Cover Image: Hello, Transcriber

Hello, Transcriber

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The Story: Hazel Greenlee works as a police transcriber for Black Harbour Police Department. She enjoys her night shifts and her new job is going great until her neighbour told her about the hidden body of an overdose victim in a dumpster. As Hazel becomes entangled in this case, she also finds herself infatuated with the lead investigator Nikolai Kole.

My thoughts: What caught my attention about this story is the transcriber profession. I have not read anything like that before so it was really interesting! Although it was a bit awkward to read every comma and period in the transcriptions, I did get used to it.

Hazel is a very complex character and she will grow on you. She is a confident person in many ways yet she is vulnerable when it comes to relationships. She is unhappy in her marriage and finds comfort in her work. I find her infatuation with Nikolai endearing and frustrating at the same time.

I am not sure how I feel about the plot. It was pretty straightforward and there wasn't a lot of twists. It lacked the depth I was looking for. But I did enjoy the writing. It was atmospheric and descriptive. There is just something about the writing I find soothing and melancholy, and for this I am looking forward to reading the next book by this author!


Pub Date: Nov 30th, 2021

***Thank you St. Martin's Press for this gifted review copy. All opinions expressed are my own.***

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This book is a mood. By mood I mean take all the vibes of say Taylor Swift’s Folklore album and put it into a book. It is a melancholy read that also showcases a love of language. While I cannot say this is a feel-good read by any stretch of the imagination (in fact I would say it is downright depressing), it is absolutely compelling. I actually found it difficult to put it down. Even though it was either going to make me cringe or cry, I wanted to know what was going to happen.

The main character in this one is a transcriber for the police department and I found her job fascinating. I would say this is a very moody thriller and it actually creeped me out at several points. I think this is due to the author’s expert use of words. It is very atmospheric and so when a crime happens, it immediately places you in the scene. Imagination is aided here by the gorgeous use of language.

Now I will say you may need light-hearted read after this one, but it is worth the read if just for the intriguing plot and narrative. The main character here is relatively unlikable, but at the same time she is so well-written that the reader understands why she acts the way she does. Her motivations, her depression, and her actions all align. If you are looking for a dark thriller, I think this one will keep your interest and have you thinking about it long after you have finished.

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The best part about this book is the atmosphere. The place is a character in the book and the author has captured the bleak, melancholic feel so well. You can feel it in every descriptive sentence.

The book is narrated by the protagonist Hazel Greenlee who has taken up a job as a transcriber in this remote town. She shares a tumultuous relationship with her husband and her mother. Her sister is an influencer. Hazel has many familial issues in life but unfortunately, they are not fully fleshed out.

Hazel is an interesting character. We see her and her issues in detail. She is intelligent but anti social. She can be snarky and yet emotional.
Things change for her when a deadly crime in the small town occurs. It rocks her world as it also brings into her life Detective Nik- her illicit love interest,

The story had a great premise but there were some holes in the plotlines and some loose ends.
I think this is a great debut nonetheless.

I'll be keeping an eye out for the author's next book.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for a digital ARC an exchange for an honest review.

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Many thanks to NetGalley and St Martin's PressMinotaur Books for gifting me a digital ARC of the debut suspense novel by Hannah Morrissey - 4 stars!

Hannah got a job as a night shift police transcriber when her and her husband, Tommy, moved to Black Harbor, Wisconsin, a town known only for its crime. Hannah wants desperately to be a writer and she finds herself drawn to the voice of Detective Nik Kole. He is the lead investigator on a murder that involves her neighbor, who dumped the body of a teenage boy who died from an overdose. Detective Kole is investigating the drug trail, supplied by someone known as the Candy Man. As Hannah gets closer to Nik and the investigation, the rest of her world starts falling apart.

This was such a wonderful, atmospheric novel - you can feel the bleakness of the area, the scariness of the bridge where so many jumped to their death, and the fear and tension throughout is palpable. Hannah's husband is a piece of work and you can't help but root for Hannah to have her chance at happiness. I absolutely loved reading the transcriptions as Hannah heard them from the police recordings - really put you in Hannah's mindset. Plus, as someone who transcribes tapes for a living, it was so interesting to see that there are people who actually speak punctuation (wonder if my boss could be trained?). Loved the cover too. A wonderful debut - can't wait to read more from this author!

