Barbara D'Amato biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Barbara D'Amato

Barbara D'Amato

Barbara D'Amato Biography

Barbara D'Amato is a playwright, novelist, and crime researcher. She began writing full-time in 1973, first co-writing plays with her husband, Anthony D'Amato.

After trying different genres, her first published novel in 1980 was a mystery.

She won the Agatha and Anthony Award for a non-fiction work, The Doctor, the Murder, the Mystery: The True Story of the Dr. John Branion Murder Case based on a case her husband worked on in 1984. In 1999, she served as President of the Mystery Writers of America.

Her research on the Dr. John Branion murder case formed the basis for a segment on Unsolved Mysteries, and she appeared on the program. Her musical comedies, The Magic Man and the children's musical The Magic of Young Houdini, written with her husband, played in Chicago and London.

She lives with her family in Chicago.

Barbara D'Amato's website

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Interview

Barbara D'Amato explains the background to Death of a Thousand Cuts - a murder mystery set in a school for autistic children run by a charismatic director who is based on real life Bruno Bettelheim, the man who ran the Orthogenic School in Chicago and wrote many, now controversial, books about autism.

You have said in the past that "getting angry at something" fuels your books. Is that true in Death of a Thousand Cuts?
One source of energy for me is a sense of trying to right a wrong. Also, I think the villain’s character is enriched if there is more than just personal hatred or greed going on. In Death of a Thousand Cuts, the murder victim’s life was motivated by self-aggrandizement. But in a larger way he had the arrogance of professional authority, the view that he was always right because he had training and a degree. That kind of paternalism makes me angry.

What is Death of a Thousand Cuts about?
Hawthorne House, a residential treatment facility for autistic children, is holding a reunion fifteen years after closing its doors. Jeffrey Clifford, a young mildly autistic man, was a patient there for seven years. Clifford, other patients, staff members, and therapists plan to spend the reunion weekend at the old mansion. During the first night, Dr. Jay Schermerhorn, the charismatic and authoritarian director, is murdered.

Why did you want to write this particular book?
I had heard for some years that Bruno Bettelheim told the parents of his patients that they had caused their children's ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Barbara D'Amato at BookBrowse
Death of a Thousand Cuts jacket White Male Infant jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Barbara D'Amato but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Daniel Akst

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    Dan Akst is a writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Slate and other leading publications. His most recent book is We Have Met the Enemy: Self-Control in an... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    White Male Infant

    Try:
    The Webster Chronicle
    by Daniel Akst

  • Bill Clegg

    Bill Clegg

    Bill Clegg is a literary agent in New York and the author of the bestselling memoirs Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man and Ninety Days. His first novel, Did You Ever Have a Family, hit the New York Times bestseller list ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    White Male Infant

    Try:
    Did You Ever Have A Family
    by Bill Clegg

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