Tyndale, Feb 1 2010, $12.99
The town of Marlo seems like an ideal community to live in as it is quiet, serene and small enough that no resident is a stranger. People go put of their way to help each other as good neighbors should. That changes when a new website listrentoyourself.net recording conversations that people had when they assumed they were safely private.
Two men know this kind of site will turn neighbors against each other and tear apart the fiber of families and community. Opinion columnist and crossword constructor Damian Underwood knows what words can do and fears the posting of private conversations will lead to violence; he proves correct. Police Detective Frank Merret sees the crimes that happen because of the private conversations on the website and does his best to figure out what is happening. Damian’s family is a casualty while Frank thinks his ex wife is a target.
With a nod to politicians who speak foolishly on what they thought were closed microphones, words spoken in private but revealed in public changes the relationships and thereby the complexion of a small town long after the perpetrator is caught. The characters are realistically drawn with the audience caring what happens to the reporter, the cop and their families. Stunning in its simplicity yet resulting in nasty consequences, Rene Gutteridge provides a cautionary tale of beware of Big Brother (or sister) as he or she need not be from the Feds as your neighbor can listen from anywhere with today’s technology.