I am hesitant when it comes to celebrity book clubs, but recently I have found that the Good Morning America book club is not one to sleep on. The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb is a literary mystery with a unique plot line that throws your right into the action from the first chapter. This one is a page-turner, and I found the world of classical music and violins absolutely fascinating. Prepare to go down a Google rabbit hole with this one. I found myself researching Stradivarius values and the sound difference between an inexpensive violin and a $10 million dollar Strad. Take my word for it, but I have a feeling you will love The Violin Conspiracy as much as I did.
Violinist Ray McMillian is preparing for one of the biggest shows of his life, the Tchaikovsky Competition, with his great-great-grandfather's prized old fiddle. After discovering that his beat-up fiddle is actually a $10 million dollar Stradivarius violin, he has family and strangers coming out of the woodwork to get their piece of the treasure. Weeks before the competition, Ray finds that his violin is stolen, with a five-million-dollar ransom note left in its place. Ray must hunt for his violin while also preparing for a competition that could change his life.
I was hooked from the first chapter. I love when a book has a unique plot with an underlying mystery that keeps me guessing. After the first few chapters, we learn that Ray's violin is stolen. You will have a lot of unanswered questions:
Why is this such a big deal? Can't he go buy a new one?
Who steals a violin and leaves a random note?
Serioulsy, a $5 million dollar ransom note?! I don't get it.
Hold on, your questions will be answered, but it will take most of the book to unravel the history of Ray's family, the violin, his journey in the white dominated classical music industry and who the thief is.
I was honestly shocked when I discovered who took the violin. I was invested in this violin and thought I had it figured out, but wow was I wrong. This one is heavy with classical music history, orchestra culture, etc. but stick it out through some of those dense parts, because you will be rewarded.
The Violin Conspiracy is another one where you must take the time to read the Author's Note. I do not want to give anything away, but it brought the entire story full circle and added a context and perspective to Ray's story that made me appreciate this debut novel that much more. This is more than just a story of a stolen violin. It is a story of race, class, privilege and what can happen if someone sees your potential and gives you the opportunity you need.
“And none of that mattered. No matter how nice the suit, no matter how educated his speech or how strong the handshake, no matter how much muscle he packed on, no matter how friendly or how smart he was, none of it mattered at all. He was just a Black person. That’s all they saw and that’s all he was.”
“Music is about communication—a way of touching your fellow man beyond and above and below language.”
"Alone, we are a solitary violin, a lonely flute, a trumpet singing in the dark. Together, we are a symphony.”