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© 2015 by LITTY MATHEW

Debut Novel

            We’ve all pretended to be something we’re not. But Rupen Najarian, an eighty-three-year-old musician living in Glendale, California, has built his whole existence on a lie.

            The day his village in Turkey was torched by soldiers, seven-year-old Rupen became the last survivor of his family. Bearing a terrible secret, he joined the Armenian “Trail of Tears” into the Syrian Desert. 

            Now, in 1992, Maestro Rupen is rich and famous with the trappings of high-class Armenian living thanks to his talent on the duduk, an ancient shepherd's flute. As he performs at his birthday tribute, an earthquake—literal and figurative—rattles his world.

            Because if you have a secret, everything can be undone by a single person who knows the truth.

            Meet Haik, a twenty-year-old Armenian immigrant who becomes stalker, blackmailer and Rupen’s personal Lucifer. But even as this young man gains control of the Maestro’s life, he soon realizes he’s in over his head. For Rupen is more than just the master of the duduk...

            From the wastes of the Syrian Desert to the streets of Beirut, from the canals of Venice to the sprawl of contemporary Los Angeles, The Musician’s Secret is a compelling tale of hidden identities, intricate mysteries and the tantalizing possibility of redemption.

     More than a decade ago, when I was a freelance journalist,  I wrote a story for the Los Angeles Times calendar section about a simple instrument from the Armenian Highlands that several composers were using in their Hollywood scores. It was the duduk. Why was this shepherd's flute suddenly popular? I was lucky to interview several composers, musicians and even the Stradivarius of the duduk world. 

     Long after the story was done, I couldn't stop thinking about this haunting instrument.