Welcome aboard, train wreck.
Who doesn’t love a good villain? I mean a well written, well rounded, oh my gosh it was you all along villain. And maybe it’s my own warped brain, but sometimes I can relate to the bad guy. Seriously. There have been more times than not that I’ve thought Thanos was right. Maybe that’s just due to my time working in customer service. Anywho. With this being spooky season, I thought it was time to celebrate some bookish bad guys. Warning, this post will contain spoilers. If you haven’t read one or any of these books, feel free to either skip that book or this post.
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The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
From the Amazon description – The greatest haunted house story ever written, the inspiration for a 10-part Netflix series directed by Mike Flanagan and starring Michiel Huisman, Carla Gugino, and Timothy Hutton
First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.
About Shirley Jackson
Shirley Jackson was born in San Francisco in 1916. She first received wide critical acclaim for her short story “The Lottery,” which was published in 1948. Her novels–which include The Sundial, The Bird’s Nest, Hangsaman, The Road through the Wall, We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Haunting of Hill House–are characterized by her use of realistic settings for tales that often involve elements of horror and the occult. Raising Demons and Life Among the Savages are her two works of nonfiction. Come Along With Me is a collection of stories, lectures, and part of the novel she was working on when she died in 1965. All are currently in print (Penguin). Two posthumous volumes of her short fiction are Just An Ordinary Day (Bantam) and Let Me Tell You (Random House). A graphic novel adaptation of “The Lottery” by Miles Hyman, her grandson, was published in 2016 (Farrar-Straus-Giroux). Also in 2016: Dark Tales by Shirley Jackson (Penguin Classics) and an authorized biography by Ruth Franklin: Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life (Norton).
To learn more about the author and their other books, click here. https://amzn.to/3a2F3iw
Why I love the villain – Who is the villain? The house? High Crain? Is the land tainted? Or is it all in Nell’s head. Is it all just mass hysteria? Even past the ending, past the time you close the book, after the last word is read, you are left wondering. And that is why I love the villain. Whoever it may be.
Jaws: A Novel by Peter Benchley
From the Amazon description – NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The classic suspense novel of shark versus man, which was made into the blockbuster Steven Spielberg movie. The Jaws phenomenon changed popular culture and continues to inspire a growing interest in sharks and the oceans today.
When Peter Benchley wrote Jaws in the early 1970s, he meticulously researched all available data about shark behavior. Over the ensuing decades, Benchley was actively engaged with scientists and filmmakers on expeditions around the world as they expanded their knowledge of sharks. Also during this time, there was an unprecedented upswing in the number of sharks killed to make shark-fin soup, and Benchley worked with governments and nonprofits to sound the alarm for shark conservation. He encouraged each new generation of Jaws fans to enjoy his riveting tale and to channel their excitement into support and protection of these magnificent, prehistoric apex predators.
This edition of Jaws contains bonus content from Peter Benchley’s archives, including the original typed title page, a brainstorming list of possible titles, a letter from Benchley to producer David Brown with honest feedback on the movie adaptation, and excerpts from Benchley’s book Shark Trouble highlighting his firsthand account of writing Jaws, selling it to Universal Studios, and working with Steven Spielberg.
Praise for Jaws
“A tightly written, tautly paced study of terror [that] makes us tingle.”—The Washington Post
“Powerful . . . [Benchley’s] story grabs you at once.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Relentless terror . . . You’d better steel yourself for this one. It isn’t a tale for the faint of heart.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Pure engrossment from the very opening . . . a fine story told with style, class, and a splendid feeling for suspense.”—Chicago Sun-Times
To learn more about the author and their other works, click here. https://amzn.to/3opVA8B
Why I love the villain – Dude, it’s a shark. Doing shark stuff. Swimming. Eating. Being awesome. Shark Week is legit a holiday in my house. I absolutely love sharks. And this book (I was exposed to the movie first) is why. What Gen X kid didn’t grow up knowing the line, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat?” I get the whole battle of man vs nature. But in the end is the shark really the bad guy? Or is the humans who are actively hunting him?
The Good House: A Novel by Tananarive Due
From the Amazon description –
The Good House is the critically acclaimed story of supernatural suspense, as a woman searches for the inherited power that can save her hometown from evil forces.