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This took me by surprise. I went through three phases in reading. The first phase was me finding a lot in common with our main character Hazel. I enjoyed learning about her and learning about her new job. The second phase was a mix of "what?" and "hmms.." I think I got thrown off by some adulterous activity even though hubby-dearest was not a dear at all. I still can't stand by the toxicity of it all. I think that may be a trope I discovered I disliked. All the while, I'm rooting for the suspicious budding relationship while feeling just as cold-hearted as Hazel. There are a lot of underlying emotions that could be quite triggering if you are a person in any sort of abusive relationship or have thoughts of depression or suicide. The third phase was all problem-solving and action. The last 25% I read in one sitting and could not put down. I really enjoyed the direction it went and the character growth of Hazel.

Overall, I think I'll be thinking of this one for quite a while. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for allowing me to read an e-ARC of this rollercoaster of a book.

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Aspiring writer Hazel takes a new job as a police transcriber as an escape and fodder for new stories. She never expected to find herself in the middle of a dangerous murder case. Will this case cost her everything?

Author Hannah Morrissey knows how to set the scene! It didn't take me long to realize I was caught up in the desolate small town of Black Harbor, which is literally and figuratively sinking. I empathized with Hazel -- her loneliness, unhappy life, and desire to leave her miserable marriage. As Hazel worked clandestinely on the Candy Man case, I sensed its ominous nature.

I enjoyed how this crime thriller unfolded and kept me guessing about the Candy Man's identity until the end. Hello, Transcriber provides an engaging read with its pace and intrigue, as well as its complex characters. It's a well-done debut novel!

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As a newbie in town, and hailing from "up north", Hazel has a lot to prove. She buries herself in her work as a transcriber for the police, and pretty soon everyone notices her talent. That's a good thing, because her home life isn't the best. Her husband hangs around with her loser neighbor and whatever spark there may have once been in their marriage is gone. As each officer begins their daily report with "Hello, Transcriber", Hazel fantasizes about what each might look like based on their voices as she transcribes from her headphones. Sometimes she gets it wrong, but when Nik Kole walks in, she is pleasantly surprised, and lives for his recordings. Soon after, Hazel is entangled in an emergent crime in more ways than one, finally snapping out of her boredom, but engaging in some pretty dangerous behavior along the way. While this sounds like more romance than thriller, Morrissey blends the two together to tell a fast paced and engaging story.

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Dark, depressing tale of drugs and murder

Hazel Greenlee has moved to crime-ridden Black Harbor, Wisconsin with her aquatic ecologist husband, who was hired by the City. Her dream is to be a full-time writer but in the meantime she uses her impressive keyboarding skills to become a transcriptionist for the local police department working on graveyard shift.

Not happy at home or in the new town, she listens to the dark crimes as she transcribes in her new job and fantasizes about one of the voices she hears giving reports.

This is really a dark tale that just keeps getting darker the longer you read. It's written well but I'd go into it with the right mindset if I were you.

Child drug deaths, suicides, murders, and more don't make this a FUN read even though, as I already wrote, it is written well.

I received this book from Minotaur Books through Net Galley in the hopes that I would read it and leave an unbiased review.

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Hello, Transcriber is the opening line of each dictation file Hazel works on as a police transcriber. It is her job to write out what the officers say happened at a crime. She hears about the worst of the city, sometimes in great detail. When Hazel writes of young kids and teenagers dying of drug overdoses told from the same officer, Nik. Hazel and Nik enter an interesting relationship and both want to solve the drug problem in town.

The idea of the story is very interesting. I imagine a police transcriber job is not for the faint of heart. You can't help but be pulled into ongoing investigations and wanting to solve them; at least I couldn't. Hazel is a complicated person. She 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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Yes, yes, yes. Great book; I really enjoyed this. The writing is fantastic, the characters are engaging & I would definitely recommend!!

I would like to thank NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

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A thank you to Netgalley for sharing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I was intrigued by the premise when I requested the ARC and as a longtime WI resident/librarian,
reading it wasn't really an option. Of course, the glowing critical reviews only added to my curiosity. According to Crimereads, it's one of the best mysteries of the month. I only wish that was the case for me. Don't get me wrong, this is nowhere near a bad novel, and it does in fact, have a number of things going. The it's incredibly atmospheric, the setting description spot-on, and the writing itself is compelling. Clunky at times (transcription scenes for which I quickly lost patience) and often excessively dramatic, but at times almost poetically so - as a word nerd myself, I appreciated the author's similar fascination with nuance. Overall, I enjoyed the book for the most part, I just would have enjoyed it more had I not occasionally not found the writing and main character irritating. Will be interested to see this debut author's follow-up.

