Don’t tell Rachel I said this, but Tom Bridger is the person I most enjoy writing about.

His work as chief deputy and investigator for Mason County, a rural mountain community in southwestern Virginia, interests me much more than what big city cops do. Tom, who’s in his mid-thirties, grew up in the county, and he knows many of the people involved in the murders he investigates – victims, killers, witnesses. Sometimes this is a great help, but it can also be a hindrance, and he has to be careful to keep his personal feelings out of his work. He’s tough when he needs to be, regardless of who he’s dealing with, and he doesn’t accept the convenient answer if it doesn’t feel right.

Tom has a solid background with the Richmond Police Department, where he worked his way up to detective. During a visit to Mason County, he was driving when a horrific accident killed both his parents, his older brother, and his brother’s wife. Guilt and grief led Tom to quit his dream job and move home to be close to his orphaned nephew, Simon, and to step into his father’s position as chief deputy.

The woman Tom was engaged to at the time refused to go with him, and until veterinarian Rachel Goddard moved to the county, he didn’t have much of a personal life. He fell in love with Rachel the minute he met her, and he was patient but persistent until she realized she felt the same way about him. She exasperates him by rushing headlong to the defense of anyone she believes is being mistreated, but while he’s slowly teaching Rachel to reign in her impulses, she’s teaching him that sometimes he simply has to do the right thing, consequences be damned. They’re good for each other. They’re going to have a happy life together.

You can read more about Tom in Bleeding Through, the fifth book in the “Rachel Goddard” mystery series. The first book in the series is The Heat Of The Moon.

** Sandra will give away one autographed copy of BLEEDING THROUGH. Contest open to U.S. residents only. Contest ends September 14. Please leave a valid e-mail address with your comment so you can be contacted if you win. Sandra will send the book to you directly. **

When veterinarian Rachel Goddard and Deputy Sheriff Tom Bridger lead teenagers on an outing to clean up roadside trash in rural Mason County, Virginia, they make a grisly discovery: the plastic-wrapped body of a young woman. One teen peers at the face through the plastic and screams. The dead girl is her sister, Shelley, a law student who has been missing for a month.

As Tom launches a murder investigation, Rachel copes with a visit from her own sister, Michelle, who is terrified that a man is stalking her. Michelle insists she’s receiving threatening calls and someone has invaded her office in the Washington, DC, area. Her own husband doubts her. Although Michelle is a psychologist, she has always been emotionally fragile, and she reverts to her childhood dependence on Rachel, stirring up memories Rachel wants to forget. Soon it becomes clear that the mysterious stalker is real and dangerous and has followed Michelle to Mason County. Now he’s turning his attention to Rachel too.

As Tom closes in on Shelley’s killer, the stalker makes his move against Rachel, and the two cases come together in a shocking climax.

Meet the author
Sandra Parshall is an animal lover, maidservant to two demanding felines (Emma and Gabriel), an avid gardener and photographer who also happens to write mysteries when she has time. Her first Rachel Goddard book, The Heat Of The Moon, won the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Later entries in the series have been finalists for the Benjamin Franklin Award and the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award.

A former member of the Sisters in Crime national board, she remains active in SinC as administrator of the members-only listserv. Visit her website at, on Facebook and read her Wednesday blog at

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

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