By | April 30, 2014 8 Comments

Why I wrote ‘The Devil’s Opus’

By Margaux Mannion Brown 

Editor’s note: Margaux Mannion Brown is the pen name for a Lovefraud reader.

theDevilsOpusIdeas for The Devil’s Opus began to emerge when I became fascinated with sociopathic personalities. This occurred when I discovered that one of my close friends had married one.

Everyone liked Joe. He was charming, flattering, and helpful. So helpful, that through his career as an investment broker, he was able to scam hundreds of thousands of dollars out of his clients, friends and family. Most of the money was lost on gambling. The rest of it went on big houses, fancy cars, and expensive vacations he pretended to afford. Things fell apart for Joe when people began to demand their investment returns.

Rather than go to prison, Joe committed suicide, leaving hundreds of investors broke and without retirement funding. He left his wife, Carol, with mountains of debt, emotional and spiritual devastation and two young children to raise on her own.

How does one even begin to understand Joe’s arrogance and grotesque sense of entitlement without a context of evil? Throughout my research on sociopathic behaviors and the sad, often sinister stories from victims of sociopaths, it became apparent that charm and flattery, convincing lies, false promises, sad sob stories, and endless pity plays are all part of the sociopath’s vocabulary. Sociopaths seem to intuitively know that the employment of their craft will serve their own wants and needs. They believe the end always justifies the means. The end is always about them and the means is always their grift.

In my fictional novel The Devil’s Opus, I have created two such characters, Leo Buckman and his best friend, Eddie Saldana, and just like the nonfiction of real life, their evil karma eventually catches up with them, but not without the dire consequences that befall the innocent victims who are caught in their evil web.

The Devil’s Opus is a novel about the wealthy and prominent Reno family, the Mezzos, and how they react to the sociopathic duo Leo Buckman and Eddie Saldana, the demise and eventual murder of their daughter Katie, and the hard choices they must make to save their granddaughter Anna, and themselves.

Part one of the story is told by the renown violinist Sophie Mezzo to her psychiatrist, Dr. Myra Angelista, and exposes Buckman’s grift as Katie’s life unravels into drugs and decadence. Part two of the novel begins with a letter to the Mezzos from Eddie Saldana. This letter reveals the circumstances surrounding Katie’s death and convinces them that Leo Buckman is responsible for her murder, setting in motion Tony Mezzo’s far reaching revenge, even though as a prestigious criminal attorney, his actions defy his own moral boundaries.

For me, The Devil’s Opus is not only an examination of the sinister, but is also an exploration of the human response to it, sometimes found in those grey areas of human nature and the human heart. I hope readers will embrace and learn from this thought provoking journey, realizing that evil often comes to us appearing to wear angel’s wings.


Posted in: Book reviews

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This book sounds riveting, a great read.


I want to read this, too.

“Throughout my research on sociopathic behaviors and the sad, often sinister stories from victims of sociopaths, it became apparent that charm and flattery, convincing lies, false promises, sad sob stories, and endless pity plays are all part of the sociopath’s vocabulary. Sociopaths seem to intuitively know that the employment of their craft will serve their own wants and needs. They believe the end always justifies the means. The end is always about them and the means is always their grift.”

The characteristics you listed here were my spath down pat…to at “T.” The charm, false, empty promises and pity play were the biggest ones. I didn’t even realize I was falling for the pity play until it was way too late. I know we have all been through this, but I still feel like I suffer alone. Does anyone else feel like that? I just want to forget it all and move on. I have healed a lot, but not totally. People just don’t understand so you don’t talk about. You just walk around with it always in you.



I am guessing just about everyone here feels, as one point, that they ‘got it’ way too late, and then that they are suffering alone. It is the nature of betrayal to feel this way. It is humiliating. Most of us suffer humiliation so deeply that it does feel really isolating, and it is difficult to share with friends or anyone who doesn’t understand the feeling. Plus, if we feel ashamed and humliated other people often don’t want to hear about it, it makes them uncomfortable. This is frequently a reason for other people to blame the victim of a con, rather than admit that it can happen to ANYONE, including THEM.

The other day a friend of mine was talking to someone who knew the guy who conned me. She looked at my friend, after my friend warned her to keep her distance from him, ‘oh, that wouldn’t happen to me, he’s not my thing’. I can understand, in part, what she is saying. We do have ‘types’ we will more easily be attracted to. But, what she fails to understand is when you are targeted, even by someone who is not your type, you can fall for them.

