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Crafting a ground-breaking audio book experience combining award-winning mystery with clue-providing music performed by the author!
Crafting a ground-breaking audio book experience combining award-winning mystery with clue-providing music performed by the author!
72 backers pledged $6,275 to help bring this project to life.

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$6,275

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Do you love reading mysteries? Do you love listening to great music? Well, so do we! Our challenge was to figure out how to combine the two to create a single great listening experience! This is how we did it with Devil's Trill, and, with your support, how we're going to do it with its sequel, Danse Macabre!

Click HERE to enjoy my performance of Danse Macabre while you read about our great project!


The Team

Creating a ground-breaking audio book with DEVIL'S TRILL in 2016 was a daunting task that involved painstaking team building. Why? Because what we did had never been done before! It took years to find a visionary producer in Alison Larkin, who insisted on somehow integrating the music--so central to the murder mystery--into the context of the narrative. The next step was snagging a top caliber reader, the renowned Jim Frangione, to become the voice not only of the curmudgeonly, blind, amateur sleuth violin teacher, Daniel Jacobus, but of all the other characters as well.

The Music

Then of course came the music! Paganini, Bach, Mendelssohn, Sarasate, Tartini (the composer of the "Devil's Trill" Sonata), and even a piece I composed for a fictional, diminutive 17th century virtuoso named Piccolino who was as famous as a lover as he was for his violin playing. I spent months practicing theses excerpts from DEVIL'S TRILL, which not only is great music but which also provide clues to solving the mystery! Then hours more in a recording studio, making endless takes of each excerpt and distilling it all down to only that which was essential for the listener to savor without disturbing the flow of the story.

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Put it all together, and you get...

With Jim having laid down the entire reading, we all hunkered down together for a whole day in a tiny recording studio in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where we anguished over fractions of a second, weaving together the text and the music into a seamless tapestry.

Audiofile's glowing review of DEVIL'S TRILL:  Set against a steamy backdrop of summer in New York City, this slow-burn suspense revolves around a stolen violin, a corrupt competition, and a disgruntled ex-virtuoso. Jim Frangione embodies the grizzled music instructor turned gumshoe Jacobus with a cantankerous tone that is in direct contrast to the compliant tone and clipped accent of Yumi, his Japanese student. Violin performances by the author sprinkled throughout provide clues to aid in solving the mystery, which will be appreciated by those musically inclined and provide a pleasant backdrop for those who are not...a solid mystery.

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Now, for our next act!

People loved the audio book of DEVIL'S TRILL so much, our team--Alison, Jim, and I--decided we wanted to give it another go with the second installment of the Daniel Jacobus series, DANSE MACABRE, which Library Journal declared to be "one of the top five mysteries" of 2010!

OUR UNIQUE APPROACH FOR DEVIL'S TRILL HAS PROVED SO POPULAR WE'RE EXPECTING OVER 200 PEOPLE AT A LAUNCH IN STOCKBRIDGE, MA IN AUGUST! WE HOPE FOR THE SAME SUCCESS WITH DANSE MACABRE!

What is DANSE MACABRE about?

Just after his Carnegie Hall swansong and before his imminent departure for retirement in France, beloved violinist and humanitarian Rene Allard is brutally murdered with a mysterious weapon. His young African American rival, crossover artist BTower, is spotted at the scene of the crime hovering over the contorted body of Allard with blood on his hands. In short order the aloof and arrogant BTower is convicted and sentenced to death, in part the result of the testimony of blind and curmudgeonly violin pedagogue Daniel Jacobus, like millions of others, an ardent admirer of Allard. Justice has been done...or has it? Jacobus is dragged back into the case kicking and screaming, and reluctantly follows a trail of broken violins and broken lives as it leads inexorably to the truth, and to his own mortal peril.

