Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Catching the Bad Guy by Marie Astor (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with author Marie Astor, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book event for Catching the Bad Guy!

Author Guest Post

What Qualities Make An Interesting Heroine?

This is the question that I ask myself every time I set out to write a new novel. While I cannot answer this question for all the readers (I bet every author wishes she / he had the answer to this riddle!), I can list the top qualities that make me like a heroine when reading a book.

1) A heroine should be relatable to by the reader; regardless of where and when the story takes place, the reader has to be able to identify with the heroine on some level. I think that Jane Austen’s novels are the perfect example: the setting may be in a different century, but we still find ourselves relating to Austen’s heroines as they struggle with their misfortunes and claim their victories.

2) A heroine should be likeable, but that doesn’t mean perfect by any means! There are many famous heroines who are far from perfect, and the readers still love them. For example, Scarlett O’Hara: Scarlett is scheming, conniving, jealous, and downright mean at times, and yet, as readers, we adore her all the same.

3) A heroine should have flaws. Who wants to read about a Goody Two-Shoes? In real life no one is perfect. How many of us can honesty claim to never having a jealous thought or listening to gossip?

4) A heroine must have redeeming qualities in order to make the reader root for her despite her flaws. Again, Scarlett O’Hara is the perfect example here: she may be conniving and scheming, but she is also strong-willed and tough, and she perseveres and stands tall in very difficult circumstances, making us root for her as readers.

5) And last, but not least: physical traits. I believe that there should be a balance between physical appearance and character traits. How does a heroine who is gorgeous, confident and eloquent sound? Difficult to relate to and let’s face it, boring. But if we have a heroine who is good-looking, but is struggling with insecurities stemming from her past, we would want to find out more about her, right? Well, at least I would.

These are some of the guidelines that steered me true when I was writing the character of Janet Maple, the heroine of my latest romantic suspense series. Book two in the series, Catching the Bad Guy, continues Janet’s adventures, as she navigates her way through the treacherous world of white collar crime and an even more dangerous world of office romance.

About The Author

Marie Astor is romantic suspense Kindle bestselling author of the Janet Maple Series: To Catch a Bad Guy and Catching the Bad Guy, contemporary romance novels This Tangled Thing Called Love, Lucky Charm, Smitten at First Sight, and a short story collection, A Dress in a Window. Marie is also the author of a fantasy adventure novel, Over the Mountain and Back.

In her spare time, Marie loves being out-of-doors. She enjoys hiking, swimming and skiing. Marie loves hearing from her readers and always answers all of her emails personally. If you would like to join Marie’s mailing list or find out more about Marie’s books, please visit Marie at her website: Marie’s next novel, book three of the Janet Maple Series, is expected to be released in late fall of 2013.


Book Trailer - Catching the Bad Guy

Book Review

Catching the Bad Guy by Marie Astor
Book 2: The Janet Maple Series
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: May 14, 2013
Format: eBook - 230 pages / Kindle - 434 KB / Nook - 598 KB
Genre: Romantic Suspense 

BUY THE BOOK: Catching the Bad Guy

BUY THE SERIES: The Janet Maple Series
Book 1: To Catch a Bad Guy
Book 2: Catching a Bad Guy
Book 3: TBA - expected release date - late Fall 2013

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Book Description:

Janet Maple and Dennis Walker make a good team: she is a top-notch white collar crime investigator, and so is he. Both Janet and Dennis are thrown in for a loop when Janet’s treacherous snake of an ex-boyfriend, Alex Kingsley, is appointed as their new boss, and the case that was supposed to be the highlight of their careers is dismissed for lack of evidence.

To make matters worse, Alex is asking Janet to get back together, and the one man she wishes would ask her out sees her as nothing more than a coworker. Janet’s love life soon becomes the least of her worries, as she begins to suspect that Alex’s rekindled interest in her is driven by ulterior motives. She is determined to get to the bottom of things, but she can’t do it alone.

Together, Janet and Dennis team up to solve a tangled white collar crime web that leads to powerful politicians and corporate executives. Armed with their keen instincts and skills, Janet and Dennis are bound to succeed. There is just one glitch: both are attracted to each other, and both refuse to admit it. Will Janet and Dennis solve the biggest case of their careers or will their attraction to each other get in the way?

Catching the Bad Guy is book two of the Janet Maple Series, but it can easily be read on its own. (To Catch a Bad Guy, book one in the Janet Maple Series, is free at all major online retailers.) Book 3 in the series is scheduled for release in the fall of 2013.

Join Marie’s mailing list at to receive updates on her new books.

Book Excerpt:

“There is my favorite investigator.” Dennis Walker sauntered into Janet Maple’s office without bothering to knock. Dennis Walker never knocked. He simply barged in unannounced, the same way he had barged into Janet’s life a little over a year ago, turning it upside down.

