Book Review | “The Keys Of My Soul” By Ran Walker


Miles Thompson, an R&B singer-turned-music teacher, is still reeling from the violent loss of his only son when he crosses paths with Ja Kendrick Brown, a fifteen-year-old homeless piano prodigy.

As the two form an unlikely bond, they soon discover that music and friendship have the power to help a sonless father and a fatherless son find life after loss.



Dynamic · Real · Soulful — only a few words to describe The Keys Of My Soul. This story truly exemplifies the storm before the calm (overcoming grief, romantic relationships), trust (the loss & gain in friends), and the start of something new (finding love, fresh beginnings) – ALL centered around, music.

What stood out the most to me were the characters. The characters… and how each of them had their own story to tell. It was like a character breakdown and development within the actual story itself. While engulfed in the words, I got to truly analyze Miles, Ja Kendrick, Melody, Teresa, Bettina and Sherita on what it felt like, a personal level — a level that most of us could relate to, with the dialogue to match.


MILES + JA KENDRICK: While you would think that Miles was ultimately a mentor for Ja, there is no debate on whether they both learned from each other. There were several occasions when Miles caught himself learning from Ja while trying to workout out the storm between he and Melody. And the given — Ja grew as a young man after meeting Miles. Although it seemed that he already had gentleman tendencies and was raised to know the difference between right & wrong, he was faced with temptation after temptation — but Miles was there to guide him, to be his support system when he had none and to paint a pretty picture of his future possibilities. One thing that I will say is that I don’t necessarily believe Miles was trying to replace Travis. I think that Ja Kendrick was more so someone he needed to move forward — to fill a musical related void in his life. Basically one of those situations when you truly believe in someone, you will do whatever it takes to help them. But I won’t disagree. A fatherless son and a sonless father? Yeah, they needed each other in many more ways than one.

MILES + MELODY: I would’ve liked to have read more of their relationship and how they ended up matching well together. Each had clear background stories that described who they were and why it never worked out with anyone else. After reading Melody’s story, I somehow knew that Miles would mess up somewhere. And then it happened! And I found myself only angry with Teresa — while hoping that Miles and Melody would work it out. And they did :) So I guess she was Miles’ perfect melody.

This book was an easy read… tell it like it is, no holding back, all straight to the point — yet it contained and revealed certain elements that made a simple plot line — a brilliant piece. Fortunately for me, I was a little more familiar with key elements, locations, taglines and slang that I could appreciate :)

Upon reaching the very last page, I wanted more. The resolution eventually met a happy ending, and well… the end foreshadowed what’s to come. This book was also a music lesson for me. The author did a good job at introducing music, styles and artists that some of us may have not heard of.

If only there was a button to push in the book that played the music while we read. Boy, I tell ya.


ranwalker2Ran Walker is the author of four novels (The Keys of My SoulB-Sides and Remixes30 Love, and Mojo’s Guitar), as well as two novellas (Afro Nerd in Love and Beat Bop) and two short story collections (16 Bars and Secrets & Cures).  His short stories and poetry have appeared in a variety of anthologies.

Ran is a graduate of Morehouse College (BA), Pace University (MS), and George Washington University Law School (JD) and is the recipient of both a 2005 Mississippi Arts Commission/NEA artist grant and a 2006 artist mini-grant.  He has also served as an Artist-in-Residence with the Commission.  In addition, he is a past participant in the Hurston-Wright Writers Week Workshop and is the recipient of a fellowship from the Callaloo Writers Workshop.

In addition to writing, Ran is a songwriter and music publisher with ASCAP and 1/2 of the electronic soul production team Groovault.  Groovault released The Liquid Dream EP in 2011 and is at work on its next project.

Ran is an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Hampton University and lives in Virginia with his wife and much better half, Lauren, and his amazing little rockstar daughter, Zoë.



Amazon: The Keys Of My Soul

Best Wishes,



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