Let's Hear It for the Bad Guys!

Today I have a guest for you. But before I introduce you, I want to let you know the last giveaway of the summer is coming up for SOLOMON'S COMPASS. For your convenience, there's a sign-up button right over here --> at the top of the right sidebar. The giveaway starts Wednesday on Goodreads and runs through Friday, August 17. US residents only. I'm giving away two signed copies - and I'd love to give one to you!

Now ... on to more fun stuff :)

Colby Marshall is here again. Y'all probably remember her from back in the spring. And no, Colby is not a Bad Guy. She writes about them, and she's here to tell you about some of her favorite ones. So take it away, Colby!

It seems like in fiction, everyone is always rooting for the hero, the heroine, and the dog of either to defeat the bad guy and save the day. And while this is certainly a worthy placement of admiration, I’d like to take a few moments to honor those in our favorite books without whom the stories would be a lot shorter.  They take a lot of crap, and in the end, they never get what they want. So for once, I’m prepared to raise my glass and say it loud and proud: “Here’s to all the bad guys!”

Not many good stories can be oh-so-delicious without an equally scrumptious villain to take on your favorite character.  In honor of this day where we all come out of the shadows to proclaim our love for the dastardly, I’m prepared to share with you seven of my favorite baddies of all time. *ahem*

                7. Dr. Highley
                    The Cradle Will Fall
                    by: Mary Higgins Clark
                     Come on, folks. The man is a saint. He takes women who can’t get pregnant and makes their dreams come true by helping them to conceive. I mean, so what if he might skirt over a few minor details like violating that whole “do no harm” oath he took. Rules are made to be broken, right?  And, hey, if he kills a few people to keep the truth from coming out, as long as it’s for the greater good of scientific breakthroughs, that can’t be so bad. (Except maybe for the people in his care he killed, but who’s counting…) It’s only the weak-minded pansies who throw around words like “morals” and “ethics” as it is…the same as “love” and “alcoholism.”

                6. Geoffrey “The Weasel” Schafer
                    Pop Goes the Weasel
                    by: James Patterson
                       Who doesn’t like sugar in their coffee? From the very get-go when Geoffrey Schafer dumps four sugars into his coffee and speeds through Washington D.C., we can identify with him (except most of us don’t drive a Jag and go careening into walls just for the adrenaline rush).  But then, Patterson turns everything on its ear when we find out that not only is this oh-so-relatable villain a coffee addict and a speed demon, but he also has the most brilliant cover any criminal ever dreamed off: diplomatic immunity.

                5. Courtney Kendrick
                    The Kindness of Strangers
                 by: Katrina Kittle
                     The most endearing quality about Courtney would be how easy she makes it to love to hate her. So much isn’t clear cut in life, but thankfully, this is one of those few things that is. Thank you, Courtney, for being a horrid witch.

                4. Edgler Foreman Vess
                    by: Dean Koontz
                      Besides the sheer fact that any bad guy with the first name “Edgler” is destined for super-villain infamy,  this self-proclaimed “homicidal adventurer” has a pack of trained attack Doberman pinschers that stand guard on his property and a rolling death mobile in the form of a motor home.  Add his rare talent of talking to spiders and his fetish for eating them, and that’s a combination any SVF (Single Villainous Female) dreams of.

                3. Lord Voldemort
                    The Harry Potter series
                    by: J.K. Rowling
                     You have to be extremely dedicated to go after a kid every single year of his life (and keep failing). Not to mention, Voldy is kind of a nice guy. After all, he does wait until the end of each year to attempt Harry’s demise. Harry should think of it as something like an ultimate final exam!  How can we fault someone clearly interested in the education of youth?  Plus, dividing his soul into seven parts? I’ve heard of multitasking before, but this is ridiculous.

                2. Jim Beckett
                    The Perfect Husband
                    by: Lisa Gardner
                      What could possibly say “the perfect man” quite like control issues and unmitigated rage?  Beckett has it all.  He’s a decorated police officer, so clearly, he’s successful (we’ll just forget that killed ten women, arrested, and escaped from prison part).  He likes to beat victims to a pulp with his trusty baseball bat, so he’s obviously interested in sports and extracurricular activities. With all those disguises, Jim’s wardrobe is to be commended.  Add to it that he often tells his ex-wife he will find her and cut out her beating heart (poetry!), and J-I-M should be spelled H-O-T

                 1. Hannibal Lecter
                    The Silence of the Lambs
                    by: Thomas Harris
                                   It’s all about subtleties, people.  Anyone can take out someone they don’t like, but who can manage it with the sort of finesse the good doctor can? Not only do I admire Hannibal’s extensive vocabulary, but I also applaud his affinity for the polite. We could all use a lesson in manners these days, and Hannibal is more than willing to give you that lesson…served up with a side of fava beans and a nice Chianti.  Hannibal had it all figured out.  After all, you can’t spell “tasteful” without “taste”!