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Hazel is at sea when she takes a job as a transcriber with the Black Harbor Police. Her husband Tommy is abusive and obsessed with guns, her sister Elle is getting married, and she wants to be. writer. It's her first night and Sammy, her neighbor appears in the window to write a message on the glass- a message that leads to the discovery of a dead child, a drug dealer, and all the rest of the things that happen in this fast paced genre leaping (thriller? procedural? romantic suspense?) novel which is at times unrealistic. Hazel finds herself fascinated with Nik, the police officer on the case, who has his own secrets. There are additional murders and some interesting twists but there are also plot holes. I liked Elle, who was a bright spot in this otherwise quite dark and grim novel (no spoilers re Elle). Tommy- well, he's odious. Hazel's interesting and I felt for her. I'll admit to being a bit confused as things grew to a crescendo but no spoilers from me. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. A good debut - I'm looking forward to more from Morrissey.

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I received a digital advance copy of Hello, Transcriber by Hannah Morrissey via NetGalley. Hello, Transcriber is scheduled for release on November 30, 2021.

Hello, Transcriber is the story of Hazel, a woman hired as a transcriber for a police department in Wisconsin. Hazel is married (no longer happily), and seems to be hiding in this Wisconsin location, though we aren’t sure from what. While working one night, a confession arrives at Hazel’s work window, pulling her into both a criminal investigation and a relationship with the officer investigating the crime.

The story is told entirely from Hazel’s point of view, though we get a bit of perspective from other characters through the reports she transcribes for officers involved in the case. Hazel’s relationship with one officer (Kole) is well-developed, and becomes a primary focus for the story. Less well developed are Hazel’s relationships with other people, including her husband. We see their relationship as it exists during the current story, where their relationship contains nothing good. I would have like to see a bit of how they were before, to understand Hazel a bit better. She tells us she loved her husband, but the reader gets no evidence.

I also wanted more of Hazel’s past in general. She hints at huge events from her past that clearly influence what is happening for her int he current story. As a reader, those past events were only hints, not clearly developed in a way that helped explain her current choices.

In terms of setting, I had some difficulties with both the time and place of the story. The story felt as if it were occurring in a small town. Sort of. The small town feel was inconsistent, with some events indicating that we were actually in a city, not a small town at all. I had the same challenge with the time of the story. Overall, the story felt as if it were taking place in the 90s. Yet, technology used in the story made it clear we were in present day. These inconsistencies sometimes pulled me out of the story.

What kept me in the story was the messiness of Hazel. She is definitely flawed, but in ways that are understandable (even when I wanted more of the past that led her to current choices). Her accidental immersion in a criminal investigation, and the questionable choices she makes in regard to her participation in the investigation, worked to keep me invested in the questions of the story.

Overall, Hello, Transcriber was an intriguing crime story focused on a unintentional investigator. While some of the relationships and elements of the setting could have been better, the story as a whole remained engaging.

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Black Harbour, Wisconsin is about the murkiest place you can go in small town crime fiction. A high crime rate, a bridge that takes lives and drug addicted kids living in dilapidated housing. These characteristics give the reader a fairly good idea of the setting of this suspense novel.

Hazel takes a job in the local police department transcribing reports on the night shift and soon involves herself in one of the cases that she has a connection to. Her neighbour Sam writes a message for her on the window of her workplace. Hazel, along with one of the lesser respected investigators in the department, work to find out who has been feeding drugs to young kids. Add in some complicated emotions and romantic involvement and you have a unique story.

What I liked:
- The write what you know factor. The author has also worked as a police transcriber
- A little bit of steam in a thrilling story
- I added a few new words to my vocabulary with this one. The author either has a large vocabulary herself or has a very good thesaurus
- The looming darkness of the story and the jump out of your chair moments

What I didn’t love
-There was a LGBTQ+ character which is great but also felt like it was added simply to say that there was representation. The plot line attached to this character fell short

Thank you to @netgalley and @Minotaur_books for this arc in exchange for my honest opinions. Hello, Transcriber comes out November 30, 2021.

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When Hazel Greenlee is hired as a transcriber for her local police department, she gets more than she ever bargained for. Hazel is awkward but very intelligent, and somehow jibes with charming but rogue detective Nik Kole. As crimes go down around the small town, Hazel gets drawn in much further than she had ever imagined; she’s just supposed to be the transcriber.

I was surprised about how much I liked this book. The plot was enjoyable, but the prose was just beautiful and haunting. I would read it again for that alone. This is not your typical police procedural or mystery; really, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever read. This is Morrisey’s third book, and I really hope to see more from her if her writing is this powerful every time.

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I have a background in security and I like procedural reads. I found this to be a sharp and thrilling read. It touches on the crime at hand, the personalities of the responding personnel and so much more. This is one of the best crime fiction reads of the year!

