The Violin Conspiracy

Penguin Random House Audio. Feb. 2022. 12:04 hrs. ISBN 9780593554968. $20. THRILLER
From the riveting opening words, JD Jackson delivers a pitch-perfect performance of this sparkling debut novel by Slocumb, a classical musician and music educator. In this story, Ray’s beloved Grandma Nora helps him cope with the systemic, vicious racism he faces as a young Black boy interested in classical music by giving him PopPop’s fiddle, the violin given to her grandfather by the plantation owner who enslaved him. His family is unaware of its staggering value, even as Ray becomes a virtuoso violinist. Weeks before he is due to perform in the prestigious Tchaikovsky Competition, his instrument disappears. Jackson’s sonorous, well-modulated delivery smooths the narrative’s back-and-forth flow from the present-day search for the violin to Ray’s past. The measured pacing also builds incredible suspense. Lovely classical music and Slocumb’s narration of the author’s note add value to the audio production.
VERDICT A highly recommended purchase; this twisty heist thriller is also a poignant coming-of-age story, making it an excellent choice for many young adults, especially those interested in music.
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