The first winner of the Mary Higgins Clark Award, Barbara D'Amato has been widely praised for her engrossing novels of crime and suspense. Now she opens the case file on a singularly savage murder, set in a uniquely disturbing setting.
The Hawthorne House School for the Treatment of Autistic Children was once known for its pioneering educational approach and remarkable success rate. Now, fifteen years after this celebrated institution closed its doors for the last time, staffers and former residents have returned to Hawthorne House for its first-ever reunion. The gala event turns into a bloody nightmare when the school's revered founder, Dr. Jay Schermerhorn, is found tortured to death in the mansion's basement.
Teacher, healer, and bestselling author, Schermerhorn enjoyed a worldwide reputation for his innovative therapeutic methods and compassionate treatment of autistic children. How could anyone have hated him enough to kill him? As Chicago detectives probe deeply into the history of Hawthorne House, a troubling picture emerges--of a man who inspired both fear and hatred in the children and families who came to him for help.
Death of a Thousand Cuts is a provocative and compelling thriller that exposes the insidious evil behind a facade of false benevolence. Like Mary Higgins Clark or James Patterson, Barbara D'Amato offers up a gripping tale that will chill and captivate readers long into the night.
Set in Chicago during the heat wave of 1995, D'Amato's new stand-alone thriller draws the reader into the world of autistic children. The character of Dr Schermerhorn (the former director of the Hawthorne House School) is based on Bruno Bettelheim, who ran the Orthogenic
School in Chicago and wrote many books on autism. His methods, roundly disproved
today, were based on the belief that 'the precipitating factor in infantile
autism is the parent's wish that the child should not exist'. In other words he
believed, and convinced many others, that parents were to blame for their
In essence this is a police procedural but the setting, complex characters and issues that the book raises set it way above the average. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Booklist - Connie Fletcher
D'Amato does a riff on paranoid thrillers like Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None in this ingenious suspense procedural.
D'Amato (White Male Infant, 2002, etc.) offers a fascinating glimpse inside a world few novelists would have the sensitivity to explore, even though the persistent bashing of Bruno Bettelheim and Sigmund Freud will make the killer obvious even to amateur therapists.
Wry humor and characters with real depth help propel the plot to its poignant conclusion. As the further reading list in her author's note suggests, D'Amato has thoroughly researched her subject, raising some strong arguments against Freudian theory and practice that reflect the current debate over Freud in the psychiatric community.
The character of Dr Schermerhorn is based
on Bruno Bettelheim, who ran the Orthogenic School in Chicago and wrote many
books on autism.
Bettelheim was born in Vienna in 1903. As a Jew in
Austria, he was interned in Dachau and Buchenwald from 1938-9. His release
was purchased (it was possible for some to purchase their release up until the outbreak of WWII) and he immediately emigrated to the United States, ending up
at the University of Chicago where he headed the Orthogenic School.
His methods, roundly disproved today, were based on the
belief that "the precipitating factor in infantile autism is the parent's wish
that the child should not exist". In other words he believed, and
convinced many others, that parents were to blame for their children's
In suffered from depression towards the end of his life, and in
1990 he committed suicide, six years after the death of his wife, Trude from
Clara Claiborne Park continues the story of her autistic daughter Jessy. In this moving, eloquent memoir, we see Jessy's progressive journey out of her isolated "Nirvana" into the world we all share. An honest and captivating story of emergence, perseverance, and love.
Adam, a nine-year-old autistic boy, is discovered hiding near to the body of his murdered classmate. Now the police are relying on Adam as the only witness to an appalling crime. But he can't tell the police what he sawor what he heard. Barely verbal on the best of days, Adam has retreated into a silent world that Cara, his mother, knows...
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