The home that belonged to Angela Toussaint’s late grandmother is so beloved that the townspeople in Sacajawea, Washington call it the Good House. But that all changes one summer when an unexpected tragedy takes place behind its closed doors, and the Toussaint’s family history—and future—is dramatically transformed.
Angela has not returned to the Good House since her son, Corey, died there two years ago. But now, Angela is finally ready to return to her hometown and go beyond the grave to unearth the truth about Corey’s death. Could it be related to a terrifying entity Angela’s grandmother battled seven decades ago? And what about the other senseless calamities that Sacajawea has seen in recent years? Has Angela’s grandmother, an African American woman reputed to have “powers,” put a curse on the entire community?
A thrilling exploration of secrets, lies, and divine inspiration, The Good House will haunt readers long after its chilling conclusion.
To learn more about the author and their other works, click here. https://amzn.to/3a0ndwi
Why I love the villain – Again, who is the villain? Is it the demon or the person who summoned it? Is the land and the house to blame? Or is the family cursed? I love this kind of villain.
Verity by Colleen Hoover
From the Amazon description –
Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.
Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of the night their family was forever altered.
Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.
A standalone romantic thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover.
About Colleen Hoover
Colleen Hoover is the #1 New York Times and International bestselling author of multiple novels and novellas. She lives in Texas with her husband and their three boys. She is the founder of The Bookworm Box, a non-profit book subscription service and bookstore in Sulphur Springs, Texas.
For more information and for a schedule of events, please visit colleenhoover.com.
To contact Colleen and her team (Her team’s name is Stephanie), please email firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about the author and their other works, click here. https://amzn.to/3uzwxAV
Why I love the villain – OK. For real. Major spoiler alerts. If you haven’t read this, skip this section. I do not want to rob you of the oh my God what did I just read. If you’re still reading, here we go. Which team are you? Team letter or team manuscript? I think Verity absolutely did those things and I don’t blame Jeremy or Lowen at all. I truly believe she was that evil and tried to gaslight the whole thing. The psychological aspect of this book, chef’s kiss. More twists and turns than a Missouri backroad.
The Savior’s Champion (The Savior’s Series Book 1) by Jenna Moreci
Experience the gripping romantic adventure rated as one of the Best Books of All Time by Book Depository.
Tobias Kaya doesn’t care about The Savior. He doesn’t care that She’s the Ruler of the realm or that She purified the land, and he certainly doesn’t care that She’s of age to be married. But when competing for Her hand proves to be his last chance to save his family, he’s forced to make The Savior his priority.
Now Tobias is thrown into the Sovereign’s Tournament with nineteen other men, and each of them is fighting—and killing—for the chance to rule at The Savior’s side. Instantly his world is plagued with violence, treachery, and manipulation, revealing the hidden ugliness of his proud realm. And when his circumstances seem especially dire, he stumbles into an unexpected romance, one that opens him up to unimaginable dangers and darkness.
Trigger warning: this novel contains graphic violence, adult language, and sexual situations.
About Jenna Moreci
Jenna Moreci is a bestselling author of dark fantasy and science fiction, as well as a YouTube sensation with hundreds of thousands of subscribers. The Savior’s Champion, her first novel in The Savior’s Series, was voted one of the Best Books of All Time by Book Depository.
Born and raised in Silicon Valley, Jenna spends her free time laughing until her face hurts with her goofball fiancé and snuggling with her tiny dog.
To learn more about the author and their other works, click here. https://amzn.to/3orcK5J
Why I love the villain – There is one main bad guy with several other flying monkeys. But seriously, let’s talk about Brontes and being the cause of Daddy issues for Leila. Like, my dude. Greed and power and the willingness to destroy your child, friends, and kingdom. All in the name of fortune and glory. Therapy. It’s a thing Brontes should look into.
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires: A Novel by Grady Hendrix
From the Amazon description –
The New York Times Best Seller
A Barnes & Noble Best Fiction Book of 2020
A Goodreads Choice Awards Finalist
Steel Magnolias meets Dracula in this ’90s-set horror novel about a women’s book club that must do battle with a mysterious newcomer to their small Southern town, perfect for murderinos and fans of Stephen King.
