Bad guy main characters versus good guy main characters



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  1. #1
    Mr. Darcy
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    Default Bad guy main characters versus good guy main characters

    I typically enjoy stories with a "good guy" main character. But every once in a while, I enjoy a first-person narrative told from the point of view of a bad guy. Like A Clockwork Orange, for example. However, there has to be something likable about the "bad guy" main character for me to keep reading.

    My question is: In your opinion, what novels have the best "bad guy" main characters? And what makes them so likable?
    Author of THE DEVICE 'Captivating!' 4 Stars

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  3. #2
    Tom Sawyer kenny097's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bad guy main characters versus good guy main characters

    One that I read was called Ice Cracker II. The main characters were wanted people. It's a good one.
    I am me in a more literal sense.

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  4. #3
    Mowgli
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    Default Re: Bad guy main characters versus good guy main characters

    I like the change of pace, but don't want the character to be beyond redemption or the whole book at the deep end of noir. Read London Boulevard a few weeks ago and am still trying to shrug off the darkness.
    Have characters, must write.

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  6. #4
    Tom Sawyer mscott998t's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bad guy main characters versus good guy main characters

    I just read a great book with a bad girl main character. It was called Generation Loss by Elizabeth Hand. The main character was a photographer who took photos of the NYC punk scene in the 80's. She's a very hard-core person with a severe addiction problem. It was a gritty book - not for everyone - but I was enthralled. Elizabeth Hand made Maine look as creepy as Stephen King does.
    Straight to **** (Book one in the Lilith Straight series) The moment Lilith Straight dies, the Devil appears to claim her soul and cash in on a longtime family curse. Now, Lilith has no choice but to work for him. The job is bad, the boss is worse, and she can’t imagine how she’ll explain her new reincarnation to her eight-year-old daughter. But then an arrogant, yet oh so yummy, incubus shows up…and **** heats up just a little more.

  7. #5
    Tiny Tim
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    Default Re: Bad guy main characters versus good guy main characters

    I find that writing alternating POVs that include my bad guys in the rotation help to give real depth to my villains. Also, it's a good way to add dramatic tension when the reader can see the villain's plans, but the main characters can't.
    The Righteous: suspense/thriller - murder in a polygamist enclave, only $0.99.
    The Devil's Deep: A paralyzed man tries to solve his own attempted murder.

  8. #6
    Mowgli
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    Default Re: Bad guy main characters versus good guy main characters

    I'm a big fan of Richard Stark's (aka Donald Westlake) Parker series. He's a professional criminal. The thing that makes him palatable is that he has a code. He's all about the job and not about hurting people unduly.

    The best good/bad guy book for me is Scott Smith's A SIMPLE PLAN. The thing that keeps you reading about a protagonist who doing worse and worse things is that he is very human. He's no different from any one of us. He's only crossed the line because a situation fell in his lap where he could make some fast money and he went for it--with terrible consequences. It's something that could happen to any of us.
    Simon Wood
    Author of Paying the Piper, We All Fall Down, Working Stiffs, The Scrubs, Road Rash, Asking for Trouble & Terminated available for the Nook & from Smashwords
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  9. #7
    Tiny Tim
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    Default Re: Bad guy main characters versus good guy main characters

    What was the Tom Hanks movie where he played a mob enforcer? The character was nasty, but Hanks is such an inherently likeable person that it was easy to feel sympathy for him.
    The Righteous: suspense/thriller - murder in a polygamist enclave, only $0.99.
    The Devil's Deep: A paralyzed man tries to solve his own attempted murder.

  10. #8
    Mowgli
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    Default Re: Bad guy main characters versus good guy main characters

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Wallace
    What was the Tom Hanks movie where he played a mob enforcer? The character was nasty, but Hanks is such an inherently likeable person that it was easy to feel sympathy for him.
    Don't know, but I'd like to see it. Is it an old movie?
    Simon Wood
    Author of Paying the Piper, We All Fall Down, Working Stiffs, The Scrubs, Road Rash, Asking for Trouble & Terminated available for the Nook & from Smashwords
    Learn more at http://www.simonwood.net

  11. #9
    Tiny Tim
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    Default Re: Bad guy main characters versus good guy main characters

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Wood
    Don't know, but I'd like to see it. Is it an old movie?
    The Road to Perdition. It's about ten years old. A good movie, albeit depressing in parts. I always think of Hanks as a light, comedic actor with some great serious parts as well, but some of those serious parts are seriously dark.
    The Righteous: suspense/thriller - murder in a polygamist enclave, only $0.99.
    The Devil's Deep: A paralyzed man tries to solve his own attempted murder.

  12. #10
    Tom Sawyer mscott998t's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bad guy main characters versus good guy main characters

    He's only crossed the line because a situation fell in his lap where he could make some fast money and he went for it--with terrible consequences.
    I like to read about that, too. You keep rooting for the main character, hoping he/she will make the right move, but it doesn't happen. You are right about that happening in "A Simple Plan". (I liked the book better than the movie in that case.)
    Straight to **** (Book one in the Lilith Straight series) The moment Lilith Straight dies, the Devil appears to claim her soul and cash in on a longtime family curse. Now, Lilith has no choice but to work for him. The job is bad, the boss is worse, and she can’t imagine how she’ll explain her new reincarnation to her eight-year-old daughter. But then an arrogant, yet oh so yummy, incubus shows up…and **** heats up just a little more.

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