“The Violin Conspiracy,” a new literary thriller by Brendan Slocumb

Posted on: February 2, 2022

“Classical music stars lead surprisingly monotonous lives. They practice every day,” writes Joshua Barone in Tuesday’s (2/1) New York Times. “They do it again and again, a routine punctuated … by the thrill of performance. So it’s remarkable that a life like this makes for such a page-turner in Brendan Slocumb’s debut novel, ‘The Violin Conspiracy,’ a musical bildungsroman cleverly contained within a literary thriller … about a rising star’s instrument being stolen and held for a multimillion-dollar ransom just days before he had hoped to make history at the International Tchaikovsky Competition.… ‘The Violin Conspiracy,’ though, adds another step: the loss of a family heirloom both valuable and priceless. And its owner, Ray McMillian … faces other problems…. He is reminded of his place in America by a cop who draws a gun on him during a gratuitous traffic stop that leads to being held in jail instead of performing … An author’s note mentions that many of the novel’s events ‘come from my own life experiences.’ (Black musicians told similar stories during demonstrations over George Floyd’s murder in 2020.) … Slocumb … easily conjures the thrill of mastering a tough musical passage and the tinnitus-like torture of everyday racism.”