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Gerald Elias-11/22/10

Gerald Elias can play the violin for us anytime ... even if he doesn't have a book coming out! Although Gerald  lives in Denver, his son lives in Oregon and Gerald spent some time living in a friend's house in Portland, so he says we can consider him a "local" author. Gerald travels a lot, mostly because he's a classical musician -- a violinist, of course -- and has been for 35 years. Certainly the discipline Elias has as a musician helps him organize his writing.

The Devil's Trill, his latest book, is named after a sonata so dissonant that the first audience to hear it was mightily disturbed. The diminished fifth (hope we have that right!), the chord the Devil uses to tune up his fiddle, is so uncomfortable to human ears that supposedly a church outlawed it. It is called "the Devil's interval." Wow, with that introduction, it's no wonder someone is murdered in the book bearing its name.

Elias has an unusual protagonist. Daniel Jacobus is a violin genius, but his irascible personality makes people forget how brilliant he is. And Jacobus is blind. If you close your eyes, Elias says, other senses open up and you can really listen to the music. Jacobus, grumpiness aside, shares some characteristics with Elias. 

Throw all these elements into the writing pot, and we were treated to a great story and a devilishly good violin performance.