Valentine Short - Cathy Bridges the Gap

Love Versus Evil

By Catherine Astolfo

Throughout my Emily Taylor mystery series, I like to juxtapose the love my main character has for her husband with the evil that can sometimes enter an innocent person’s life. I like using contrast, light then dark, to keep readers off balance and (hopefully) glued to the page.

Most of us go through our lives in very average circumstances. We have our own tragedies and losses, but fortunately we don’t often encounter true evil. I believe that’s why we’re so fascinated with malevolent people, especially the kind who appear to be ordinary human beings just like us.

I think that’s why mystery and crime stories are so popular. We like to watch or read about the underbelly of the world, because we’re at a safe distance. Not many of us like to actually walk down that dark alley or enter the haunted house.

Although I have four books, I believe the first one—The Bridgeman—most noticeably presents the contrast between good evil. The story swings from the very dark place of a psychopath’s mind to the relationship between Emily and Langford.

Here’s a scene where my two characters demonstrate their love for one another.
We kissed for a while, slowly at first and then more urgently, before he led me to our bed. Once we were undressed, he caressed me, his artist's hands exploring my body with tenderness and knowledge. I allowed my mind to drift, became aware only of the soft hairs of his body, the gentleness of his fingers. I knew that whatever else happened in our lives, this was all that was really important.
Contrast that with the sickness of the psycho’s mind.
When the rare woman passes by with a smile, a nod and a thank-you, I cannot help but be caught in her beauty, in the light of her smile, in the absolute astonishment of kindness and the loudness of a sweet gentleness that feels like feathers and silk and fur. That is when I dare not look up, lest she see the glare of my need, the nakedness of my weak and sickly soul. The stain of my deeds, the flush of my anger as I turn its full force onto the animals, hating them for their compliance as much as I despise myself for mine, might leak from my space into this woman's, and her kindness will turn to horror and disgust. For within my eyes she might glimpse the maggot that lives underneath.
To me, the fun of reading a mystery/crime book is not only the contrast between good and evil but also the fact that most of the time, the bad guys meet with justice. In the war of love versus evil, love always wins in my books.

Visit Catherine at, where you can buy her books and sign up for her blog or newsletter. Big LOVE sale for all of February on the ebooks including The Bridgeman.