|Title:||The Devil's Violin|
|Published:||2014, Story Merchant Books|
|No. of Pages:||161|
|Cover Price:||$10.95 Paperback, $4.95 Kindle|
Art Johnson's The Devil's Violin, is a fascinating story of a professional thief hired to steal a famous violin owned by Niccolo Paganini, a famous violinist; the violin is said to have been played by the devil himself. The supposed violin was donated to a museum in Italy. Early on, the readers are informed that the actual violin is hidden in Paganini's studio and left for his descendants. One of the questions is whether or not the bad or good guys will figure out that the violin in the museum is a copy. A violinist is murdered, the main characters lives' are threatened, and there is generally an air of suspense throughout.
Although this novel is well-worth reading, there are flaws. The author has spent more time in his characterization of the bad guys, and very little on Chris Clarke, et al. In fact, until reading the back of the novel, it was assumed that Gus Happy and Maria Sononi, who were hired to steal the famed violin, were the actual protagonists. The novel is way too short (but doesn't fit the official criteria of a novella), and the author would have done well to spend some time on the characters, especially Chris Clarke. The characters, even the bad guys, are quite likeable, however, and "The Man in Black," adds a suspenseful air to the novel. In addition, there are dozens of minor misspellings, grammatical errors, punctuation errors, etc., which would have been caught by a professional editor. Jonathan, another character, is searching for the fountain of youth; and although his search puts him in contact with Gus and Maria, it isn't explained why he has supernatural powers or why he has anything to do with the story line.
Art Johnson has a thorough knowledge of the music world which is evident in the novel, and the premise of the story is fascinating. It would just have been better if more words had been spent on bringing out the storyline and characters. There are surprises throughout and a definite air of suspense. This author certainly has potential, and since this novel can be easily read in a couple of hours, it's definitely one to pick up.
Special thanks to Ken Atchity of The Story Merchant for supplying a review copy of this book.
This book may be purchased at Amazon:
The Devil's Violin, Paperback Version
The Devil's Violin, Kindle Edition