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I really enjoyed the premise of “Hello Transcriber'', Hazel Greenlee’s job is to listen to recorded statements made by police officers and type them into written reports for file. She’s sworn to secrecy, and the details she listens to and transcribes would be any true crime buff’s dream job. I really like the character of Hazel, she’s in a dead-end marriage, clueless that her husband is a total loser and self-centered jerk. She's awkward and antisocial, yet very intelligent and super fast at typing. It doesn’t take long for her to fall under the charismatic ways of lead detective Nik Kole.
The plot and storyline are too full of holes and loose ends for me to enjoy, though. Why does a transcriber immediately enter a crime scene with an investigator? She’s office support, not qualified or trained for fieldwork. Why do they sully the crime scene with their unrestrained attraction to one another? And she’s just a little too close to the suspects, to the point of having a shared basement with no locks and a direct path to her own bedroom.
But I have to admit, I did keep reading and I stayed hooked until the end. It's an interesting plot and an enjoyable read as long as you don't question the practicality of the story.
Sincere thanks to St. Martin’s Press- Minotaur for an ARC in exchange for my honest review. The publishing date is November 30, 2021.

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First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Hannah Morrissey, St. Martin’s Press, and Minotaur Books for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Hannah Morrissey impresses in this powerful novel, where a woman in a new position within a small police force takes on a significant role in a baffling set of murders. Thrust into the middle of it all, Hazel Greenlee moves from simply documenting the reports the police detectives make to being a key part of solving the case, all while getting herself into a great deal of personal trouble. With well-crafted plot lines and impressive narrative momentum, Hannah Morrissey ensures that readers take note of her style.

It’s never easy being new in town, even less so when everyone seems to know one another. Such is the case for Hazel Greenlee, who has recently moved to Black Harbor, Wisconsin. When she takes a job as a police transcriber, she presumes it will be all work and that she will have to sit on the secrets that flow into her ears, but it ends up being much more than that.

The death of a young boy from an overdose is bad enough to hear through the transcription machine, but when Hazel connects with one of the detectives, it take on a new horror. How someone could have coaxed a young boy to take pills and then later tossed him into a Dumpster is unreal, though it is all too true.

As the days progress, Hazel finds herself drawn to one of the detectives on the case, with secrets of his own. Risking everything, Hazel puts herself in the middle of the case, seeking to know more than is revealed to her in investigative reports. Soon, she finds herself having crossed many lines, some of which she cannot erase, which is sure to cause issues both at work and home. As a killer remains on the lam, it will take Hazel’s intuition and perhaps a little luck to stay out of the crosshairs, though she is already in a great deal of trouble away from the precinct. A great story that kept me wondering until the final chapter, proving that Hannah Morrissey is another author to keep on my radar.

I love police procedurals, as many who have seen a number of my reviews will know. However, many of these novels seem to use the same format, so I look for unique takes in order to really make them worth my while. Hannah Morrissey delivers with an angle I would have not thought could work, that of a transcriptionist who is seeing and hearing of the crimes and fallout through recordings she must put into typed words. Morrissey does well to add depth and flavour to the story throughout, keeping the reader guessing as to how things will go and where the plot twist will take things. I am eager to see where things go from this debut.

Hazel Greenlee is a great character that connects easily with the reader. She’s got some issues through which she must work, but is also keen to make her mark. With some backstory tossed in amongst a great deal of character development, Hazel works her way into the middle of the Black Harbor community with ease. There is still much about Hazel that has not been revealed, so I can only hope Morrissey has more to come before too long.

Unique takes on crime thrillers is a sure way to distinguish one’s self in a genre that is supersaturated. Hannah Morrissey does well to show that she’s not only here to make her mark, but be memorable in doing so. There is much to praise within this novel, not the least of which is a strong narrative that keeps pushing ahead. Morrissey develops great characters, some likeable while others are truly sinister, without getting too wrapped up in them so as to hinder the story. The transcriptionist angle was genius and adds depth to the plot, as long as the reader can stomach reading some actual dialogue that includes dictated sentences (complete with verbalised punctuation). This was a great novel that kept me wondering and I can only hope that Hannah Morrissey has more to come before long.

Kudos, Madam Morrissey, for a fabulous debut. I am eager to see where you go with this premise in the coming years.

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I really wanted to love this-- great concept, snowy Midwestern setting-- but it felt overwritten and overwrought, with characters who do things normal humans wouldn't do. It just didn't work for me.

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Just not for me. I had a hard time connecting with the characters, location, and plot. cw - mentions of suicide

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