We hear a lot about ‘likeable’ leads – but what if a book’s protagonist is just plain BAD? We’re talking a domestic abuser, a paedophile, or a serial killer … That would be too difficult to read, surely — never mind WRITE! Yet somehow, these novelists manage it — wow!
1) TWISTED RIVER by Siobhan Macdonald
‘A holiday home swap FROM HELL’ is an awesome premise, but it’s the characters that really make TWISTED RIVER stand out in my opinion. Each one is well drawn, even the vile Oscar, a wife-beater who indulges his violent whims and excuses himself on the basis of his crappy childhood. From the pen of a lesser writer, Oscar would come off as a comic book villain, but you even find yourself *sort of* seeing things HIS way!! Horrifying, yet all the more powerful for it. Read my full review, HERE.
2) FIRST ONE MISSING by Tammy Cohen
A story of child abduction and murder, FIRST ONE MISSING is a dark and distressing read, with authentic characters and portrayals of grief. But it’s our male lead, our would-be paedophile, who really lights up the page in my view. His justifications make sense to him and whilst we don’t condone his behaviour, we begin to understand why society churns out monsters like him! Read my review, HERE.
3) FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD by Barbara Copperthwaite
I’ve read LOTS of stories told from the POV of a serial killer, but none quite like this one. Adam, our serial killer in FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD is a tragic figure — something usually afforded only for female killers in literature. Sexually abused as a child by his mother, his understanding of relationships is deeply flawed. Even the genuine kindness of his grandmother only serves to feed into his confusion of what love really means, leading to his warped actions in the book. Somehow, reading this I even empathised with Adam and wanted him to find happiness! Yikes! Definitely worth a read. Read my full review, HERE.