Maestro Daniel Abogado is a successful and sought-after conductor. His life is music, and his recent marriage to Elvira Torres, a talented cellist in his orchestra, makes him feel complete. Especially so, since they are awaiting the birth of his first child. But one day, Daniel interferes with a beating on the street. From then on, his blissful life is turned upside-down. Physical and psychological threats appear out of nowhere. When Daniel gets kidnapped, he’s certain that he recognizes the voice of one of the attackers—the one the other thugs refer to as “the boss,” but Daniel can’t recall who the voice belongs to. After he gets released, the hunt for clues and voices intensifies. But can Daniel discover who is behind the voice before the boss gets tired of playing cat and mouse and decides to make good on this threats to end Daniel’s life?
TAYLOR JONES SAYS: In Chords of Dissension by Gisela Woldenga, Daniel Abogado, is a famous conductor, whose world is his music and his wife Elvira. His life is happy and peaceful until he stops to help a victim of a beating. Suddenly he’s getting death threats, eventually getting kidnapped. The police don’t seem to be able to help him, but the beating victim he rescued is more than willing to try. Together, they attempt to figure out what is going on, but with his wife expecting a baby, Daniel’s worried about his family, and rightly so. The criminals always seem to be one step ahead.
Woldenga has ventured out of her usual young adult genre and crafted an intriguing and exciting mystery, filled with wonderful characters and plenty of fast-paced action. I heartily recommend it if you’re looking for a good “who-done-it.”
REGAN MURPHY SAYS: Chords of Dissension by Gisela Woldenga is the story of envy, greed, and revenge. Daniel Abogado is a conductor of note, traveling the world and conducting for famous orchestras. He lives a quiet and peaceful life, filled with his music and family—his wife small daughter, and unborn child. Quiet and peaceful, that is, until he stops to help a young man who is being beaten on a street where Daniel is driving by. Daniel rescues the victim, Jason, who has a dark and shady past. Angered at Daniel’s intervention, the criminals switch their focus from Jason to Daniel, leaving death threats on his voicemail, sending threatening letters, and even kidnapping Daniel to give him a beating. Daniel goes to the police, but with so few clues, they are powerless to help. Frustrated, Daniel and Jason attempt to solve the mystery on their own, but the people they are dealing with are serious criminals, and now everyone Daniel cares for is in danger.
Chords of Dissension is a well-crafted, intriguing, and enchanting mystery, giving us a glimpse into the world of professional musicians. With delightful characters, a good strong plot, and lots of tension, it’s a very entertaining read.
Maestro Daniel Abogado pulled the collar of his coat up higher and grunted. “Lord, it’s cold. I prefer the West Coast. If the wind would just let up.” He shivered as he caught another sharp blast from around the corner of the theater. “Tomorrow I’ll laugh at all these freezing people,” he mumbled.
Tonight he had to conduct the last performance of two weeks of Mozart in Toronto. January was the composer’s birth month and Daniel had been invited to lead the celebration. He enjoyed doing it since he had worked with the orchestra before. He had developed a good relationship with the musicians.
However, he also had to endure the cold winds, snow and occasional slippery sidewalks of the city. Even though the evenings of symphonies, concertos and recitals had been well received with full houses, Daniel was ready to go home. Missing Elvira, his wife of five months, and being used to milder winters in Vancouver, he had grumbled maybe a bit too often. Which gave him the nickname Grumbling Bass from the orchestra members. In good-natured humor he had threatened them with overtime during rehearsals. Of course, nobody took that seriously.
Daniel was pleased with the orchestra and himself. The soloists for piano and violin had been excellent. Tonight’s program showed Mozart’s clarinet concerto. Daniel could depend on a good performance. He knew the soloist from other occasions.
Cozy warmth met him as he entered the stage door. “Ah, that’s better.”
A stage hand motioned to him. “Maestro, there is a phone call for you.”
“Who? My wife?”
The stage hand nodded and grinned. “Of course, who else? Another girl friend?”
“Hey, watch it.” Daniel poked one finger into the man’s well-rounded stomach and hurried into his dressing room. Elvira and he had decided on a once-a-day phone call to make the separation easier.
He lifted the receiver. “Hi, my love. What’s new? Just got here.”
“I have big news. I’m pregnant.”
As he listened his eyes got bigger and he sat down. “Repeat that once more, please.”
“You heard me.”
He took a deep breath. “I can’t believe it. How did we manage that? We’re usually so–”
“Just lucky, I guess. I’m so excited.”
“But what about your music, your playing?” He got up and shrugged the coat off his six-foot frame. “You don’t sound upset, which makes me happy.” He heard a giggle from the other end of the phone line.
“I wanted to wait until you come home tomorrow,” Elvira said. “But I found out today and couldn’t wait.”
“Hey, I’m glad you did. This is unbelievable. It will take some time for me to digest. You know I had given up on that. Oh, I do love you. I’m glad I’ll see you tomorrow.”
When he finally replaced the receiver, Daniel stood quietly for a moment. He shook his head. “I can’t believe it, I’m going to be a father.” He raked his fingers through his dark hair. Right now he couldn’t quite envision how a baby would fit into his and Elvira’s active lives of rehearsing and performing, sometimes in different cities. But Daniel was too excited to worry about it now. And talking about performing, he looked at his watch. I better get a move on or the orchestra will start without me.
On his way to the orchestra pit, he still had thoughts bouncing around in his head. His first wife, Louise, had been unable to have children. So he had made his peace with the fact that, in this life, he wouldn’t be a real father. He loved Elvira’s four-year-old daughter, Mia, dearly, but that was different. Now he actually had created another human being. He chuckled. “How about that.”
For now he needed to keep his composure to bring the musical evening to its proper conclusion.
In this last performance, Daniel had selected the overture to Don Giovanni, then the clarinet concerto and, after the intermission, the Symphony Number Forty-One. “To go out with a bang,” he called it. That symphony was Mozart’s last one and, in Daniel’s mind, the most far-reaching of all of them. No wonder they called it the “Jupiter Symphony.” It was over everybody’s head. By that time, Mozart had been far ahead of his contemporaries.
Applause greeted him when he stepped onto the podium. He heard one voice calling, “Three cheers for Mozart!”
You got that right, Daniel thought. He quickly bowed and raised the baton. He tried to wrap his whole attention around the music. Usually that came naturally but tonight he had to work at it. Thoughts like Elvira being pregnant and his pending fatherhood kept creeping into his mind.
At the intermission, he couldn’t keep it inside any longer. As the clarinet soloist talked to him about the just finished concert, Daniel looked at him and said, “I have a surprise for you.”
“Oh, do tell.” Bernhard, the soloist, beamed at him.
“My wife just phoned to tell me that I’m going to be a father.”
Bernhard stared at him. “You mean to say, you had time to make that happen?” He laughed and shook his hand. “Congratulations, Maestro, well done.” Then he turned around and shouted to the rest of the orchestra members, “Incoming message! Our Maestro is going to be a papa.”
After a few seconds of stunned silence, everyone came forward to shake Daniel’s hand.
“Well, I guess, next time you come here with kids in tow, ” the concert master said.
“I can’t even imagine it,” Daniel answered. “I’ll have to wait until I get home and see my wife before it sinks in.”
“In the meantime you have to go out with us after the performance. You need a drink,” the concert master continued. “We have to keep you in good shape for the approaching excitement.”
Daniel sighed. “Ask me in nine months.”
Yes, a brandy was exactly what he needed.
© 2017 by Gisela Woldenga