Nikki Magee by Peter Wend

There are no Vampires of Venus seducing Martians and no Werewolves running amok in your forest outside. No Orcs are chopping off Goblins limbs and Photon cannons are not valiantly blasting away at the orbiting Starship. There is, though, one piano and the story of an amazing little girl who can play.

Nikki is an orphan, age 11. She's a musical prodigy, massively gifted, with a voice. She is taken under the wing of Johnny Mazzarisi, a mob boss, and his family.

Nikki lives upstairs at a shop, owned by Johnny's youngest son, Tony, where she begins learning a trade. She soon acquires a piano, is befriended by Nina, daughter of an employee of Tony, and meets Lesya Popov, a once world renowned harpist.

From playing with two other musicians to her first experience at a music club, where Drek Mason is playing, Nikki's ability is gaining power and breadth. She eventually plays with Lesya at the performance hall in the city. This event launches what Drek Mason has been searching for, culminating in the - real - Michael Collins Band.

A highlight to Nikki, and fortuitous for Drek, is when, at age 15, she and Lesya, by pure happenstance, wind up in Glasgow. It's Nikki's first rock concert and fate is about to intervene on a massive scale.

So take a break from Venusian Vampires, orbital space-platforms, and enjoy a story with a different tune.