This guy was totally not my type. I am a professional, with property, car, and education. He was a New Age, poor, ‘movement’ instructor, and ‘guru’, without two dimes to rub together. But he convinced me he wanted to be with me, and I was willing to see if it could work.

It can happen to anyone. It feels like crap to get fooled and abused.

It gets A LOT better the more time passes, and you have NOTHING to do with them, and you find a new and healthy path in your life.

Hang in there…Slim


Slim…thank you so much for replying. All you said is so true. You made such a good point about people who feel uncomfortable with what we have gone through and blaming the victim. It’s a crazy world, isn’t it? I see now that if they blame the victim, they feel like they have control…like they can stop the con from happening to them.

OMG…what you said about your friend warning someone to stay away from the spath and that person saying he wasn’t her thing. That was so me!! I am having deja vu. He wasn’t really my type either, but now he is totally my type!! What in the world did he do to me?? I even told him that he really wasn’t my type. Wow, what a challenge I was for him until he conquered me and then it was all over. Soooo, that is exactly what happened to me. I was specifically targeted and I fell for him. You are so spot on. Wow. And he knew it would happen…that is what is so evil about it. He KNEW that whatever technique he used, it would work. I am shaking my head right now. I still can’t believe it after all this time.

I am sorry that you fell for someone who was so different than you…almost foreign to you. It’s amazing what they can do.

Well, I have nothing to do with him and him with me and I am trying to find my healthy path. I think I am half way there. Thank you so much for your encouragement! It means a lot.



No problem. This website saved my sanity, and I still come here nearly 7 years out. I think I will always have one thing or another to do with the subject of personality disorders, and helping others’ get through their pain.

How weird that we both fell for our NOT types. I will tell you that after a few years (and it took that long) I saw him and had zero attraction. He looked totally unappealing.

Now, when I somehow run across his path (he is in my town again, advertising and marketing himself as the new messiah. Phffft!) it is actually amusing. I don’t feel shame. I don’t feel sad. I don’t feel attraction. I feel repulsion and amusement.

And, yep, they know just how to play the ‘human instrument’, with all it’s emotional and physical responses. Too bad it is simply for their own benefit, and more the better if the other person suffers. I wish we could find an answer for this corruption of moral reasoning.



Slim…I will probably never see him again to even test to see if I am still attracted, but it would be awesome if I did see him and felt total indifference. That would be a day for celebration.

I also find it weird that we both fell for men who were not our types as I think most women have a type and that’s what helps them to fall…when the spath seems to be everything they wanted. He wasn’t my type, but he became everything I ever wanted. Sigh is right!!



Well be glad of that! Even though I can hear about him, and have seen him once, it still isn’t what I consider ‘fun’, or completely neutral.

I still find myself thinking ‘Hasn’t he died yet?’. Only seems fair.

As far as the type thing goes it seems to go any which direction. I have heard lots of folks talk about meeting their soul mates, and other’s have said the person was nothing like what they thought they would go for.

Plus, some of these disordered people ‘use’ the blending-in, birds-of-a-feather ploy, and some like to be shining stars, and stand- out from their environment. Still just a ploy to draw in the target.

I found the not-my-type guy to be kind of exotic and exciting, because he was so different from the rest of my life. Like it was a second adolscent period, and I had found a playmate. On the surface he looked so happy, funny, and full of life. Always up for fun and adventure. Always confident, and quick to laugh. Never embarrassed or shy. Confident.

The truth was that he was just an impulsive, gluttonous, limited attention span, irresponsible, addicted, hypersexual, immature, wandering, unfocused, and dishonest abuser. Nothing like what he wanted me to believe he was, or who he pressed everyone to acknowledge him as.

In truth he ended up causing me unfathomable stress and anxiety, but he was, conversly, the most boring person I had ever spent time with. He was SO repetative and predictable. He was really about 180 degrees from what he acted out in public.



Slim…I know…I need to be glad that I no longer have to have contact with him. He has been out of my life for a long time and I am starting to see that as a good thing. I do feel really sorry for the people who need to have contact due to having children together. They can never escape.

Every word you used to describe him was my spath, too. It’s really something. They were so alike, yet so different. I don’t want to go into too much detail about who I was with, but from what you described of yours, they are like worlds apart, but with the same behaviors and characteristics.

I wonder if they know they are boring so they create all this drama to seem interesting and to keep their lives exciting while they are destroying other lives. They do get bored very easily. I could see my spath doing this. Something to think about.

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