Sunday, August 11, 2013

Review:: To Catch a Bad Guy by Marie Astor

To Catch a Bad Guy (Janet Maple, #1)To Catch a Bad Guy by Marie Astor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

To Catch a Bad Guy by Marie Astor

So, I like to look at the reviews before I decide on a book. It really helps when there are more than a handful of bad reviews. I suppose there must be some thing odd about admitting that I took a closer look at this book because it had such bad reviews. But, really, I'm not sure I would have read the sample without that bit of discouragement. It didn't work out poorly either. I liked the bit that was there and I picked it up for my kindle. Besides the bad reviews were only 25% of the whole.

Usually I recall seeing people start out with, I picked this up because with all the good reviews I thought I'd have to love it. Then there's at least one more sentence to explain how horrible it was.

I usually don't pick up a book by its cover but this is what caught my eye. Who can't resist the terrier with the pencil in its mouth.

So, like everyone else I was disappointed by being misled. Oh, there is a dog, and it plays some small part but really I was hoping it was going to help solve the case. But, that's the other problem. Hmm, The case.

Okay, I must agree with some others this is not a romance and this is not a mystery. It's almost a white collar crime novel. There is just a hint of romance but it just doesn't quite take off. So, that would qualify, at best as a tease.

Let's get to what it is:

It is good writing with solid editing and consistent plot and characters. The characters have flaws, yes, don't we all. Maybe this could be considered satire if you consider the complaints about the characters being wrong for their perceived intellectual level. If I were to complain my one complaint would be that the portrayal of women in this book, professional women, seems a few years backwards yet. I'm wishfully hoping that the educated women are not so shallow as to be using that education just to land a good husband so they can kick up their heels. But, that's just one character. The other just seems to have this blind-spot toward, well a lot of things including the man who might really be interested in her.

Dennis Walker aka Dean Snider seems your regular guy who's been caught up into the white collar intrigue by his own accidental venture into the criminal end. He's fully aware of he possibility of being innocent while yet nearly being proven guilty and should have some sympathy for some of the people he has to set up.

This is where the major conflict for this story comes from and this white collar crime thing goes deeper than the surface area that this novel touches so it's almost understandable that it comes off as just a bit blase at the end. The reason that Janet has ended up in the situations she is in has something that remotely intersects with the matter at hand and her own expertise in the field is what brings her and Dennis together and create those teasing little sparks that I suspect will go on into the next novel.

So, while this is not a satisfying romance nor a deep convoluted mystery to thrill the reader it is an entertaining read about a couple of people trying to stay within the law and catch the ones who have stepped over the line while trying to clear their own names and reputations.

It's more than that though because this type of crime seems conducive to creation of characters that have stepped over the line who are otherwise likable and who you almost might feel sorry for.


This is a great read for anyone looking for light entertainment. The crime is mostly out there to see without a lot of deduction so it's mostly a matter of how are we going to sink our teeth into these guys kind of story. I look forward to reading more and hope the terrier has a bigger part next time. Hmm, maybe he's just the 'cover' story.

J.L. Dobias

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