What Inspired Me to Write My Book
by Catherine Astolfo
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.
If I knew what I know now, would I have searched so hard for the truth?
Anne Williams says she killed her best friend, Karoline. But did she? Or is there more to Karoline’s mysterious death than meets the eye?
Anne embarks on a compelling journey to discover her past and exposes an unusual history, horrific crimes and appalling betrayals. Through unexpected turns and revelations, Anne learns about love, family and who she really is. Can she survive the truth?
“A deliciously vibrant portrait that realistically muddles good and evil.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Astolfo’s wonderful first sentence in Sweet Karoline explodes on the page and resonates right to the end of this twisting examination of dangerous minds. Never have I encountered a narrative voice that alternates more deftly between alienating and enticing.” —Mel Bradshaw, author of Fire On The Runway
“A deliciously twisted story about the perplexing power of adult female relationships. By turns scathingly funny and darkly insightful, Sweet Karoline is a hedonistic journey with all the right ingredients: lust, betrayal, true love and mystery. Grab a glass of wine and have the bottle handy. A compelling read from the start through to the surprising end.” —Robin Spano, author of Death’s Last Run
“In Catherine Astolfo’s chilling new novel Sweet Karoline, things aren’t always as they seem. Anne, the multifaceted anti-heroine in this noir tale takes a fateful journey into her forgotten past, uncovering the painful roots of her childhood. While furrowing for answers, a mystery unfolds, truths swirl to the surface, a heinous murder occurs. Who’s the killer? Caught in a tangled web of greed, lies and deceit Anne must come to terms with her past, present and future, and the bleak realization that those we hold close may be the last ones to trust. Compelling, visually descriptive, deftly delivered…Catherine Astolfo’s got the goods!” —Douglas Wickard, author of A Perfect Husband
“Sweet Karoline is a multi-layered mystery, where nothing is as it seems. The story grips you on page one and leads you through a maze of history, twisted relationships, and ultimately the darkness of the human mind.” —Liz Bugg, author of Oranges and Lemons
“In Sweet Karoline, Astolfo has created a daring hybrid mystery that combines elements of romance, history, and suspense in a carefully crafted story that keeps you guessing to the very end. Astolfo explores new boundaries as she extends her reach beyond the cozy mystery in this psychological exploration of the mind of a killer. A unique exploration of guilt and revenge.” —Michael J. McCann, author of The Fregoli Delusion
“The clever plot twists in Sweet Karoline will enrapture you from page one through the last paragraphs of this fast-paced modern mystery. Author Catherine Astolfo exhibits a strikingly perceptive gift for believable dialogue and rich character development. Her dry wit and colorful descriptions will have you howling in laughter at points, but in tears at others as she digs deep into the themes of guilt, race, and relationships. The powers of love and redemption are strong, but does the heart of an Ice Queen ever really melt? Enjoy the romp from Los Angeles, through Canada, to a priceless Italian rendezvous—all in the pages of Sweet Karoline, where long-buried secrets lie.” —Lisa Pell, award-winning author of Who’s Your Daddy, Baby?
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Genre – Psychological Suspense
Rating – 18+