Title: The Lost Concerto by Helaine Mario
Publisher: Oceanview Publishing July 2015, 443 p.
Genre: mystery, thriller, romantic suspense, political intrigue
Helaine Mario grew up in NYC, graduated from Boston University and now resides in Washington DC and Sarasota FL. She published her first book Firebird in 2013, and it is now on my TBR pile. She founded (1998) the SunDial Foundation which contributes to more than thirty nonprofits in the DC area concerning women and children's issues.
A portion of the proceeds are donated to this foundation (inner city food banks, education, health, shelter, arts and economic development). Not only are you buying a great book, you are donating to a wonderful cause. Her extensive travel has contributed to her vivid descriptive prose.
I was looking for a large, complex compelling summer read, a la Discovery of Witches or Outlander and found it in The Lost Concerto. Hitchcock would have loved this book. Sumptuous locations (Paris, Brittany, Italy, Boston, Cape Cod, sanctuaries, concert halls, coastlines), lyrical prose, heartbreaking protagonists, gripping fast paced complex plots which are funny, poignant, powerful and evocative. It has it all. The lyrical writing involves all the senses as we are submerged in a web of intrigue which involves lost music, lost child, lost love, lost souls, and terrorists.
The story is told from several perspectives, providing you with a greater understanding of individual characters and overarching plot. Johnny O'Shea was an award winning investigative journalist. He died suspiciously in a boating accident while investigating the death of his wife's best friend Sofia and her son Tommy (Maggie's godson). Maggie O'Shea (48) is grieving for all of them, unable to play the piano which up has been her career, her solace and her soul. She is a smart, strong, sexy almost understated heroine struggling to move on with her life. A photograph of Zach(ary) Law, pianist, her first love, father of her son, MIA 30 years ago sends her off to find answers with the help of a quiet, crusty military intelligence office. Michael Beckett (and his dog Shiloh) still recovering from wounds received in Afghanistan is recruited to protect Maggie from a truly evil villain. Read on!!
Haunting, passionate, drama
Stolen art, poignant music, deadly terrorism
Stunning imagery, high adventure, nuanced characters,
I love the literary and musical references and quotes. All relevant. And the puns, often on Maggie's tshirts: Musicians Duet Better. I reread this as, in haste to turn the pages, I know I missed some of the nuances. It was fantastic. The author's note at the end is insightful - plots straight from the news, places she has visited (now in my list), Maggie's classical music favorites, her own rescue dog. This novel was inspired by her son Sean, a classical pianist.
Helaine Mario Firebird (2013)
Stef Penny, Jennifer Lee Carroll, Diane Sutterfield, Lauren Belfer, Elizabeth Kostova, Kate Ross
You never know when you will be ambushed by grief.
The Steinway was deafeningly silent.
It was that magical moment just before the conductor strode onto the stage, when all things were possible.
The powerful notes of Zach's concerto flew toward them like bright sparks in the pulsing darkness.
Full of pain. And passion.
Read as an ARC from Netgalley. Thank you!