Friday, March 24, 2023

Eight of the best bad seed novels

Nathan Oates’s debut collection of short stories, The Empty House, won the Spokane Prize. His stories have appeared in The Missouri Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Copper Nickel, West Branch, The Best American Mystery Stories, and elsewhere. He is an associate professor at Seton Hall University, where he teaches creative writing. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his family.

Oates’s new novel is A Flaw in the Design.

At CrimesReads he tagged eight novels featuring "bad seeds and the threat they pose to their families, their communities, and, in some cases, the world." One entry on the list:
The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith

No list of bad seeds could ever leave out Tom Ripley, one of the most iconic figures in twentieth century fiction. This is my favorite of Highsmith’s novels, though she wrote many very good ones. That she manages to make me sympathize with a character who is a psychopath is something I studied and want to try to emulate. In some ways I think of the dangerous nephew in my own novel as a hybrid of Tom and his love-object/first victim, Dickie Greenleaf. A dangerous, devious boy, but also one, in my version, who is fabulously rich and entitled. Many of Highsmith’s narrators teeter on the edge of evil, and part of the pleasure of her books is watching them slip fully into their true, often terrible, selves.
Read about another title on the list.

The Talented Mr Ripley is on Lizzy Barber's list of seven titles about wealthy people behaving badly, Charlotte Northedge's top ten list of novels about toxic friendships, Elizabeth Macneal's list of five books that explore the dark side of fitting in, Saul A. Lelchuk's nine great thrillers featuring alter egos, Emma Stonex's list of seven top mystery novels set by the sea, Russ Thomas's top ten list of queer protagonists in crime fictionPaul Vidich's list of five of the most enduring imposters in crime fiction & espionage, Lisa Levy's list of eight of the most toxic friendships in crime fiction, Elizabeth Macneal's list of five sympathetic fictional psychopaths, Laurence Scott's list of seven top books about doppelgangers, J.S. Monroe's list of seven suspenseful literary thrillers, Simon Lelic's top ten list of false identities in fiction, Jeff Somers's list of fifty novels that changed novels, Olivia Sudjic's list of eight favorite books about love and obsession, Roz Chast's six favorite books list, Nicholas Searle's top five list of favorite deceivers in fiction, Chris Ewan's list of the ten top chases in literature, Meave Gallagher's top twenty list of gripping page-turners every twentysomething woman should read, Sophia Bennett's top ten list of books set in the Mediterranean, Emma Straub's top ten list of holidays in fiction, E. Lockhart's list of favorite suspense novels, Sally O'Reilly's top ten list of novels inspired by Shakespeare, Walter Kirn's top six list of books on deception, Stephen May's top ten list of impostors in fiction, Simon Mason's top ten list of chilling fictional crimes, Melissa Albert's list of eight books to change a villain, Koren Zailckas's list of eleven of literature's more evil characters, Alex Berenson's five best list of books about Americans abroad John Mullan's list of ten of the best examples of rowing in literature, Tana French's top ten maverick mysteries list, the Guardian's list of the 50 best summer reads ever, the Telegraph's ultimate reading list, and Francesca Simon's top ten list of antiheroes.

--Marshal Zeringue