His day job is at the Wrentham Developmental Center, but Americo Tulipano has another gig, a passion really, as a writer. And that passion has resulted in his first novel, The Secret of Bog Lane, which consists of several interwoven mysteries. “One critic said it was a thriller. My son simply calls it a ‘scary story,’” says Tulipano. “But it's also a love story. Romantic entanglements wind through the novel. Other kinds of love also have a role in the book, especially the love that exists between parents and children.”
Tulipano has worked in human services both as a special education teacher and as a case manager for the past thirty years. Currently, he works at Wrentham Developmental Center. “[It’s] a wonderful facility that offers compassionate care and education services to its hundreds of residents,” he says.
While The Secret of Bog Lane is his first novel, he has been writing short stories since he was ten. The book came from inspiration from different events and places, but one stands out. In 2009, he and his wife bought a house on a hill. “We learned that a few of the other homes on the hill have a hole in the cellar floor. Each opening is capped by a lid the size of a manhole cover. If you lift up one of those covers, you can actually see a rivulet flowing down to the local river. The image of a sizable subterranean stream rushing right under someone's home stuck in my head for days,” Tulipano explained. “But what really shoved my imagination into 4th gear was the realization that this rivulet is accessible through an easily removable cover in the basement. The other elements of the novel fell into place soon after.”
The book has several mysteries. One involves an autistic boy named Jimmy Hitchens who disappears from the backyard of his home which is located in Plymouth, Massachusetts, off a dead-end street called Bog Lane. Another mystery has to do with a small family that moves into Jimmy's house several months after his disappearance. The family finds an enormous, manmade tropical garden in the basement. As these things are happening in Massachusetts, an American explorer makes contact with an isolated tribe deep in the Amazon rainforest where he claims he can make them all immune to disease. “All of these mysteries--and several other strange happenings--gradually come together in the course of the novel,” Tulipano says. “The finale is an eye-opener in every sense of the phrase.”
A second novel is in the works. It will be set in the 1960s and 70s at an institution for developmentally disabled people. The new novel will be a mystery-suspense story, structured on well-documented historical realities and feature characters based on people who live and work at places like the Wrentham Developmental Center.
Tulipano will be signing books on Saturday, May 5 from 1PM to 3PM at Tatnuck Booksellers on 18 Lyman Street in Westborough. The book is available at independent bookstores all around Wrentham and Norfolk. This includes Paperback Junction in Easton, Ugly Dog Books in Attleboro, Readmore Books in Taunton, and the Book Cafe in Holliston. Paperback copies and E-books can also be ordered through Amazon or Barnes and Noble.