Perhaps it is Cat Marsala's hard luck that she happens to be mere feet away from Jack Sligh - when he lands on the pavement next to her after having fallen from a significant height. Jack's death opens up an avenue of investigation for Cat, as she was supposed to have an appointment with him that very day, researching for a story about the Illinois State Lottery.
'Hard Luck' is a well-researched tale about what some may consider a rather boring topic: the world of state lottery funds. How exciting can that actually be? It becomes exciting in a big way when Cat gets hot on the trail of supposed misappropriation of those funds in the hands of those working in high positions for the Illinois State Lottery - mostly the members of one family.
Soon after Jack's plunge, Cat becomes the victim of arson. With a ruined apartment, Cat is quite convinced that Jack's death wasn't suicide. Jack had hinted to Cat that there was some chicanery going in the state lottery the day before he died.
With a lottery convention in full swing in Chicago, Cat learns as much as she can about the ins and outs of legal gambling, all the while searching for a reason why anyone would want Jack Sligh dead. And her, too.
D'Amato deserves full praise for taking a thoroughly dull subject and making it appealing. The world of legal gambling outside of Las Vegas has never been so fascinating.
This report prepared by tesubcalle