What would you do if you lost something you loved so much, it felt like an inextricable part of your being? This is the predicament Ray Mcmillian finds himself in after his beloved violin inexplicably disappears from his hotel room in New York. The mystery of the missing fiddle creates an international frenzy as everyone wants to know: who stole the violin, and where is it now? For Ray, though, this is about more than just a stolen instrument. This is about his livelihood, and the adversity he had to face to become one of the most renowned violinists in the country. While the theft is the backbone of the novel, moving the story forward, this is truly a story about what a young black man was forced to endure to be allowed to harness his gift. I have never read another book that could so expertly bring attention to the beauty of a subject while also showing the dark underbelly of the racism that runs rampant underneath. Whether it be a violin solo, an unjustified police search, or just a brunch with a loved one, I found Ray’s life to be richly detailed and an important window into the realities of black musicians in the classical music sector today. If you want a contemporary fiction read with themes of social justice, mystery, and unforgettably the power of music, pick up this debut.
The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb, (List Price: $28, Anchor, 9780593315415, February 2022)
Reviewed by Emma June Wood, Main Street Reads in Summerville, South Carolina