• Reading group guide for book clubs
• Hand-drawn map of Mt. Pleasant
• Annotated true-crime reading list by Grady Hendrix
• And more!
Patricia Campbell’s life has never felt smaller. Her husband is a workaholic, her teenage kids have their own lives, her senile mother-in-law needs constant care, and she’s always a step behind on her endless to-do list. The only thing keeping her sane is her book club, a close-knit group of Charleston women united by their love of true crime. At these meetings they’re as likely to talk about the Manson family as they are about their own families.
One evening after book club, Patricia is viciously attacked by an elderly neighbor, bringing the neighbor’s handsome nephew, James Harris, into her life. James is well traveled and well read, and he makes Patricia feel things she hasn’t felt in years. But when children on the other side of town go missing, their deaths written off by local police, Patricia has reason to believe James Harris is more of a Bundy than a Brad Pitt. The real problem? James is a monster of a different kind—and Patricia has already invited him in.
Little by little, James will insinuate himself into Patricia’s life and try to take everything she took for granted—including the book club—but she won’t surrender without a fight in this blood-soaked tale of neighborly kindness gone wrong.
About Grady Hendrix
New York Times bestselling author Grady Hendrix makes up lies and sells them to people. His novels include HORRORSTÖR about a haunted IKEA, MY BEST FRIEND’S EXORCISM, which is basically “Beaches” meets “The Exorcist”, WE SOLD OUR SOULS, a heavy metal horror epic, THE SOUTHERN BOOK CLUB’S GUIDE TO SLAYING VAMPIRES, and THE FINAL GIRL SUPPORT GROUP, coming on July 13, 2021. He’s also the author of PAPERBACKS FROM HELL, an award-winning history of the horror paperback boom of the Seventies and Eighties. He wrote the screenplay for, MOHAWK, a horror flick about the War of 1812, and SATANIC PANIC about a pizza delivery woman fighting rich Satanists. You can discover more ridiculous facts about him at http://www.gradyhendrix.com.
To learn more about the author and their other works, click here. https://amzn.to/2ZTSmzZ
Why I love the villain – Talk about hiding in plain sight. There is nothing more frustrating than being the only person who sees someone for who they really are. And then no one believes you. Like hey, this guy looks ok and he’s charming but he’s really a blood sucking vampire and should be destroyed. All you can do is sit there and watch Patricia struggle to make people see the danger that has moved in. And for the record, I hate her husband. I have never wanted to throat punch anyone so badly.
My Best Friend’s Exorcism: A Novel by Grady Hendrix
From the Amazon description –
This ENHANCED DIGITAL EDITION features TONS of TOTALLY AWESOME ’80s bonus materials—including Satanic Panic educational pamphlets, a do-it-yourself exorcism cheat sheet, a Spotify playlist of awesome ’80s tunes, animated cover artwork, and much more!
From the New York Times best-selling author of The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, this unholy hybrid of Beaches and The Exorcist blends teen angst and unspeakable horrors into a pulse-pounding supernatural thriller.
The year is 1988. High school sophomores Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fourth grade. But after an evening of skinny-dipping goes disastrously wrong, Gretchen begins to act…different. She’s moody. She’s irritable. And bizarre incidents keep happening whenever she’s nearby. Abby’s investigation leads her to some startling discoveries—and by the time their story reaches its terrifying conclusion, the fate of Abby and Gretchen will be determined by a single question: Is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil?
To learn more about the author and their other works, click here. https://amzn.to/3iolu8T
Why I love the villain – Hellooooooo!!!!! It’s the devil. Like, what better bad guy to have in a book. And again, Grady does a fantastic job of singling one character out. One loan teen girl who sees what is happening and struggles to make others see while still saving her friend from the grip of Hell. There is no better bad guy than the one that convinces the characters and the readers that they are, in fact the hero and the hero is really the villain.
Looking through this list, I see a pattern. I seem to be a fan of the mysterious villain. The one that pretends to be your friend while they sharpen the knife they will stab you with. I think I need to call my therapist and book a session.
Again, if you like what I post, please like, comment, share, and subscribe. If you read any of the books listed, please let me know what you thought of it. That’s all I’ve
got for today, train wrecks. All aboard.
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