The best books starring antiheroes you love to hate

Who am I?

I’ve had a thing for antiheroes since my early days that were dominated by stereotypical “true-blue” protagonists in straightforward “good versus evil” narratives. Comic books, novels, and television shows were stunted by this unrealistic division that was intended to shelter the reader from provocative ideas and philosophies in favor of presenting a stable worldview. This distortion was most obvious in entertainment intended for young Canadian minds, so it wasn’t until I was old enough to make my own library selections and book purchases that I began to seek out the dark characters populating the gray area that is fiction and life. This ongoing exploration is reflected in my books.


I wrote...

Skin Eaters

By G. Wells Taylor,

Book cover of Skin Eaters

What is my book about?

The old building in a rundown part of Metro was a perfect place to find a body, but they wouldn't have dragged Joe Borland out of retirement if it still had its skin. It's been twenty years since he battled the Variant Effect, and twenty since he let his partner get skinned alive. Now both of them are ordered back into action to meet a terrifying new threat.

Sometimes when you need a hero, you get Joe Borland.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Frankenstein

G. Wells Taylor Why did I love this book?

I was trapped in Mary Shelley’s unparalleled prose after the first sentence in her novel Frankenstein. There was no escaping this tragic account of one man’s hubris, and resulting offence against nature and the divine. It was pure inspiration and irresistible to me as a young fan of the horror genre in comics, books, and movies, and collector of Aurora monster model kits. Within moments of his introduction, we see the shadow of Dr. Frankenstein’s fall in the first vaulted descriptions of his scientific method and philosophy, mirrored later in his creature’s sad story. These characters define the antihero as they make prideful claims of superiority and capacity for greatness despite lacking the vital ingredient of compassion for those they claim to love.

By Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley,

Why should I read it?

38 authors picked Frankenstein as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the BBC's '100 Novels That Shaped Our World'

'That rare story to pass from literature into myth' The New York Times

Mary Shelley's chilling Gothic tale was conceived when she was only eighteen, living with her lover Percy Shelley on Lake Geneva. The story of Victor Frankenstein who, obsessed with creating life itself, plunders graveyards for the material to fashion a new being, but whose botched creature sets out to destroy his maker, would become the world's most famous work of horror fiction, and remains a devastating exploration of the limits of human creativity. Based on the third…


Book cover of The Long Goodbye

G. Wells Taylor Why did I love this book?

I fell in love with Raymond Chandler’s writing in my teens after reading his novel The High Window. That started a search for his other books and the films he authored. His writing is peppered with punchy dialogue, two-fisted action, and imbued with a sense of humor as tangible as his rich descriptions and cynical asides. I treasure his books, with The Long Goodbye being the most complete presentation of his famous Philip Marlowe character. The hard-boiled detective genre that Chandler defined is ambiguous by nature, and so becomes the home turf for the antihero in literature. This novel thrills and dismays with a complicated antihero Terry Lennox who is so compelling that he almost drags Marlowe out of the gray area and into the black.

By Raymond Chandler,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Long Goodbye as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ed Bishop stars as Philip Marlowe in a powerful and atmospheric full-cast dramatisation of Raymond Chandler's classic noir novel. The first time Marlowe sets eyes on Terry Lennox, he is lying drunk in the passenger seat of a Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith. The next time, he's on Skid Row. After they share a few Gimlets, Marlowe thinks he seems like a nice guy, but he's had a hard life - his white hair and scarred face testify to that. Or could it be marriage to Sylvia Lennox that has turned him prematurely grey? Although beautiful and rich, she plays the field…


Book cover of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever : Lord Foul's Bane', 'Illearth War' and 'Power That Preserves

G. Wells Taylor Why did I love this book?

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever is a fantastic tale of two worlds. There is the Land, a mystical place of good versus evil, with inhabitants who use supernatural means to summon help against the darkness, and our world where the writer Thomas Covenant lives as an outcast to keep his leprosy in remission and to avoid his hostile neighbors. When he is magically transported to the Land and its people beg him to fight the evil for them, he refuses, believing it is a suicidal delusion that will reactivate his disease and kill him. The troubled hero Covenant could not be more compelling, or his dilemma better written, especially as the true-blue inhabitants of the Land struggle to understand why he can’t do the right thing.

