8 crime books riddled with revenge
Revenge… a dish best served cold? Or even better, served up within the pages of a book!
Revenge is a key motive for criminal activity and it’s just about everywhere – in books, tv and film. Why? Perhaps we can all relate to it on a primal level. After all, who hasn’t had the urge to get back at their boss for an unfair comment, or a lover for betraying them?
Most of us rise above it but for these literary villains, the impulse is just too great. Here are eight of our favourite crimes motivated by revenge…
8 Crime Books Riddled with Revenge
1. Disclaimer by Renée Knight
What if you picked up the book resting on your bedside table, began to read, then realised with a sickening lurch that you’re reading about yourself? This is the attention-grabbing premise of Disclaimer, where someone is using the medium of print to terrorise their victim with their darkest secret. But are they really a victim, or are they actually a suspect? Lines blur and wires cross in this gripping psychological thriller.
2. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
This notorious tale is an absolute classic. When a man is stabbed twelve times in his bed on board the Orient Express, Hercule Poirot is on hand to investigate. Using his little grey cells, Poirot manages to connect the killing to the kidnap of a young girl. The motive? Revenge! But who is the culprit, and how did they go unnoticed? And why do the clues point in so many different directions?
3. Bryant & May The Burning Man by Christopher Fowler
There are lots of complex plot lines in this novel, as we’ve come to expect from Christopher Fowler and his Peculiar Crimes Unit. Banking, technology start-ups, rioting in the financial district – all part of a grand scheme by a villain out for revenge. Will Bryant and May save the city in time? Completely brilliant and unputdownable.
4. The Mistress’s Revenge by Tamar Cohen
If you’ve not picked up a Tamar Cohen book before you’re in for a treat. The slow descent into madness from protagonist Sally is a spectacular thing to see, and the object and cause of her madness? Her lover of course! Dark, funny, disturbing and a fantastic read – what more could you want?!
5. Pop Goes the Weasel by MJ Arlidge
A man’s body is found in an empty house. His heart has been cut out and delivered to his wife and children. He is the first victim, and, sensing the fury behind the killing, DI Helen Grace knows he will not be the last. This second serial killer thriller from MJ Arlidge is bloody, gruesome and incredibly gripping and we can’t recommend it highly enough.
6. The Murder Bag by Tony Parsons
Twenty years ago seven rich, privileged students became friends at their exclusive private school. Now they have started dying in the most violent way imaginable. DC Max Wolfe must search for a motive lurking in the past to stop a killer hungry for revenge. Packed full of twits and turns, we just couldn’t stop turning the pages of this one.
7. Revenge by Martina Cole
Michael Flynn has risen through the ranks and has learnt that loyalty and crime pay. When his mentor, Patrick Costello, is killed, Michael is his natural successor. Seemingly untouchable, Michael rises to heights beyond anything the criminal underworld has seen – but then the unthinkable happens, and Michael realises he’s not as untouchable as he thought.
8. The Retribution by Val McDermid
The clue here is in the title. Any long-serving fictional detective is bound to come face to face with their arch-nemesis at some point. McDermid really knows how to crank up the terror in this tense, suspense-filled novel where Tony Hill comes up against the one serial killer who has shaped and defined his life: Jacko Vance.
And there we have it – eight of the most chilling, gripping crime stories riddled with revenge. How many have you read?