A good read: ‘The Violin Conspiracy is this year’s book by Richmond Reads | top story

BATAVIA — As guests entered the Richmond Memorial Library Thursday night, they were greeted by a violin quartet from the Genesee Symphony Orchestra, playing classical music.

It would foreshadow the reveal of Richmond Reads’ 2022 book, Brendan Slocumb’s The Violin Conspiracy.

This is Richmond Reads’ fourth year and Samantha Stryker Basile, adult and community services librarian and coordinator for Richmond Reads, said they start reading before they finish the previous program.

“We read anything and everything to find the perfect book,” she said.

However, the committee kept coming back to “The Violin Conspiracy” in particular.

“We were drawn to the powerfully written passages about music, the element of mystery and the uncompromising portrayal of the obstacles faced by a young black classical musician in America today,” said Stryker Basile.

A part-mystery, part-coming-of-age debut novel by Slocumb was a GMA Book Club Good Morning America selection and has been on many lists including: The Seattle Times’ Most Anticipated Book of the Year , Goodreads: Most Anticipated Mysteries and Thrillers, Medium: The Year’s Most Exciting Book Releases, Pop Sugar: 35 Must-Read Thrillers and Mystery Books to Keep You Chasing Clues, The Millions: Most Anticipated Books of the Year, A Publishers Weekly Top Ten Mystery / Thriller and Book Riot: The 15 Best New Mystery Books.

The book is about Ray McMillian, who absolutely loves playing the violin and nothing will stop him from pursuing his dream of becoming a professional musician.

Not his mother—who thinks he should get a real job—not the fact that he can’t afford a top-flight violin, and not the racism inherent in the classical music world.

When he makes the startling discovery that his great-grandfather’s violin is actually a priceless Stradivarius, his star begins to rise. Then, as Tchaikovsky’s International Competition – the Olympic Games of Classical Music – draws near, his precious family heirloom is stolen. Ray is determined to get it back.

But now his family and the descendants of the man who once enslaved Ray’s great-grandfather claim the violin is theirs. Against all odds and mounting pressure, will Ray ever see his beloved violin again?

In a recorded video message, Slocumb said “The Violin Conspiracy” is a story about perseverance and hard work and the power of a person who believes in you and in yourself.

“This story came to me in the summer of 2020 when everything was shutting down for everyone,” he said. “As a professional violinist, I have not played concerts. I didn’t give any lessons. I wasn’t practicing for concerts or performances, so I really had the opportunity to sit down and write.”

Slocumb said all of the characters in the story are people he actually knows; Many of them from his own life.

Slocumb will be visiting on October 20th at 7pm.

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