Get great books by email

Every two weeks our editorial team sends across a short selection of their favourite books and shelves – some eclectic suggestions to whet your literary appetite.

Fresh email

Bad to the bone. Rotten to the core.

 
 
Off to a bad start
 
Every good book needs a baddie. A force to be reckoned with. Someone hell-bent on incorrigible, murderous malevolence. Someone so evil that they’re impossible to hate 100%. In the real world we want good to prevail, but in fiction we can safely root for those causing chaos.
 
 
 
 
 
Dashing yet devious
 
We all love dear Sherlock, but would he be the star without his arch-nemesis, Moriarty? This criminal mastermind is every bit as clever as Holmes himself, described as “the greatest schemer of all time, the organiser of every devilry, the controlling brain of the underworld”. Frankly, it would be a disservice to just merely brush him off as a standard villain — and damn, do we love an intelligent man.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mother knows best
 
In Neil Gaiman’s “Coraline”, the Other Mother impersonates children’s mothers to lure them into her world, sews buttons over the eyes, kills them, consumes their souls, and then waits for her next victim to arrive. What’s scariest is that fact that we don’t know her motive. How do you stop someone’s reign of terror when you don’t know their weak point?
 
 
 
 
 
 
For better or for worse
 
As with any dystopian young adult novel, there’s always that one dictator ruining the fun for everyone. In “Divergent”, Jeanine Matthews has her reasons for wielding control and eliminating those who don’t obey — she wants her people to survive. Her twisted logic leads to groups of people being killed and experimented on, however we can’t help but wonder — what if she’d succeeded?
 
 
Crime watch
 
 
Crime watch
 
A chill down your spine. A cold lonely night. But bad things happen without all these cliched warnings, and the true crime novels in this shelf are testament to that. A scorned daughter, a serial killer, a murderer never found — sometimes real life is stranger than fiction.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Two sides of the same coin
 
Ah-hah! The classic bad boy/nice guy combo that we all know (sound like a certain ex-?) When it comes to mad and bad, R.L. Stevenson does it best with “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. What makes him (them?) so interesting is the duality of human nature and the murky divides between good and bad — as in life. So was Jekyll repressing his true self through Hyde, or was he slowly transformed by the evils around him?
 
 
 
 
 
 
Up to no good
 
The best kind of villain is the kind that you can’t see, know nothing about, and don’t know how much damage they can inflict. Like the strange woman that keeps appearing in the background of Claire and Timothy’s holiday snaps. Who is she? Is it just a coincidence? “The Octopus Nest” is the ultimate creepy page turner. You won’t know the villain until the end, but hey — that’s the fun of it, right?