Who’s the worst fictional villain you can think of? As in, the one you hate the most, find the most evil, are happiest to see defeated? Not the cardboard, two-dimensional variety, but the most deliciously-written, most entertaining, best villain? Not necessarily the most “evil,” so much as the best-conceived on the part of the author…oh, you know what I mean!Oooh ... I really wish The Silence of the Lambs wasn’t still buried in my TBR box – Hannibal’d be a shoo-in!
Of the books that I have actually read, the first bad guy that springs to mind is Captain Jonathan Randall from Diana Gabaldon’s Cross Stitch. He really does make your skin crawl, all the more so because his twisted mind is hidden behind a charming and seemingly sane façade. I have got to get around to reading the rest of the series, in the hopes of seeing him meet a sticky and well-deserved end.
Other good villains (okay, it’s an oxymoron, but you know what I mean) that spring to mind are Gilbert Osmond from Portrait of a Lady and Sir Percival Glyde from The Woman in White. The former is a cold man who crushes Isobel and Pansy’s chances of happiness; while the latter will do almost anything to hide his usurpation of another’s inheritance.
And if you’re talking villains in the plural, Pale Moon Rider by Marsha Canham features a wonderfully evil triumvirate. Each despises the others, but can’t cut them loose because the others know where the bodies are buried - in one case, literally. And neither has any compunction about using the heroine and her little brother to further their schemes.
Next month I’ll dig into my TBR box and meet Hannibal....