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Peter Bridgford

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Peter "Bridge" Bridgford lives on an island off the coast of Maine with his wife, their two daughters, and a dog named Twilight.

He is the author of Hauling Through, But I Digress, Where Eagles Dare Not Perch, and Sweating Through.

A PERFECT CONFLUENCE Cover
BOOK REVIEW

A PERFECT CONFLUENCE

BY Peter Bridgford • POSTED ON Sept. 4, 2019

In this novel, a young man’s grave mistake forces him into a dangerous adventure that heals him in unexpected ways.

Noah—a recovering addict living in Buffalo, New York—has finally gotten the hang of sober living. He is gainfully employed, complying with probation requirements and exercising regularly with his faithful dog, Kimo. But just as he settles into this routine, his Uncle Bob—an imposing, ex-military caregiver figure who took over after Noah’s parents died in a car crash when he was 14 years old—requests a meeting. Bob confronts Noah for unwittingly impregnating a local Mafia family member, Lizzie Guerro. Bob insists that Noah’s only option—outside of being brutally exterminated by the Guerro family—is to “do the right thing” and marry Lizzie. Noah, devastated by the prospect of ruining his life, relapses and—while massively drunk—does something gravely impulsive that deepens his conflict with the notoriously violent Guerro family. With this, the option of marrying Lizzie becomes obliterated and Noah decides to skip town by canoe (the only way he believes he can leave surreptitiously) and keep paddling until he finds somewhere he can safely begin anew. Along the way, Noah meets 17-year-old Becca, a pregnant young woman on the run from an equally serious set of troubles. From here, the two become unlikely fugitive travel companions who encounter terrors and delights along a river odyssey that changes their lives in surprising ways. Bridgford (Where Eagles Dare Not Perch, 2018, etc.) demonstrates skillfulness when it comes to rendering suspense and twisting a scintillating plot. He also supports his creative storyline with appreciable outdoorsman knowledge, which vivifies the prose nicely throughout. That said, the canoe journey takes up the majority of the book and, after the first few chapters, begins to read as somewhat droning and repetitive. Further, some stock side characters become distracting while the dialogue—especially between male players—tends to read as tiresomely quippy. Early on, one of Noah’s pals tells him: “Make the wrong choice, my friend, and they’re gonna come at you like no shit-storm you’ve ever experienced.” Noah responds: “What if I wore my raincoat and used my big golf umbrella?”  

An inventive but bumpy redemption tale.

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68433-332-5

Page count: 307pp

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2020

WHERE EAGLES DARE NOT PERCH Cover
HISTORICAL FICTION

WHERE EAGLES DARE NOT PERCH

BY Peter Bridgford • POSTED ON July 26, 2018

During the Civil War, a man and woman from Maine, seeking to avenge a murder, try to track down a Union soldier in this novel.

Zachary Webster is a sharpshooter in the Civil War and has seen plenty of combat. Back home in Maine for a winter furlough, Webster reconnects with his girlfriend, Catherine Brandford, and his younger brother, Elijah, whom he tries to dissuade from volunteering for the war effort. As it happens, Catherine has been spending time with another man, and the jealous Zachary kills him. The victim’s brother, Jedediah Stiller, is an imposing ex-whaler who is “a giant with exotic black-blue tattoos on his cheeks and chin, his long hair tied back with a strip of leather, and both ears pierced with golden earrings.” Jedediah wants revenge and plans to somehow find Webster, who has quickly returned to the front lines. For her part, Catherine desires retribution, too, and decides to become a war nurse in hopes of locating Webster. The two avengers’ separate plans get sidetracked along the way, as Catherine is taken in by a kindly couple whose promises of safety may not be quite what they deliver. Jedediah returns to sea, involuntarily, after being shanghaied and forced into bare-knuckle matches, with the sketchy promises of freedom looking unlikely. Bridgford’s (Hauling Through, 2016) novel begins with some haunting imagery that places readers squarely in the center of its Maine setting: a starving moose pursued by a hungry Webster; a recently deceased patriarch whose body rests “in its coffin in the family barn waiting for the ground to thaw enough to dig his grave.” The conflict’s effect on a small Maine community is an intriguing angle for a Civil War story, and the plot is intensified by the distance the characters have to travel (with many perils along the way) to reach Virginia. Though the war is central to everything in the book, this is mostly a revenge tale that takes a while to get going and can be somewhat long-winded. But as the plot gains speed, Catherine’s and Jedediah’s stories turn into compelling tales full of deception, wickedness, and earthy 19th-century details.

A remarkable Civil War tale about Northern characters fighting for their own freedom as they seek revenge.

Pub Date: July 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68433-107-9

Page count: 346pp

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

Awards, Press & Interests

Hometown

Peaks Island, ME

Favorite author

Cormac McCarthy, Kurt Vonnegut, Ernest Hemingway, Ed Abbey,

Favorite book

The Road by Cormac McCarthy [No other book conveys the same bleak hopelessness!]

Day job

Retired teacher/full-time teacher/charterboat captain

Favorite line from a book

So it goees

Favorite word

ineffable

Unexpected skill or talent

Can make a decent egg sandwich

Passion in life

writing/boats

Portland Press Herald, 2018 Portland Press Herald Review, 2017

ADDITIONAL WORKS AVAILABLE

But I Digress

The collection of twenty nonfiction stories that highlight the antics of Peter Bridgford between his middle/high school, college, and post college years - including swimming in a sewer in Ohio, calling alligators in Florida, and committing mutiny on the Grand Banks.

Hauling Through

Underachieving college graduate goes to a fishing community to get a job and fit in with a cast of the colorful locals in a town that believes a Russian spy satellite is hovering above them.
Published: April 25, 2016
ISBN: 97816333810747

Sweating Through

The sequel to Hauling Through. Ten years after the original story, Jamie Kurtz and the colorful characters from Kestrel Cove meet up in Florida, and all hell breaks loose.