Listen (ebook)

Listen (ebook)

Clare Taylor
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The death of a childhood friend leads a woman journalist to a US military surveillance base on a bleak Yorkshire moor, in this taut political thriller. Set in 1996, when US mass intercept surveillance in the UK was already fast expanding, Listen pits the macho and paranoid world of secret military intelligence against the women activists intent on protesting against the US presence. The personal journey of the chief protagonist, unusually an older woman, draws together a web of relationships between four very different women and the male National Security Officers responsible for controlling protesters. Based on a factual background, Listen anticipates the contemporary issue of mass state intercept surveillance exposed by Edward Snowden, and underlines how this activity has been expanding covertly in the UK for decades. Sarah Braithwaite's BBC radio documentaries once won prizes, but she's long since been sidelined. Only one day after Sarah's fiftieth birthday, and her new young female boss threatens to bin her safe but uninspiring job editing short stories. It's all change at the BBC. When an elderly woman submits an Orwellian story about an expanding US military base which, the woman claims, is illegally intercepting UK telecommunications traffic, Sarah rejects her as paranoid. The woman, undeterred, continues to harass her, pleading for help for “a girl in danger” but Sarah - her own London life in free-fall - refuses to listen. Unexpected news of the death of her childhood friend, Lucy Jepson, prompts Sarah to escape back to her northern roots where she learns that Lucy, flamboyant heiress to an industrial fortune, has died, poor and alone, on a derelict smallholding. Shocked by the circumstances surrounding Lucy's death, and driven as much by instinct as logic, Sarah determines to find out how she came to die.

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