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   Tawdry Yellow Brick Road, The, by David Bischoff  
 
  Novel, first publication in July 2004
 
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      Madrigal "Maddy" Harper is a parole officer and the single mother of a mildly autistic 12-year-old son, Skylar. His fascination by the science fictional universe of Star Train brings them both to ElfCon, a fanfest and SF extravaganza. When Abner Farelli, an ex-con and parole-jumper who Maddy had a run-in with, turns up dead, shot with her stolen gun, Lt. Mitchell Blackson informs her that she is the prime suspect because of her "history" with the deceased. Then Maddy is present during a mishap that kills a publishing executive. Another accident? Or is she now the suspect in two deaths? Hauled off to jail with no alibi, Maddy realizes that the only way either crime will be solved is by investigating each one herself. One low-key jailbreak later, she’s hot on the trail of a killer whose ambitions have gotten the better of him.

     
     
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