With his background as a music educator and performer, Brendan Slocumb brings a unique authenticity to his storytelling that shines through in this novel.
Bern Hendricks, a musicology professor, is asked to authenticate a newly discovered piece by Frederick Delaney, a renowned 20th-century composer. Little does he know; this assignment will lead him down a rabbit hole of secrets and lies. With the help of a computer whiz, he uncovers evidence suggesting Delaney may have stolen his most famous work from a young Black composer named Josephine Reed. Determined to right this wrong, Bern finds himself in the crosshairs of a powerful organization that will stop at nothing to protect their secret—even if it means resorting to murder.
The narrative skillfully alternates between the 1920s and 1930s and the present day, weaving together a tale of race, power, and the world of modern music. While some parts might seem improbable, the mystery remains fascinating and kept me hooked until the conclusion.
One highlight of the novel is Slocumb’s vivid portrayal of 1920s New York City. Slocumb’s attention to detail brings the era to life—the music scene, the food, and the cultural mix that defined the city. It’s particularly intriguing to learn that both Black and White audiences frequented many music venues—a testament to the complex history of race relations in America.
However, I have to dock a star for the author’s note, which left me with a sour taste. Despite this, Symphony of Secrets is a great read that music enthusiasts and mystery lovers alike will enjoy. So, if you’re ready for a journey through the world of music, power, and intrigue, give this one a go. Four stars from me.
Author Brendan Slocumb has found his writing niche. For over twenty years, he has been a public and private school music educator and has performed with several orchestras. So it was natural for him to have music be the backdrop of his two novels, The Violin Conspiracy, and Symphony of Secrets.
I would have given Symphony of Secrets 5 stars were it not for the author’s note. It rubbed me the wrong way. 4 stars.