The Greatest Evildoers in Literature

By Simon McDonald, Editorial Manager |

Miserty - Annie WilkesAnnie Wilkes from Misery by Stephen King

When Paul Sheldon wakes up from an accident with two broken leg, he finds himself in the home of the mentally unstable Annie Wilkes. Paul is the writer of Annie’s favorite novels, and she quickly reveals a psychotic obsession for him and his books. As her hostage, Paul is subjected to psychological and physical torture and is forced to write his latest novel exactly how she wants it. Read more about Misery.  

The Memoirs of Sherlock HolmesMoriarty from The Final Problem by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The story The Final Problem, one of the short stories in this collection, introduces Holmes’s great nemesis: the criminal mastermind Professor James Moriarty, also known as the “Napolean of Crime” – the one man whose intelligence rivals Sherlock Holmes. Read more about The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.  

The Killing Joke - JokerThe Joker from The Killing Joke by Allan Moore & Brian Bolland

According to The Joker, the line between sanity and insanity, heroism and villainy, comedy and tragedy is razor-thin; and he’s out to prove his deranged point by instigating a reign of terror on the Dark Knight’s closest allies. This is the defining Joker story that changed Batman’s world forever. Read more about The Killing Joke.  

Red DragonHannibal Lecter from Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

The predecessor to The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal, in Red Dragon Thomas Harris introduces Dr. Hannibal Lecter and the FBI agent who hunted him down, Will Graham, who is drawn into the warped mind of the psychopath, and an unforgettable world of demonic ritual and violence that is beyond the limits of human terror. Read more about Red Dragon.

The Executioners - Cape FearMax Cady from The Executioners / Cape Fear by John D. MacDonald

Considered one of Stephen King’s top 10 bad guys, Cady stalked the Bowden family in MacDonald’s novel (originally published as The Executioners), and was played on film by Robert Mitchum and Robert DeNiro. Read more about The Executioners.  

Violets are BlueKyle Craig from Violets are Blue by James Patterson

During the early Alex Cross novels Kyle Craig was a Special Agent for the FBI, and was a close friend of Cross, playing a vital role in several investigations. But in Violets are Blue it is revealed Craig is the criminal ‘The Mastermind,’ who is responsible for a series of bank robberies and murders. Read more about Violets are Blue.  

Gone GirlAmy Dunne from Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

On the outside, Amy Dunne seems like the perfect daughter, wife and friend. That is until she disappears and makes it look like her husband killed her, revealing how calculating and manipulative she truly is. Read more about Gone Girl.  

No Country for Old MenAnton Chigurh from No Country For Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

A ruthless, unstoppable hitman who kills almost everyone he meets. Chigurh will occasionally givehis victims a second chance by allowing a coin toss to decide their fate — not such great odds when you’re faced with a man as twisted and amoral as he. Read more about No Country For Old Men.

The Killer Inside MeLou Ford from The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson

Everyone in the small town of Central City, Texas loves Lou Ford. A deputy sheriff, Lou’s known to the small-time criminals, the real-estate entrepreneurs, and all of his coworkers—the low-lifes, the big-timers, and everyone in-between—as the nicest guy around. But behind the platitudes and glad-handing lurks a monster. Read more The Killer Inside Me.  

PsychoNorman Bates from Psycho by Robert Bloch

Norman Bates loves his Mother. People think she’s been dead for the past twenty years, but Norman knows better. He’s lived with Mother ever since leaving the hospital in the old house up on the hill above the Bates motel. One night, Norman spies on a guest of the hotel as she undresses. But Mother is there, trying to protect Norman from his filthy thoughts with a butcher’s knife. Read more about Psycho.  

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