.  There was something oddly readable and craveworthy about it that kept me coming back.  Maybe it was the dark and somber tone or my fascination with the job of a police transcriber (yeah, I'll admit I've googled job opportunities in my area for such a position!!!), but something made me keep coming back for more and after all is said and done, I didn't need to break up with this story and I've learned how to live harmoniously with yet another complicated relationship.
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A moody, atmospheric mystery that reminded me a little of Long Bright River!

I requested Hello, Transcriber for review quite a while ago. When I saw it pop up on my Kindle, I thought it must be some kind of espionage book, like that movie with Nicole Kidman. But I guess Nicole was an interpreter, not a transcriber. 
Hello, Transcriber is a moody mystery set in Wisconsin. Hazel, the main character, is an aspiring writer who works as a police transcriber. Members of the police department leave their reports for her in recorded form and she types them up. (These messages often start with Hello, Transcriber.) She starts to fixate on one particular police officer, feeling like his recordings are talking to her directly.

Because Hello, Transcriber takes place in a small town,  the main character begins to realize that her personal life and her professional life are beginning to become intertwined, and that she is peripherally involved in the murder that her favorite police officer is investigating. 

Hello, Transcriber reminded me a bit of Long Bright River in both its atmospheric quality and in the sense that the main character struggles to separate her entanglement with some people close to her who might or might not be involved in a murder.

Highly recommend this one if you like small town mysteries with a more literary bent!
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Hazel works on as a police transcriber. It is her job to write out what the officers say happened at a crime. 

The idea of the story is very interesting. I imagine a police transcriber job isnt made for everyone. Hazel has to be strong at her job but her personal life is a mess and she is not as strong. I liked watching Hazel develop through the story.

I would recommend this book to someone who likes crime novels or general fiction.

I was given an advanced copy of the book by the publisher but all the opinions are my own.
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You had me at HELLO!

HELLO, TRANSCRIBER is a riveting new thriller debut by an author I guarantee you'll be hearing from again. 

This book is highly recommended to those who are the nosy neighbors of the group. 

HELLO, TRANSCRIBER by Hannah Morrissey stars Hazel. A writer, working as a police transcriber that becomes obsessed with the murders going on around town and becomes even more obsessed with a deputy who always remembers to add correct punctuation to his reports. 

This book was a lot of fun and it kept my attention the entire time. There were multiple exciting segments that appealed to my nosy side and some explicit scenes that gave this book a sexy edge. 

Lots of fun!!

Thanks to St Martins Press, Minotaur Books, and Netgalley for this advanced copy!

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What a perfect book to read in the holiday season! I am of course joking, as this is a very dark wintry tale. 
This book had a slower paced beginning that gave way to a moody, wintry-there is that word again- unsettling noir. The heroine is Hazel, a very unhappy wife and who wants to be a writer, takes a new job as a transcriber for the police station in her crime afflicted small town. Naturally, she gets too involved in the death of a child in a case involving a local drug dealer, and the relationships of everyone tied to it. I enjoyed meeting Hazel because she is the type of character to get under your skin. Everything in this book is just so moody and dark. I would not say that I enjoyed it so much as I could not look away, which is its own form of enjoyment. 
The work element was fascinating because I did not know much about the career of a transcriber, so we were sort of learning on the job with Hazel. 
Another thing I appreciated about this book was the lovely surprise of a romance, as it gave me another reason to root for Hazel’s happiness/a better outcome than the situation she started in.
I would recommend this for noir fans, and anyone who likes a chilling winter read. 
Thanks to Minotaur Books and NetGalley for the ARC!
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The best thing about this book is the job held by the protagonist, Hazel. She's a police transcriber work the night shift in a grim Wisconsin city with a high crime rate. The sections where she is transcribing reports for the detectives and investigators ring with realism.

Not so much the rest of the story, which seemed to me overwrought and largely implausible. Hazel has quite a few unlikely involvements with actual, hands-on police work, evidence and procedures that I doubt would occur in real life. Her relationship with her husband is confusing (she texts him "I love you" while she's making out with a detective) and the steamy sex scenes with said detective carry a LOT of weight in the story, more than the mystery or the other interpersonal drama.

Thanks to NetGalley and Minotaur Books for an advance readers copy.
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Transcribing is tough work. I should know. I’ve been asked to take minutes of meetings over Microsoft Teams and have struggled to keep my typing up with people speaking fast. (And I’m a relatively fast typist, too. The last time I was tested, years ago, I was in the 65 words per minute range.) I might be a bit quicker when I’m writing things down by hand, but life was so much simpler when I had a cassette recorder to rely on while I was a freelance journalist. (I haven’t gotten too hip to the new technology.) I can only imagine what it’s like to be a police transcriber, writing down spoken report after spoken report. That profession is behind the premise for Hannah Morrissey’s debut novel, Hello, Transcriber. It’s effectively about one young twentysomething woman named Hazel (same name as my cat!) Greenlee who takes a job as a police transcriber in a small Midwestern city that’s best known for having big-city crime. Not too long after taking the job, after ditching a bookstore managerial job for reasons that are left unexplained, she gets involved in a drug case involving multiple homicides, many of them children. She also has a fling with the investigating police officer on the case named Nik Kole, even though Hazel is married (and to a gun nut, at that). How long will it take for Hazel’s life to completely unravel and go off the rails?

