*From the author of The Reformatory—A New York Times Notable Book of 2023*
In this chilling historical novel that's part love story, part ghost story, a female singer's life spins horrifically out of control as a long-dead music legend chooses her to continue his legacy.
When Phoenix Smalls was ten, she nearly died at her parents' jazz club when she was crushed by a turn-of-the-century piano. Now twenty-four, Phoenix is launching a career as an R&B singer. She's living out her dreams and seems destined for fame and fortune. But a chance visit to a historical site in St. Louis ignites a series of bizarre, erotic encounters with a spirit who may be the King of Ragtime, Scott Joplin.
The sound of Scott Joplin is strange enough to the ears of the hip-hop generation. But the idea that these antique sounds are being channeled through Phoenix? Her life is suddenly hanging in the balance. How will she find her true voice and calling? Can the power of her own inner song give Phoenix the strength to fight to live out her own future? Or will she be forever trapped in Scott Joplin's doomed, tragic past? Stunningly original, Joplin's Ghost is a novel filled with art and intrigue—and is sure to bring music to readers' ears.
Tananarive Due is an American Book Award and NAACP Image Award–winning author, who was an executive producer on Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror for Shudder and teaches Afrofuturism and Black Horror at UCLA. She and her husband, science fiction author Steven Barnes, cowrote the graphic novel The Keeper and an episode for Season 2 of The Twilight Zone for Paramount Plus and Monkeypaw Productions. Due is the author of several novels and two short story collections, Ghost Summer: Stories and The Wishing Pool and Other Stories. She is also coauthor of a civil rights memoir, Freedom in the Family: A Mother-Daughter Memoir of the Fight for Civil Rights (with her late mother, Patricia Stephens Due). Learn more at TananariveDue.com.
"Due shows herself true to her own powerful gift." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"[M]ore than just a ghost story is Due's sense of musical and cultural history.... Even while she brings to life Scott Joplin the man, Due makes us appreciate Scott Joplin the icon, the symbol. This understanding gives Joplin's Ghost its haunting power." -- The Washington Post
"In this ambitious and action-packed novel, Tananarive Due blurs genre boundaries as adroitly as her ghost walks through walls. Part love story, part ghost story, part historical fiction, part contemporary adult drama, this book is difficult to categorize -- and impossible to put down." -- Valerie Boyd, author of Wrapped in Rainbows:The Life of Zora Neale Hurston