PREORDER FOR FEBRUARY 1, 2022
“Beautifully brilliant, utterly original, and completely inspired, Brendan Slocumb authored one of my new favorite novels.
The book touches on everything- race, dreams, doubt, love, mystery. I was hanging onto every word, desperately invested in Ray’s story, a young Black man who just wants to play his violin living in a world set to see him fail. The writing will have you rooting for Ray, getting angry on his behalf, crying with him, triumphing with him.
This novel gets 10s across the board from me. I finished the whole thing in one night.”
“Utterly original and downright gripping.” —Zakiya Dalila Harris, New York Times bestselling author of The Other Black Girl
Growing up Black in rural North Carolina, Ray McMillian’s life is already mapped out. If he’s lucky, he’ll get a job at the hospital cafeteria. If he’s extra lucky, he’ll earn more than minimum wage. But Ray has a gift and a dream—he’s determined to become a world-class professional violinist, and nothing will stand in his way. Not his mother, who wants him to stop making such a racket; not the fact that he can’t afford a violin suitable to his talents; not even the racism inherent in the world of classical music.
When he discovers that his great-great-grandfather’s beat-up old fiddle is actually a priceless Stradivarius, all his dreams suddenly seem within reach. Together, Ray and his violin take the world by storm. But on the eve of the renowned and cutthroat Tchaikovsky Competition—the Olympics of classical music—the violin is stolen, a ransom note for five million dollars left in its place. Ray will have to piece together the clues to recover his treasured Strad…before it’s too late. With the descendants of the man who once enslaved Ray’s great-great-grandfather asserting that the instrument is rightfully theirs, and with his family staking their own claim, Ray doesn’t know who he can trust—or whether he will ever see his beloved violin again.