Wednesday, June 27, 2012

OMG! Have You Read Deborah Ledford's "Staccato"?


By Deborah Ledford

A number of years ago, I briefly interacted with Deborah Ledford and had the chance to read an excerpt of Staccato. I was captivated and have never forgotten the title and the essence of the story. Then recently, I chanced upon an announcement from her publisher seeking reviews for their books. I immediately asserted I would read and review Staccato!

Now, here's why for me, I enjoy the classics and have had some training in the piano and singing so I knew Staccato might mean that the music (the story) would be "quick and perhaps heavily played..." I had also sensed that it had a touch of gothic which has always been a favorite of mine. I hope by now you have clicked on the video and set the tone for the story...

He had been a great pianist when he was young and accepted. But as he grew older, audiences no longer were willing to accept a man with a club foot as a master... He was left to teach others... and he did it with the passion and dedication he had put into his own life's work. But the pain of what he had to put forth in practice and the later rejection of his ardent fans had left him bitter, a man who would accept nothing but perfection--in everything...

Nicholas was the first boy he taught. The talent was there and he loved the piano. Before long, he had been moved into the magnificent home of Alexander Kalman and after much maneuvering, he adopted him...

Timothy was the next boy that came to live there. He became obsessed with the home, the instruction and the wealth Alexander displayed and he soon was jealous of Nicholas...

But  neither of them escaped the wrath of Alexander's cane if they did not perform as taught and demanded; i.e., perfectly... Still, Nicholas had the talent and though he did not practice as much as Alexander preferred, he did start giving recitals and was soon a well-known pianist, touring the world.

Music was his profession, but his love was Elaine. Elaine was the daughter of the woman who had first taken Nicholas into her home, away from his real parents so they had fallen in love over the years and had become lovers. It was a magical kind of love, but one they knew had to be kept secret...

Until that day the Alexander announced to her that she was to marry...him...her uncle...

During that same time, Nicholas had found a journal that was written by his real father. He told the horrible tale of what had happened to him under Alexander's tutelage--that he had been driven mad...

But it was not only Nicholas' father who had fallen under Alexander's own madness... And now Nicholas was fighting back...until he, too, woke in the hospital...

Although Staccato is very much about the Kalmans' lives and those who were somehow touched by them, I do want to mention another character that played the important role of Deputy Sheriff Steve Hawk, who was assigned one of the most confusing, long-playing, and maddening cases he had ever had. Hawk captures readers' attention as he objectively listens and yet wouldn't accept even what his boss ordered--he was going to solve, and understand, what was going on!

The scary thing about Staccato is that it is totally believable! Relatives, children and servants' lives were affected by the master of the house...But what happens to those surrounding that master when he is mad with pride, greed and a need for all things to be perfect? This novel is haunting--a masterpiece that must be read for what it is--a gothic thriller like no other added with psychological suspense--a beautifully carved duet. Perhaps the horror overpowered the romance for most of the book, but the ending is a fresh romance that drives the darkness from readers' mind...even if not from the minds of the characters who remained...

Memorable in its study and overview of those composers who gave us the classics that we still love to hear played today...Too bad that we who love the music will never hear Nicholas play...

Brava! Brava! Deborah Ledford!



Deborah spent her summers growing up in the Great Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina which is the setting for her suspense thriller novels and many of her short stories.

As well as a suspense thriller novelist, Deborah J Ledford is a three-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize in the short story category. Her award-winning short stories appear in numerous print publications as well as literary and mystery anthologies. She is also a professional content editor and is most proud to be Lead Editor of two Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths Chapter (AZ) anthologies.

She began her writing career as a screenwriter and wrote, directed and edited her first short film, "Blind Ambitions" as an entry into Scottsdale, Arizona's first international film festival. "Blind Ambitions" won Third Place in that competition, as well as Honorable Mention in the Tucson International Film Festival. From there, she wrote the full-length version of the same script as well as six other original full-length screenplays.

In a quest to produce her screenplays, Deborah launched her own independent film production company IOF Productions Ltd . In the '90s, she assisted other independent film production companies (in a co-production capacity) composing investment prospectus packages, choosing scripts, scouting shooting locations, compiling and structuring budgets/day-out-of-day lists/character and scene breakdowns in order to present fully fundable projects for investors.

Before her career as a writer she worked for a decade as a professional scenic artist on motion pictures, industrial films, national commercials and live theatre. Due to her work on industrial films for clients such as Intel and Motorola, Deborah earned security clearance through the United States Government. Her highest acclaim is for her paint work on the Coen Brothers' film Raising Arizona.

She is currently writing her fifth novel of suspense and the screenplay for her current novel, SNARE.


International Thriller Writers Association (ITW), Mystery Writers of America (MWA SoCal), Sisters in Crime (National and SinC LA), current President of the Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths Chapter (AZ).

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  1. Ah, now you'll have to read Snare too!

  2. I've been told that I reviewed it under the original name, but need to you can tell, I had already asked to read it! LOL

    I saw that you had read them...and I'm so happy I finally did!