…A Good Bedtime Reader 

Have you even been haunted by music? Jack Duncan in “The Adagio” by Alan Austin is haunted by a particular piece by Samuel Barber called “The Adagio for Strings.” His acquisition of this piece is his own fault. In this novel Jack is an actor and has a problem, women, regardless of their marital status.  At the beginning of the book he is performing at a show in 1960’s Omaha, Nebraska. He starts up a fling with his sexy co-star Louise Thompson. Who is, of course, married.  When her husband catches them in the act, instead of shooting him he gives him this record of the Adagio. He listens to it and hears a piercing, horrific blood curling scream at the climatic chord. Days later both Louise and her husband turn up dead and he knows that the recording and the deaths are related.

This scream and the murder sets him on a multi-year search. He ends up bottoming out with the derelicts near Shea Stadium in New York, where he fled to escape suspicion of the murder, and ultimately scouring Carniegie Hall where the record was made to find the source of the scream.

There is also an ulterior motive to this entire book. In the story of course he is accused of the murder and the penalty would be death. Even Jack Duncan admits that all the evidence points to him. During Mr. Austin’s time with Frontline and PBS, he covered several wrongful convictions and subsequent executions of innocent men. In this book, the character easily becomes one of those cases where all the evidence points to him, but he really didn’t do it. Facing an unforgiving and imperfect justice system, Austin uses the mechanics of the book to prove his point that the justice system is not always right, yet we still have the death penalty why? This book is sure to be a conversation piece and open up the discussion on the death penalty.

This book is an amazing ride and moves along quickly.  It has a good pace and is an excellent bed-time reader. Personally, I enjoyed reading it! The research of Leonard Bernstein, Carniegie hall and all the locations and places is amazing as well and truly breathes life into the page.  The author is Alan K. Austin. He has worked in television and radio media reporting for Frontline, PBS, and CBS affiliates in Topeka, Kansas and Minneapolis, Minnesota.  He currently lives in Rodgers, Arkansas. His motivation for writing the book came from listening to the piece of music itself (which is very good I recommend) and then crafting a story around the chord in question.

You can buy the book here: ISBN: 978-0-595-43476-3

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