Hard Road by Barbara D'Amato
A Cat Marsala Mystery (Cat Marsala Mysteries)

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Synopsis

The Harry Potter of its time, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" and the forty or so other books in the Oz series have become perennial sellers. There are Oz festivals, Oz fan clubs, Oz newsletters, and, of course, Oz Web sites and chat rooms. And now there's "Hard Road," a Cat Marsala mystery in which author Barbara D'Amato shares her own love of Oz.

D'Amato's father knew Oz author L. Frank Baum and as a child played with Baum's children. Five generations of D'Amato's family have been Oz aficionados, including her novelist son, Brian D'Amato, who in his essay gives us special insight into Baum's world.

The story begins at a big centennial Oz festival in Chicago's Grant Park. Investigative reporter Cat Marsala rediscovers the wonderful world of Oz when she takes her six-year-old nephew Jeremy to meet Dorothy and the Tin Man and to explore the Yellow Brick Road, the Emerald City, and all the other Oz-inspired creations to be found at the summer festival celebrating a century of Oz books.

It's opening day, and Cat is babysitting her brother Barry's young son while Barry, a professional events organizer, confers with dignitaries. But suddenly a day of pure delight turns into a scene of horror. Cat and Jeremy witness a murder, and the chief suspect is a man they both love -- Barry. He can't be the killer, but Cat also can't deny what she saw with her own eyes.

Cat's first priority is to get Jeremy away from the devastation. They run to the merry-go-round, but as they circle on the brightly painted animals, a shot rings out. Someone is aiming at Cat, or perhaps at the boy. Could Barry be desperate enough to shoot at his own sister and child, the only witnesses to thekilling?

Desperate to save Jeremy, Cat grabs him and ducks into one of the tunnels that lead out to Michigan Avenue. As she and her nephew crawl for their lives, they know they are not in Kansas anymore. Someone far more evil than the Wicked Witch is in pursuit, and the magical world of Oz seems very far away.

Anthony Award-winning author Barbara D'Amato combines a fine mystery plot with engaging insights into the ongoing appeal of the Oz books in this memorable addition to her acclaimed series. For mystery and Oz fans alike, "Hard Road" is a special treat.

Includes:

Twenty Questions in Oz: An Oz Quiz

"The Wooden Gargoyles: Evil in Oz" by Brian D'Amato

 

About Barbara D'Amato

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Barbara D'Amato is a playwright, novelist, and crime researcher. Winner of the 1998 Carl Sandburg Award for Excellence in Fiction and of the Anthony and Agatha Awards, she is a past president of the Mystery Writers of America and of Sisters in Crime International. Hard Road is her ninth Cat Marsala crime novel. Other recent titles include Hard Evidence and Hard Bargain. She is also the author of the Suze Figueroa/Norm Bennis series, most recently Help Me, Please. She lives in Chicago. Her Web site is www.barbaradamato.com
 
Published August 1, 2001 by Scribner. 288 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Nature & Wildlife. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Hard Road

Kirkus Reviews

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Freelance journalist Cat Marsala (Hardball, Hard Tack) hits her stride in this third outing in which Jack Sligh, in charge of advertising for the Illinois State Lottery, plummets to his death, literally at her feet, leaving behind a memo indicating that he wanted to talk to her about misappropria...

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Publishers Weekly

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You're off to see the wizard in this delightful Oz-themed mystery, the ninth in the Cat Marsala series (Hard Evidence, etc.) from Anthony and Agatha award-win

Jul 09 2001 | Read Full Review of Hard Road: A Cat Marsala Myst...

Publishers Weekly

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Chicago journalist-sleuth Catherine ``Cat'' Marsala , who scored well her first time around (in Hardball ), proves her mettle in her second appearance.

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Chicago freelance journalist Cat Marsala, in her third outing here (after Hardball and Hard Tack ), watches the story of her career land--literally--in front of her when Jack Sligh, an Illinois lottery official, plummets to his death from a skyscraper.

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D'Amato turns in another excellent Cat Marsala mystery (after Hard Luck ) despite the tension-destroying, flash-forward opening in which free-lance journalist Cat finds prostitute Sandra Lupica, her houseguest, dead in the alley behind her apartment building.

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Detection becomes secondary-and tedious-in this latest Cat Marsala story, which seems less a mystery than a paean to doctors involved in emergency care.

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A marvelously grisly premise kicks off D'Amato's (Hard Bargain, etc.) new mystery featuring Chicago food writer Cat Marsala: Cat finds that the soup bone she purchased earlier from Spencer and Angelotti, a pricey food emporium, is actually part of a human leg.

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To make matters uglier, Cat's brother and Jeremy's father, Barry, is accused of the first murder by the police and—initially—by Cat herself.

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