So those are my favorite baddies to love to hate.  Who is your favorite villain?

Writer by day, ballroom dancer and choreographer by night, Colby has a tendency to turn every hobby she has into a job, thus ensuring that she is a perpetual workaholic.  In addition to her 9,502 regular jobs, she is also a contributing columnist for M Food and Culture magazine and is a proud member of International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime.  She is actively involved in local theatres as a choreographer as well as sometimes indulges her prima donna side by taking the stage as an actress.  She lives in Georgia with her family, two mutts, and an array of cats that, if she were a bit older, would qualify her immediately for crazy cat lady status.  Her debut thriller, Chain of Command is about a reporter who discovers the simultaneous assassinations of the President and Vice President may have been a plot to rocket the very first woman—the Speaker of the House—into the presidency. Chain of Command as well as the second book in her McKenzie McClendon series, The Trade, are now available.


Stolen lives...

Reporter McKenzie McClendon is on the trail of her next hot story, tracking a sadistic serial killer known as The Cradle Robber. This brutal murderer preys on pregnant women, slicing their infants from their wombs, leaving the helpless women to die while he disappears with their babies.

The trade of innocents…

Jonas Cleary is out of options. McKenzie, his former sweetheart, is his last hope. Jonas believes his slain wife was The Cradle Robber’s first victim and that his son is still alive, lost in the underground world of the black market baby trade, where ruthless people are happy to prey on the desperation of those willing to pay any price to have a child, and infants are just another commodity.

Before another one dies…

Aided by former Navy SEAL Noah Hutchins and a clever FBI data specialist, McKenzie races to unravel the web of lies, drawing dangerously closer to the ruthless, brilliant surgeon at the heart of the maze. With a child’s future hanging in the balance, the lives of five people careen toward a terrifying collision. It’s up to McKenzie to discover which key will unlock the puzzle, and which will get her killed.

THE TRADE is now available:

Directly from the publisher with free worldwide shipping: www.stairwaypress.com/bookstore
Barnes and Noble: http://tinyurl.com/lbclmop
Coming Soon on Nook, iBooks, Sony, Kobo, and other major e-readers.

Follow Colby on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/colbymarshall


Your number one choice is a good one. He made the story.
Shelly said…
Ooooh- loved this list of baddies- well chosen!
Christine Rains said…
Oh yes! Excellent list. Hannibal is the top villain for me too.
Linda G. said…
Your list works for me!
L. Diane Wolfe said…
Some diabolical bad guys there.
L.G. Smith said…
I have newfound respect for Mr. Voldemort. I never realized his dedication to the education of our youth before, but you are absolutely right! :)

Karen Walker said…
Love this list. I guess my most lovable bad guys are Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Julie Luek said…
A great list of the "bad guys". Where would our plots be without them?
Stephen Tremp said…
Its great to meet Colby. Great post! And I've read Intensity, Pop Goes The Weasel, and all the HP books. All terrific villains indeed!

Good luck Colby with The Trade!
Teresa Coltrin said…
Great list, Colby. Without the bad guys, who would care? :)
A great list of bad guys. This is why I love the anti-hero. The bad guy who's actually kind of the good guy, like Dexter for example. Great character, and great stories.
Nice list of villains! They really can make the story. :)
Julie Flanders said…
There's nothing better than a great villain. The bad guys are so much fun! Totally agree with your #1.
Johanna Garth said…
Good villains are so complex and, when done well, much more fun to read than the bland nice guys! Great list!!
Robin said…
As you say, anyone can be good. These villains have taken wicked to a whole new level. Great list!
Gwen Gardner said…
I never could appreciate Voldemort. At the same time, I don't know why SOMEBODY didn't kill him earlier, LOL! Now the real villain/hero is Snape!

Thanks for the fun post, Colby!

Hi Carol, I'm on my way to Goodreads to sign up for the giveaway.
Linda Kage said…
Man, I need to read more mysteries! The only two of those baddies I'd heard of was Lord Voldermort and Hannibal Lecture!! :)
Carol Kilgore said…
Hi, everyone! Colby is doing a dance camp this week, but she'll be along later.

A couple of my favorite bad guys are on her list, too.
Morgan said…
A dancer and a writer? Colby is totally my type of person! And there's nothing better than a delicious villain...