Hello, Transcriber is a fun book — a trashy, entertaining read. There are multiple twists and turns, and whom I thought to be the killer wasn’t. The job details of transcribing are also absorbing. You’ll learn a fair bit about the profession just from reading this book. However, these are the most friendly and nice things I can say about the novel. It turns out that Hello, Transcriber can’t make up its mind as to whether it wants to be a slightly by-the-book police procedural or a torrid romance novel. Honestly, there are pages upon pages of steamy lovemaking, so much so that you could skip over nearly entire chapters and not miss a beat with the plot. In essence, this novel is probably more meant for women, I think, who may enjoy the romance angle more than I did and the sexual fantasies that the author conjures up. However, this is not the only flaw with Hello, Transcriber, alas — though it might be the most major one.

I wanted to know more about the setting of the novel. It takes place in a bleak Wisconsin city called Black Harbor, and, again, it is a place known more for its high crime rate than anything else. However, we don’t see much of it. The novel takes place mostly in the cop shop, along with various restaurants and dive bars, and it turns out that one of the crimes — where a nine-year-old boy was fed an overdose of opioids and whose body was left in a dumpster — took place across the street from the police station! This leads to another flaw in the novel: the main villain — known as the Candy Man — is not much of a chilling bad guy at all. After all, if the person is dumb enough to leave a body in the vicinity of the police station, there’s not much to be fearful of in terms of the villain being a smart crook. (Maybe the point of this disposal is to show how brazen the Candy Man is, but I felt that the opposite effect was felt.)

The other thing — and this might give a little piece of the novel away — is that we’re given a picture of Hazel’s husband, Tommy, as being, again, a major gun aficionado who leaves all sorts of handguns scattered around the duplex he and Hazel share. However, nothing is done with this angle. Morrissey breaks Chekhov’s gun rule that says, if you introduce a gun in Act One, it’d better have gone off by Act Three. Maybe this is all part of the twists and turns of the novel, and the author is trying to constantly surprise us, but I felt that this was weak character development — you could take away the guns and be left, essentially, with the same character. True, the guns give the reader a reason to distrust Tommy while Hazel and Nik have loads of romantic escapades, but, in the end, Tommy’s guns never go off — pun not really intended. (Sorry for the minor spoiler.)

On and on it goes: I could poke flaws in this read all day if I wanted to. Still, I did mildly and perversely enjoy Hello, Transcriber — but only as a piece of pleasurable fluff. It can act as a diversion from the real-life events in your world and remind you that, no matter how bad your life might get, some people have it worse. Still, the execution of the book leaves something to be desired. One thing that I gleaned from eyeballing another review online (as I was in the middle of reading this book — bad, me) is that the author has a love affair with the simile over the metaphor. It’s true. If you took a drink every time the word “like” is used, you might have a fun time with this volume if you’re so inclined towards getting a hangover.

At the most basic level, Hello, Transcriber has an intriguing premise — and describes a profession that’s captivating to go along with it — but it is squandered by what amounts to be a lot of hanky-pankys and touchy-feelies. This ultimately means that the novel is essentially destined to be little more than a library read for the curious. Hello, Transcriber writes its way towards disappointment and plods with mediocre exposition. It makes me want to cry because there’s a sizzling plot idea to be had here (culled from the author’s own time working as a police transcriber, it turns out). In the end, there is far more fizzle than sizzle, and that’s all the reason why Hello, Transcriber never elevates itself from the potboiler that it winds up being. Too bad. There was a gem of an idea here.
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I was under the impression that this book was going to be a bada$$ mystery/suspense type of book and yes, while it did have those elements, I was really taken aback and sort of disengaged once the extra romance-y bits started up. I get it, I do...Hazel, the protagonist is in a really bad marriage, and I don't blame her for trying something new, but man, it was over the top sensationalism at its worst. The part that is stuck in my head that I can't shake is when she puts her hand on Kole's chest and can feel his muscles and the tightness of them through his thermal shirt... bleh. Just too much. However, the murder situation and the bleakness of the town were really intriguing, I just can't get past the romance novel hidden in a mystery/suspense description.
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Dark and a little disturbing....Hello, Transcriber is a twisty and atmospheric crime thriller that will keep you turning the pages into the night. The characters are complex and interesting.  I recommend this book if you enjoy unique and intelligent crime stories.
Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Black Harbor, Wisconsin, is most famous for its drug trade and its high suicide rates, and it's where aspiring writer Hazel Greenlee has ended up, living with her husband in a rundown duplex. Hazel takes a job with the Black Harbor Police Department as their third shift transcriber, spending her nights dictating police reports. Hazel soon finds herself at the center of a murder investigation, getting too involved with both the case and the detective in charge of it.

