Growing up Black in rural North Carolina, Ray McMillian's life is already mapped out. 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 beat-up, family fiddle is actually a priceless Stradivarius, all his dreams suddenly seem within reach, and 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. Without it, Ray feels like he's lost a piece of himself. As the competition approaches, Ray must not only reclaim his precious violin, but prove to himself--and the world--that no matter the outcome, there has always been a truly great musician within him.
A Good Morning America GMA Book Club Pick! - ONE OF THE WASHINGTON POST'S BEST MYSTERY BOOKS OF THE YEAR - A Best Book of the Year: NPR, GOODREADS, Air Mail, Book Riot - A CrimeReads Best Mystery Book of the Year
A MOST ANTICPIATED BOOK OF THE YEAR: The Seattle Times, Goodreads, The Millions
A Medium Most Exciting Book Releases of the Year - Pop Sugar 35 Must-Read Thrillers and Mystery Books to Keep You Chasing Clues - A Publishers Weekly Top Ten Mystery/Thriller
"Slocumb imbues his character's life with so much authenticity in the details, details that anyone who has played a stringed instrument, or played in a professional ensemble, will recognize. . . . Where Slocumb shines ... is in the passages where he shows Ray's grit. . . . [Brendan Slocumb] has plenty of brio to share with readers as well as listeners."
"Such a page-turner . . . a musical bildungsroman cleverly contained within a literary thriller. . . . Slocumb isn't too different from his protagonist: a natural. He easily conjures the thrill of mastering a tough musical passage and the tinnitus-like torture of everyday racism."
--The New York Times