Thursday, October 28, 2021

The Music Stalker

Today I’m delighted to share with you the release of THE MUSIC STALKER, the second novel by award-winning author Bruce Berger. The Music Stalker, from Black Rose Press, closely examines how genius and love might survive in a close-knit family torn by trauma, insanity, and jealousy.

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Publication date: October 28, 2021
Format: Paperback
Page count: 336
Price: $20.95
ISBN: 978-1-68433-791-0

Two decades after his family suffers trauma, Max, the loving but remorsefully jealous older brother of a musical genius, chronicles the story of his dysfunctional family.

In mid-1970’s New York City, Max’s sister, Kayla, vaulted to fame as a piano prodigy, holding both audiences and her family in awe with her uncanny musical ability and warm smile. But deep within her lie the seeds of destruction: the paranoid fear of being stalked by a murderous fan.

This mystery explores themes of family dysfunction, mental illness, and the long-term effects of family secrets going untold

A trailer of The Music Stalker can be enjoyed here. The Music Stalker is available here.

Please join me in giving a warm welcome to Bruce, who joins us today to answers some questions about his book and writing. Welcome, Bruce.

What drove you to write about these characters, who also appear in The Flight of the Veil?


Some of these are characters – Nicky and Adel in particular – are characters that I’ve lived with and been fascinated by since my first published short story in 2009, “Nate and Adel.” They appear in a 16-story sequence of linked stories, many of which were published in literary magazines. They led complicated lives prior to their marriage. Adel – an intelligent girl who abused by her mother, who suffers from schizophrenia, and who struggles to make her way in the world as an orphan. Nicky – a Holocaust survivor who fought against the Germans in Greece during World War II, who immigrated to America, who entered the medical profession and became a psychiatrist, and who never quite dealt with the enormous guilt he feels for his survival. When they marry, how could they not have a fascinating – and deeply troubled – family? 

What drove you to write in such detail about a piano prodigy and about mastering classical music at a professional level?


No surprise, but I started at the piano much as Max does in this story, making it my instrument and beginning lessons at four. I gave Kayla the talent and drive that I didn’t have and wanted to see how she would progress with these attributes. I listened to classical music throughout the drafting of this novel, in its many versions. So, part of me is in Max and part of me is in Kayla. I’m pleased that early readers knowledgeable in music feel that the musical aspects of this novel are right on target.  

Are you continuing to write about these characters? If so, will you ever decide to write about new characters?


Yes, as a sequel to The Flight of the Veil has been begun. Upon completion, it would be the third in chronological time of the trilogy that begins with The Music Stalker. The tentative name of this third book is To See God. 

But yes, I expect in the fullness of time I will write about new characters. There will come a time when Nicky Covo, his daughter Kayla, and all their loved ones will need to exit the stage and go on to live their lives without my intervention.     

Explain how Judaism affects the story, i.e. why this theme of close observance of Judaism is critical to your characters. 


The parents in the Covo family have very strong opinions or beliefs about God. Nicky is a confirmed atheist, which he became as he realized that his family was murdered at Auschwitz. Adel, in part because of her mental illness but also in part because of her author’s devices, is convinced that God is a middle-aged male writer of fiction. Neither of these approaches to God is sufficient for Kayla, who earns for a spiritual world that goes beyond her magnificent ability to make music. When she stumbles upon the Chabad way of life, she finds something that will sustain her when she can no longer pursue her music career. So, the close observance of Judaism is critical to her survival as a functioning human being.  

Bruce, thanks for joining us today and sharing this insight into your writing.

Now for those who aren’t familiar with Bruce, here’s a bit of background on him

Following a 40-year career as a trial attorney in Washington, DC., Bruce J. Berger turned fulltime to writing, earned a M.F.A. in Creative Writing from American University, and now teaches there.

His first novel, The Flight of the Veil, is a sequel to The Music Stalker and achieved critical success, winning a Bronze Award in General Fiction from Illumination Christian Book Awards.

Kirkus Reviews called The Flight of the Veil “A well-crafted tale about trauma and miracles. Get it.” He has also published more than 50 stories and poems in a wide variety of literary journals.   

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Do you think being a prodigy would have more cons than pros or would the good outweigh any bad?


  1. Thank you both for sharing this.
    Being a prodigy would definitely be a very mixed blessing. And quite possibly a burden.

  2. Yes, those are some mixed up characters all right. As a musician myself, the story intrigues me.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.