GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK! • In this riveting page-turner, Ray McMillian is a Black classical musician on the rise—until a shocking theft sends him on a desperate quest to recover his lost family heirloom violin on the eve of the most prestigious musical competition in the world. This “galvanizing blend of thriller, coming-of-age drama, and probing portrait of racism … will do for classical music what The Queen’s Gambit did for chess” (Booklist).
“This novel, which will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very last page, is sure to be a favorite.” —The Washington Post
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.