Her fingers tingling from furious typing, Janet looked up from her computer screen. “Today is the big day, huh?” Janet kept her voice cool, making a mental effort not to ogle Dennis’s freshly tanned face. The man would look good even if he were pasty white, not that Dennis’s silky-smooth complexion had ever been pasty white, not even in the dead of winter. But now he looked dangerously handsome. “How was your vacation? Puerto Rico, was it?”

“Turks and Caicos, and it was wonderful.”

Janet nodded. She knew that. She had known the destination of Dennis’s getaway ever since he had posted his vacation schedule on the department calendar two months ago, and she had spent weeks visualizing his trip: Dennis stretched on a lounge chair, sipping one of those resort drinks from a coconut with a dark-eyed lanky brunette lying by his side, or perhaps a blue-eyed blonde. When it came to women, Dennis had only one requirement: they had to be drop-dead gorgeous. Apparently, Janet Maple was not gorgeous enough for Dennis Walker.

“You look like you could use a break, Janet.” Dennis’s comment made Janet conscious of the dark circles under her eyes, which so far were her only reward for burning the midnight oil at work.

“Not everyone has the luxury of taking a week off before the most important case hearing of one’s career.”

Dennis’s eyes locked on Janet’s, his glance acknowledging their never-ending game of verbal tennis. “As I told my boss, I had scheduled my vacation months in advance; the case hearing had been moved three times. I have a life, you know, and I can’t be at the Enforcement Division’s beck and call.”

“Can you believe the momentum the case has gained?” Janet steered the conversation away from the alarming subject of Dennis’s private life, the details of which, despite all the hours she had spent pondering the subject, she wanted to know as little as possible.

“I know. We did all the groundwork and then every single regulator jumped on the bandwagon, including your former alma mater, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.”

Janet felt the usual sting of chagrin that the mention of her former employer never failed to trigger. Yes, her legal career had begun with a position of assistant district attorney at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, but her promising start fizzled to a disappointing conclusion after she was downsized from the DA’s office in the middle of an important case.

As if reading her thoughts, or more likely her expression, Dennis cleared his throat. “David Muller has wreaked enough havoc. It’s high time he was brought to justice.”

“I sure hope that’s going to be the case.”

Dennis frowned. “Why the hesitation?”

“For the very same reason you just mentioned: the case hearing has been postponed three times already.”

“I guess we’ll find out soon enough.”

My Book Review:

In Catching the Bad Guy, the second book in The Janet Maple Series, the readers are reacquainted with white-collar crime investigators and star-crossed lovers Janet Maple and Dennis Walker.

Janet and Dennis have been partners in the Department of Treasury's white-collar crime investigation and enforcement division for the past year. An important case that they have been working on is suddenly dismissed for lack of evidence by the department's powerful and influential higher ups. And if that isn't enough, they are thrown for a loop when their boss is forced into an early retirement and replaced by Janet's ex-boyfriend, Alex Kingsley, former Manhattan Assistant DA, who is brought in to clean house of rogue investigators in the department. Alex is a suave and ambitious man who is determined to climb the ladder of success at any cost. Alex's promotion puts Janet and Dennis' careers in jeopardy, and as they work together to save their jobs, they discover a tangled web of deceit and corruption between financial corporate executives and influential and powerful politicians. Can Janet and Dennis save their jobs, bring the white-collar criminals to justice, and find love in each other's arms?

Author Marie Astor once again easily peaks the interest of the readers in the second installment of The Janet Maple Series. Catching the Bad Guy picks up where To Catch a Bad Guy left off, making it easy for the reader to reacquaint themselves with Janet and Dennis' adventures in solving white-collar crime. Written in the third person narrative and set in New York, the crime stopping duo takes the reader on another intriguing adventure as their investigation leads them into a tangled web of insider trading and political corruption. And if that isn't enough, Janet's ex-boyfriend and new boss Alex Kingsley wants to rekindle their relationship, but Janet is attracted to the womanizing flirt Dennis.

This fast-paced storyline is full of intrigue, suspense and romance. I really enjoyed how the author has developed the characters of Janet and Dennis. It was fun to see them continue to work together on white-collar crime investigations, but it was even more enjoyable to watch as the chemistry between these two star-crossed lovers heated up. There is a nice balance between the mixture of suspense and romance throughout the story, it kept me interested in following Janet and Dennis' latest adventure.

With an engaging cast of characters (old and new); sassy dialogue and interactions; a richly detailed description of the white-collar financial corporate world and law enforcement field; and enough romance to spice things up; Catching the Bad Guy is an entertaining romantic suspense story that will keep the reader turning the pages!

While Catching the Bad Guy can be a stand alone read, as the author does provide the reader with flashback recollections of the characters and prior investigations from the first installment of the series, I would recommend that the reader reads the books in sequential order so that they can fully appreciate the continuation of the series as it flows from one book into the next. The third installment in the series is expected to be released in late Fall 2013.



  1. Replies
    1. Hi Kathleen, thank you for stopping by! I love reading Marie's books too! :)

  2. Love Marie and all her books! great review!

    1. Hi Mary, thank you for visiting my blog. I love Marie's books too, they are very entertaining. Thank you for your kind comment about my book review. :)