Book cover of Money: A Suicide Note

G. Wells Taylor Why did I love this book?

One of my friends gave me a copy of this book back in the days when we were all young artists and entrepreneurial wannabes who celebrated a lot more than we accomplished. It was a cycle of parties, hijinks, day jobs, and the slow growth of personal art projects; so, the arrival of this book about John Self’s madcap foray into feature film was timely. The character festoons whatever creativity and talent he has as a director with a profligate lifestyle that lampoons the very movie industry he hopes to dominate. Mysterious motivations drive him to hilarious extremes that Amis’ masterful writing somehow makes loveable and repulsive in a wild tale of self-discovery that, among other things, warns against being the antihero in your own story.

By Martin Amis, Bert Krak (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Money as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of Time's 100 best novels in the English language-by the acclaimed author of Lionel Asbo: State of England and London Fields

Part of Martin Amis's "London Trilogy," along with the novel London Fields and The Information, Money was hailed as "a sprawling, fierce, vulgar display" (The New Republic) and "exhilarating, skillful, savvy" (The Times Literary Supplement) when it made its first appearance in the mid-1980s. Amis's shocking, funny, and on-target portraits of life in the fast lane form a bold and frightening portrait of Ronald Reagan's America and Margaret Thatcher's England.

Money is the hilarious story of John Self,…


Book cover of The Silence of the Lambs

G. Wells Taylor Why did I love this book?

Dr. Hannibal Lecter first intrigued me in the book Silence of the Lambs, and later seduced a multitude when the movie version came out. He is the quintessential antihero because of his placement in the narrative as an indomitable force of evil and cunning that in this instance could accomplish something very good. He embodies the question about the ends justifying the means and has no problem benefiting from the FBI’s philosophical quandary that in itself should alert the heroes to the problem one faces when dealing with the Devil. The narrative is so entwined with Lecter that the book itself could be perceived as an antihero that uses him to seduce the reader into a similar contract of quid pro quo.

By Thomas Harris,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked The Silence of the Lambs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As part of the search for a serial murderer nicknames "Buffalo Bill," FBI trainee Clarice Starling is given an assignment. She must visit a man confined to a high-security facility for the criminally insane and interview him.

That man, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, is a former psychiatrist with unusual tastes and an intense curiosity about the darker corners of the mind. His intimate understanding of the killer and of Clarice herself form the core of Thomas Harris' The Silence of the Lambs--an unforgettable classic of suspense fiction.


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Bottled Secrets of Rosewood

By Mary Kendall,

Book cover of Bottled Secrets of Rosewood

Mary Kendall Author Of Campbell's Boy

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Storyteller Historian Walking enthusiast Yogi

Mary's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Miranda falls in love with her dream house but soon discovers it's an affair with complications. A lot of them. Rosewood is a centuries old, tumble-down, gambrel roofed charmer located in an isolated, coastal corner of Virginia referred to as "strange". Known for long-standing and antiquated customs, an almost indecipherable brogue and possible witchcraft connections, Miranda shrugs all locational concerns aside to pursue her new love.

When an archeological dig is undertaken at the property, a series of incidents commences that goes beyond just "bumps in the night". Awakened one night by the eerie glow from a ring of fire around her house, Miranda must decide. Should she leave Rosewood or stay---and potentially pay the ultimate price?

Bottled Secrets of Rosewood

By Mary Kendall,

What is this book about?

After a logics professor buys the house of her dreams, she must contend with unexplainable happenings. An ancient blue bottle appears to be at the root of the mysterious incidents, but is it?

Miranda falls in love with her dream house but soon discovers it's an affair with complications. A lot of them. Rosewood is a centuries old, tumble-down, gambrel roofed charmer located in an isolated, coastal corner of Virginia referred to as ""strange"". Known for long-standing and antiquated customs, an almost indecipherable brogue and possible witchcraft connections, Miranda shrugs all locational concerns aside to pursue her new love.

When…


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