Principal Emily Taylor feels safe in the friendly little town of Burchill—until she finds a body in her school. The murder of caretaker Nathaniel Ryeburn brings back memories she’d rather forget and plunges Emily into a mystery that involves a secret diary, an illegal puppy mill and a murderer innocently disguised as an ordinary citizen.
As fear rips through the traumatized town, Emily’s investigation inadvertently leads the police to her door, and to her husband Langford, who is hiding a secret of his own. It becomes clear to Emily that many of Burchill’s residents are merely wearing masks. And it’s time for those masks to be ripped away…and for a killer’s identity to be revealed.
“A story rich in detail with unexpected twists and turns.” —Meredith Henderson, actress, film producer, poet
“Love and depravity, rebirth and rot, veneer and the real wood underneath—Astolfo brings these opposing forces into play.” —Garry Ryan, author of the Detective Lane Mysteries
“Master storyteller Cathy Astolfo pulls out all the stops as old secrets come back to kill…in this chilling story of twisted desires.” —Lou Allin, author of She Felt No Pain
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Genre – Mystery
Rating – 18+
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The devil inspired me to write The Bridgeman. Not literally, I hope, but more in the sense that I am intrigued by evil people. I am attracted to the reasons behind their darkness. As an old song says, evil grows in the dark…or does it? I think truly wicked people walk among us, aliens with human faces. Their lack of empathy, twisted ideas and desire to hurt absolutely make me want to dig around and find out why.
There are theories that psychopaths have brains that are wired differently. They feel no empathy, are narcissistic and obsessed. Reader’s Digest once published an article entitled, “Psychopaths among us”. There are those who claim that a great number of CEO’s (those people who get paid millions of dollars to hire and fire) share a great many characteristics with psychopaths and sociopaths. They just use that extra “edge” and lack of sympathy in more socially acceptable ways.
The hidden evil in some people – the ability to wear a mask of nice while seething with twisted thoughts underneath – is even more fascinating to me. Once when I was driving through a small Ontario town, I had to wait at an old-fashioned drawbridge that spanned the canal. A completely blank and bored looking man was working away at the wheels. Barely noticed, red-checkered jacket, plain face, every day, slow habits and movements. And I thought: what could this almost invisible person be hiding? What dark secrets might lie beneath the banality of his existence?
At the same time, my niece had acquired a job as a veterinarian’s assistant. Her tales of the puppy and kitten mills and their victims gave me an idea for the secret my ordinary lockmaster might suppress.
Thus was born The Bridgeman, my first mystery novel. “I deserve no more smiles, no friendship, no pity, no love, no feather or silk or fur, no soft skin.” My character had some self-recrimination, and turned out to be capable of love, so he was not completely savage, but he was close.
From my experiences in schools, or from the newspapers, where kids shot and killed other kids, burned down a house (with their families inside), tortured and maimed animals, my character, The Bridgeman, is not so far-fetched. Nor are the other diabolical characters in the ensuing novels of my series very far from reality. They are scary, but these people do exist.
However, what I love about the world of fiction—everything turns out all right in the end. Most of the time, anyway.