Great post. Thanks for this, Carol. :D
Hannibal Lector is my all-time favorite bad guy, and Anthony Hopkins played him exactly as I imagined him when reading the book.
Loved the list and loved reading about Colby. Anyone who turns hobbies into jobs is my kind of person!
Anonymous said…
Although I do pay attention to the bad guys while reading a book, I have a tendency to forget who they are once the book is finished. Colby has given me something to ponder on a little.
Melissa said…
I enjoyed reading this post. Great list! :)
colbymarshall said…
Alex, I know what you mean. Hannibal is the definitive awesome bad guy.

Shelly, I'm so glad you enjoyed them!

Christine, I like to think of Hannibal as the villain all other villains aspire to.

Thanks, Linda!

L. Diane- it was tough to narrow it down to just a few.

L.G., I have often wondered if he secretly just hoped Harry would simply die in one of his lessons so it would save him the work, but I'd rather assume he's just a "nice" guy ;-)
colbymarshall said…
A worthy choice, Karen!

Julie, I think they would be rather dull and probably much shorter!

Nice to meet you, too, Stephen!

Right you are, Teresa. No conflict makes for a boring story.

A Beer for the Shower- I do love me some Dexter. What a fabulous show.
colbymarshall said…
Elizabeth, they really don't get enough credit, do they?

Thanks, Julie. There will just never quite be another Hannibal.

Johanna, I agree that the villains are typically such compelling characters. I love learning what makes them tick.

Robin, you're right! It takes a lot of chutzpah to be bad!

Gwen, I did entertain including Snape in the list. But somehow, I couldn't quite bring myself to it, just because he is so complicated. I do love his character, though. I love Voldy's sometimes laughable "super villain-ness." (And his awkward hugs in the final film rendition)

Linda, I definitely recommend all the ones on the list. The Kindness of Strangers isn't technically a mystery, but man, is the baddie bad.
Helena said…
The Trade sounds way too tempting to pass up. But I'm afraid I had to skim some of Colby's bad guy book recommendations because she makes me want to read them so I must avoid spoilers.

And of course, Carol, I've read Solomon's Compass and loved it.
colbymarshall said…
Thank you so much for having me, Carol!

Morgan, it's so nice to meet you, too!

Susan, I loved Anthony Hopkins in the role, too. It's not often a movie gets the casting THAT perfect.

cleemckenziebooks- I can definitely say I love what I do. Thanks for commenting :-)

speculationsimpressed- they are fun to analyze for sure.

7, 4, 3, 1. Those are the ones I'm familiar with and they were delicious! This was witty and fun to read, thanks! And you're right, we wouldn't have much to entertain us without the bad guys :)
Thank you. I have always had a weakness for a good bad guy, and it is nice to hear that it is a shared one. What ever evil is, it isn't dull.
Jo-Anne Meadows said…
There are some baddies we just can't help but love
Anonymous said…
Great villains for sure, and I guess them having their side of the story makes them that bit more approachable. Great post and congrats.
Shelley Munro said…
I totally agree with your number 1 choice. He gave me chills in that movie. Very creepy!
Jemi Fraser said…
Excellent choices! Good bad guys can be so much fun! I'd add Khan from Star Trek to my favourite bad guy list! :)
Caryn Caldwell said…
Ha! I love it! And you're right; a truly delicious villain makes a good book excellent.
Yes! Excellent list! Loved it!

colbymarshall said…
Helena- the good news about that list is, I think the bad guys in those particular books are all "pre-proclaimed" in the beginnings. I checked them just to make sure ;-) I hope you enjoy The Trade!

The Words Crafter- I hope you'll check out the others sometime!

Elephant's Child- You are definitely not alone in your fascination!

Jo Anne, though sometimes I'm ready to throttle them by the end. :-)
colbymarshall said…
Thank you very much, TF!

Shelley- he is the perfect villain. I would watch him in just about anything.

Jemi- a great choice for your bad guy list!

Caryn, no Hannibal delicious pun intended ;-)

Romance Book Haven- So glad you enjoyed it.
Lynda R Young said…
A great list of baddies! The best bad guys are the ones who look harmless at first, who could even pass as the good guy...until the truth is revealed. Shiver.
Mark Noce said…
Cool interview...and great choice of books too:)
Raquel Somatra said…
Oh my goodness. "Voldy". Reading the nickname Voldy had me falling over with laughter.
I love it when the bad guy is really the misunderstood bad guy. :)

Moldy Voldy. It has a nice ring to it.
Hannibal would be my #1 as well. Or maybe Hans Landa in Inglorious Basterds
michelle said…
Nobody tops Hannibal! *shudders*
He is nĂºmero uno! No question about that!
Writer In Transit
Carol Kilgore said…
Thanks to all of you for stopping by. And to Colby for a great post. I agree Hannibal Lecter is the baddest bad guy out there so far.
Val Poore said…
Great post, accurate list and an intriguing book! Thanks Colby and Carol!
Carol Kilgore said…
Appreciate your comment, Val :)