The Verdict on DANSE MACABRE:

"...a glimpse into the soul of a musician and the relationships among the artist, the music, and the instrument. And then there is one-of-a-kind virtuoso Jacobus, perhaps one of the most unique protagonists in mysteries. Elias’s debut, Devil’s Trill, was a great reading experience; his new book is outstanding. A musical feast for mystery and music lovers." LIBRARY JOURNAL

"The refreshingly caustic Jacobus, a cast of superbly drawn supporting characters, an interesting classical music milieu accessible to aficionados and neophytes alike, an unexpected twist or two, and a unique murder method combine for an engrossing read." PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

With your support we can begin the work in the fall and make it all happen by the end of 2017--the recordings of the story and the music; the studio time to blend it all together; and the MAGIC of a unique audio book experience!
In the studio...a bit cramped!
In the studio...a bit cramped!

 

Risks and challenges

Nothing about the approach we've taken to create these audio books is traditional. In Alison Larkin Presents we're breaking new artistic ground with a small, young independent company with a creative vision. Likewise, we need to take a nontraditional funding route to make it work. In that spirit I'm reaching out to the people who loved Devil's Trill and will love Danse Macabre to help fund this one. All the funding will take care of production costs. We'll take care of marketing, distribution, and promotion. So every dollar you donate will go directly to making the story!

I'll close by saying there's nothing like working with true professionals! As a former violinist with the Boston Symphony and associate concertmaster of the Utah Symphony, I know what it's like to be among the best. That's why collaborating with Alison Larkin and Jim Frangione has been a slam dunk. They're experts in their field and have earned a reputation for maintaining the highest standards in their professions. I KNOW that when we put our respective talents together to make DANSE MACABRE the result will be nothing short of breathtaking.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Thank you letter

    A handwritten and totally sincere letter of thanks for your support from curmudgeonly super-sleuth Daniel Jacobus himself! Though Jacobus is blind, he has the uncanny ability to write letters, though there's no guarantee for the quality of his penmanship.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    An iconic "Spring Break" bookmark.

    Above, plus a "DANSE MACABRE" bookmark crafted especially for this project, perhaps from scraps of murder victim,René Allard's score of the music itself!!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    "Danse Macabre" sound track.

    Above, plus an uncut MP3 of the music I recorded for the project, straight from the studio, including excerpts from the eerie tone poem, Danse Macabre, by Camille Saint Saens.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Name a Character!

    Send me a message with the most creative, wackiest name you can think of for a character in a murder mystery, and at the end of this Kickstarter campaign I will pick THREE out of a hat for my next novel! (Please don't use the name of a real person, and one name per $50 donation.) And in the acknowledgements in that book I will give ample credit to you where credit is due!

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    "Devil's Trill" audio book

    Above, plus free download of the "Devil's Trill" audiobook from Alison Larkin Presents, the award-winning first mystery of the Daniel Jacobus series, in which Jacobus is the primary suspect in the theft of the infamous "Piccolino" Stradivarius and of the brutal murder of his pedagogical rival and former lover, Victoria Jablonski.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    "Danse Macabre" audio book

    Above, plus free download of "Danse Macabre" from Alison Larkin Presents, the second installment of the Daniel Jacobus mystery series. Find out how Jacobus escapes death's clutch! Find out!

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Autographed Daniel Jacobus mystery

    Above, plus a copy of any of the six Daniel Jacobus mysteries signed by the author, Mr. Jacobus and his friends, Yumi Shinagawa Nathaniel Williams.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Complete, autographed Jacobus mysteries!

    Above, plus a complete set of the six Daniel Jacobus mysteries, individually autographed. The whole kit and caboodle in appreciation for your support!

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Private Performance and Reading!

    PERFECT FOR A PRIVATE PARTY, BOOK CLUB OR CHARITABLE EVENT! An entertaining evening of live performance of music and readings by Gerald Elias from his Daniel Jacobus series. If there's anything better than an audio book, it might be your own personal evening of mystery and music! (At a mutually agreed-upon place and date.)

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Funding period

- (37 days)