“The Violin Conspiracy” by Brendan Slocumb

“When I opened Brendan Slocumb’s debut novel, “The Violin Conspiracy,” I was immediately transported to a place I’d never been, surrounded by characters I’d never met. In the crowded world of fiction, that’s no small accomplishment. Taking inspiration from his day job as a music teacher, Slocumb has orchestrated an engaging and suspenseful story about an aspiring musician and his great-great-grandfather’s violin.


Rayquan (who prefers to be called Ray) McMillian is a senior in high school with lofty aspirations. His mother, who doesn’t understand her son’s obsession with “that fiddle,” wants him to graduate early so he can get a job to help pay the bills. “You could have been making good money at Popeyes by now,” she tells him. But Ray loves playing the violin, and he plays it well. If Ray were a White teenager, he’d be considered a prodigy, but most people do not take this young Black violinist seriously.”

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