Monday, July 1, 2013

How Many Bad Guys Are Too Many Bad Guys?


Is there a limit on too many bad guys in a book? Have you ever read a book where the hero or heroine was caught between two baddies and had to figure out which one to deal with first? And I’m not talking about physically fighting two people at the same time, although that’s always a trick. I’m talking about out-smarting two different evil forces, getting the job done and managing to fall in love!

In Against The Wall, I pit my usually mild-mannered heroine against two bad-ass heavyweights. These guys don’t mess around when it comes to getting what they want. It takes another bad-ass ex-con to help her get the job done and both of them are changed by the experience. (Who wouldn’t be?) She learns she’s capable of just about anything including standing up for herself and fighting for what’s most important. He learns that it’s possible to move on from the past. That despite a rocky history, it’s the things a person does in the present that defines who they are and what they can become.
When you think about it, it’s amazing what a little pressure can bring out in a person. (Sometimes the very best… other times, not so much!) I’ll admit, the reluctant hero is probably my favorite and when one of those personalities runs up against one or two evil forces, there’s nothing better than watching them kick some serious butt.

Has anyone ever read a story with more than two bad guys? I’m curious if there’s one out there. But, I’d like to know what your thoughts are on multiple bad guys. Is it overkill or fun? One lucky commenter will win a digital copy of Living Dangerously, book #4 in the Adrenaline Highs series.
Against The Wall Excerpt:

The gun wobbled in Tanner Bryant’s hand as he wiped the sweat trickling in his eyes. His thudding heart drowned out the sound around him. All day, he’d been calm, and cool, exacting every move. Everything had gone as planned until now. The longer he waited on the rafters, the more his nerves frayed. Only a few house lights lit the large soundstage where a half built movie set waited to be finished, and darkness kept him hidden this high up. He’d heard some rustling a while back and caught sight of a giant rat scampering by on an adjacent beam. He’d seen bigger.

Dammit, he shouldn’t have taken so much time to learn Juneau’s schedule. All of a sudden the man had hired more bodyguards as if he knew Tanner wanted a piece of him.

Tanner focused on the scene twenty feet beneath him. He couldn’t hear what the girl was telling his target, but he didn’t care. Her gestures and position pissed him off. Thirty seconds ago, he’d had a clear shot, but now, little Miss Muffet stood in his way. She was just an itty-bitty thing, not tall, not wide, but he didn’t trust his aim and didn’t want to hurt her.

But he did want to hurt the man next to her. Desperately. He wanted Maurice Juneau to suffer. Painfully and for an extended period of time. Tanner didn’t need Juneau to know who had shot him. It just mattered that the man felt pain. Juneau was smart. He might actually figure out who pulled the trigger if he learned Tanner had been released from prison. Oddly, that thought did give Tanner a sense of power. The pond scum had ruined Tanner’s life and it was only fair that Juneau knew it was him.

But, it wasn’t a prerequisite.

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST July 2nd. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway. *US postal addresses only.


  1. I think I have read a novel where there are more than two villians. It has been awhile back when I read it around 2003 or 2004. I think the book is The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen. The story has the villian Warren Hoyt locked behind bars but he has an apprentice that is continuing his legacy. There is a third villain and if I mentioned how this third villain is connected, I'm giving the climax and ending away. I really loved this pinnacle of the confrontation.

    I don't think having several villains in the story is an overkill but having more than two villains have to make sense in the story. They have to be able to fit in and have a purpose in the conflict of the story. I just think this type of story, the author has to pay attention to the complexities and details of the plot to really make the story works with more than two villains.


    1. Hi Kai,
      I agree. It's already a juggle to handle the conflict with one bad guy, but adding more just means the author has to pay that much more attention to the details. Tess Gerritsen is terrific. I haven't read that book. I'll have to look for it! Thanks for coming by!

  2. I am pretty sure I read one or two stories with mulitple villains but it has been a while and I am not sure. I think it would be a tougher story to write because you would need to make sure the reader doesn't become confused.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

    1. Hi Maureen,
      I hear that! The author sure doesn't want the reader confused by keeping track of bad guys. LOL. Thanks for dropping in!

  3. I believe I have read a few books with more than one bad guy... it makes it interesting when you at first do not realize more than one person is causing all of the chaos... trying to figure out what is going on and even trying to figure out the person or persons actually being the villian... if it goes with the flow of the book, I do not mind multiple bad guys... thanks for sharing with us! Enjoyed the post!

  4. Hi Colleen C.,
    Glad you liked the post. I like how multiple bad guys just ups the suspense. It adds a level of "who should be feared most" I think. Thanks for commenting!

  5. I do like stories with multiple bad guys. It's always fun (for us!) when the hero/heroine think they've solved the problem then Wham! another bad guy waiting in the wings :)

    1. Hi Jemi,
      Ah yes! The secret bad guy! They are always fun. Those false wins (for the hero/heroine) are always good for a thrill! Thanks for dropping in!

  6. I read quite a few mysteries and thrillers so multiple bad guys can be a staple sometimes. One story that sticks out is one of J. D. Robb' s In Death stories, Seduction in Death. There were two nuts in that one that were just sickos. However, one thing that seems to be constant when there's more than one baddie is one tends to be the dominant and the other pretty much the follower who ends up being the weak link in the partnership.

    Thanks for the post and I'm looking forward to checking out your series!

    Jonettaallen77 at yahoo dot com

    1. Hi Jonetta,
      I'm a huge fan of the In Death series. J.D. Robb knows how to tell a story! That is one I haven't read so I'll have to look for it. It seems like there's always going to be a "worse" baddie. LOL. Thanks for commenting!

  7. Congrats Dee on the new release!!! Thanks for the great post! Ummm... I don't mind a "few" villains and having the main H's have to work harder to overcome but I have read a few books where it got ridiculous... couldn't keep all the lackies and minions apart and there were so many convoluted twists that the heroes became caricature superheroes to get through (there's a specific UF series I'm thinking of :) ).

    1. Hi Erin,
      Thank you! Glad you enjoyed the post. I hear ya, I can get lost in a book with too many characters or lots of twists and turns. I tend to keep my cast relatively small for that reason. Thanks for dropping in!

  8. Now that I'm officially Dr. Cris, I'll actually have time to catch up on some of my reading! Double dose of Dee sounds like great craic (LOVE the Adrenaline Highs series).

    Multiple villains can be a tricky thing. More conflict! More suspense! More twists! But it can easily tip over into the realm of overdone and unnecessary and feel more like a gimmick. It has to fit with the story, and each villain's motivation has to ring true. I'm sure it's incredibly tough (albeit also incredibly fun) to do as an author!


  9. Hi Cris,
    Congratulations!! I feel like I knew you when! How exciting! Glad you'll have time to catch up on your reading. Yes, I agree, multiple villains can be tricky, especially when they are pitted against each other AND the H/H. But it is fun to write all that nasty (as long as it's from an honest perspective). Thanks for coming by!

  10. Don't think I have

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

    1. Hi bn100,
      Well, then... maybe Against The Wall will be your first! Thanks for stopping in!


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