The central idea behind Hello, Transcriber completely fascinated me. I was so intrigued by this profession -- transcribing police reports and interviews, being privy to an entire town's darkest secrets but also bound by confidentiality. Debut author Hannah Morrissey's writing evokes the compelling, voyeuristic quality of this job and totally drew me in. The mood of Hello, Transcriber feels gritty and authentic, capturing the bleak, dismal, hopeless, and chilly nature of the atmosphere, and Hazel is an imperfect and intriguing protagonist. The book as a whole is somewhat overwritten, but makes up for that with prose that feels raw and vulnerable. 

One thing you should know about Hello, Transcriber: Although the description makes it sound like crime fiction, it is not that. While, yes, there is a crime and a police investigation at the center of this novel, I would definitely classify this as romantic suspense more than anything else. The relationship between Hazel and the lead detective is at the center of the plot, and your enjoyment of this book is going to come down to your tolerance for a steamy, occasionally overwrought and melodramatic romance. The crime is definitely secondary to the romance, and the pacing and conclusion of the novel suffer for that. 

Despite that, Hello, Transcriber had a certain "something" that drew me in and kept me invested for the entire novel. Morrissey is clearly talented and has interesting ideas, and I'll be interested to read what she writes next -- and here's hoping that it veers more towards suspense than romance. Thank you to Minotaur Books for my digital copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I have a lot of mixed feelings on this started off so strong with the dark case of a child overdosing, and I was so curious to know where it would go from there, but then it very quickly turned into a cringy romance that felt so out of place and disjointed from the rest of the storyline. I would be reading a chapter about the case and then out of nowhere there would be full paragraphs that felt like they belonged in a romance novel instead of the crime novel that this is described as. Because of all of the focus on the romance between the two characters, it felt like the actual story and the case that it's focused around got lost, and the ending when it's wrapped up felt like an afterthought. Overall, this one wasn't for me, but if you don't mind a heavy dose of romance in your thriller, then this one might be for you!
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I enjoyed reading this debut book and will be looking for more stories by this author. This was a mystery, a romance and the story was dark at times, but was a great read. I can’t wait to see what comes next from this author.
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This was just ok for me. I don't usually care for romantic suspense but the romantic relationship in this actually did hold my interest. The mystery was just so-so: not terrible but not outstanding either. I liked that the main character was a transcriber and aspiring writer.
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The cover of Hannah Morrissey's debut novel caught my eye - and the description of Hello, Transcriber sealed the deal.
"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."

We meet lead character Hazel as she stands on a bridge in the city of Black Harbor...where the river is whispering to her to jump.

That dark, unsettling, foreboding tone and atmosphere continues on, living on every page. I was totally drawn into the story from those first pages. And the best bit of all was that I had no idea what was going to happen. The plot of Hello, Transcriber was different, unexpected and appreciated. I was caught off guard many times. Hazel was not what I expected at all. Her choices lead her into questionable relationships and dangerous situations. Definitely some 'don't go into the basement' moments.

The idea of a transcriber getting personally involved with a case was such a great premise. Fellow mystery lovers - can you imagine transcribing the details of a crime and following the investigation - let alone inserting yourself in it? 

The supporting players are also unpredictable and dangerous, each with their own secrets and agendas, keeping their own secrets. The city itself is a character as well, especially that bridge. Morrissey's description are visceral.

Hello, Transcriber was an atmospheric, gritty, addictive read for me. Kudos to Morrissey for a great debut - I'll be watching for her next book.
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“Hello, Transcriber,” by Hannah Morrissey, Minotaur Books, 304 pages, Nov. 30, 2021.

Every night, in Black Harbor, Wisconsin, police transcriber Hazel Greenlee listens as detectives probe crime witnesses and suspects.

An aspiring novelist, Hazel believes that writing a book could be her ticket out. Hazel’s husband, Tommy, is an aquatic ecologist. Her sister, Elle, is cohost of a radio show and is planning her wedding.

Hazel doesn’t have an idea for a novel, until her neighbor, William Samson Jr., confesses to hiding the corpse of an overdose victim, Jordan McAllister, 9.

With an insider’s look at the investigation, Hazel becomes spellbound by the lead detective, Nikolai Kole. He is back from a recent suspension.

Through his transcription, she learns that the suspicious death is linked to Tyler Krejarek, known as the Candy Man―a drug dealer notorious for selling illegal substances to children. Jordan lived in the same building as Krejarek. She starts writing a novel based on the case.

I like the unique premise of “Hello, Transcriber.” But Morrissey tends to over describe things. I feel the plot derailed when Hazel and Nik began an affair. It is more of a romance novel than a mystery or police procedural.

Hannah Morrissey’s debut novel, “Hello, Transcriber,” was inspired by her work as a police transcriber.

In accordance with FTC guidelines, the advance reader's edition of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a review.
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