- Tom Ripley from The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith. Tom will do anything to maintain his fraudulent life of luxury. He is an expert at forgery and deception, and he does not mind murdering anyone who threatens to reveal his true identity.
- The Jackal from The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth. The assassin known only as ‘The Jackal’ is hired to kill Charles de Gaulle, the President of France. He is a chameleon who plans his mission meticulously, evading capture, mercilessly killing anyone who stands in his way.
- Patrick Bateman from American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. Patrick is a stylish investment banker with the meanest of streaks. He tortures, kills and mutilates his way through the book. This detached killer never shows any emotion or remorse.
Tyler Durden from Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. Tyler, along with the narrator, is the founder of Fight Club. He launches Project Mayhem, commiting violent attacks on consumerism. He is magnetic, unhinged, lethal, and demands blind obedience from his followers. In a terrible twist, we find out that Tyler is really a projection of the narrator.
- Anton Chigurh from No Country For Old Men by Cormac McCarthy. Anton is a relentless, cold-blooded assassin who enjoys his job. He kills almost everyone he meets, occasionally allowing a coin toss to decide their fate. He is devoid of compassion and immune to pain. He is terrifying.
- Casanova from Kiss the Girls by James Patterson. Casanova is a serial killer who ‘collects’ beautiful, intelligent young women. He keeps them captive in an underground harem, where he rapes and eventually murders them.
- Alex DeLarge from A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. Alex is pure evil. When he isn’t killing, torturing, raping and destroying, he relaxes by fantasising about more violence.
- The Joker from Batman. The Joker is a vicious, calculating, psychopathic killer who is responsible for numerous tragedies in Batman’s life. He is a criminal mastermind with a warped sense of humour and zero empathy.
Hannibal Lecter from Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. Hannibal is a cultured, charming man – a psychiatrist who loves good books, music, wine and food. His favourite dish is human flesh.
The best thing about having a strong antagonist is that you have to create an equally strong protagonist to confront and defeat him.
Who is your favourite anti-social fictional character?
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