The Most Popular Book about Bad Guys: Ranking the Ultimate Page-Turner

Choose the book you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 11, 2024 06:52
Welcome to StrawPoll's showdown of the most thrilling tales of treachery and villainy! We're on a mission to uncover the ultimate book that delves into the dark side, showcasing the most sinister and captivating bad guys in literature. From cunning criminal masterminds to chillingly charismatic antiheroes, we've compiled a list of notorious novels that celebrate the wicked, the corrupt, and the downright despicable. But we need your help to crown the champion of this diabolical ranking! Cast your vote for your favorite book about bad guys or, if you're feeling particularly nefarious, suggest a missing title that deserves a spot in our hall of infamy. Unleash your inner villain and join us in this sinister quest to unveil the most popular book about bad guys!

What Is the Most Popular Book about Bad Guys?

  1. 1
    This classic novel about the Corleone crime family has become an iconic representation of organized crime in literature.
    The Godfather by Mario Puzo is a highly acclaimed novel that delves into the world of organized crime in America. It follows the Corleone family, led by the patriarch Vito Corleone, and his son Michael Corleone as they navigate the complex and dangerous world of the mafia. The story explores themes of loyalty, family, honor, and power, making it a captivating and suspenseful read.
    • Genre: Crime fiction
    • Publication Year: 1969
    • Setting: New York City, USA
    • Main Characters: Vito Corleone, Michael Corleone, Sonny Corleone, Tom Hagen, Kay Adams
    • Page Count: 448 pages
  2. 2
    This controversial novel follows the life of a wealthy and sadistic investment banker as he indulges in his violent and gruesome fantasies.
    American Psycho is a psychological thriller novel written by Bret Easton Ellis. Set in Manhattan during the late 1980s, the story follows the life of Patrick Bateman, a wealthy investment banker and serial killer. The novel explores the themes of consumerism, materialism, and the dark side of human nature.
    • Publication Date: 1991
    • Genre: Crime, Psychological Thriller
    • Setting: 1980s Manhattan
    • Protagonist: Patrick Bateman
    • Themes: Materialism, Narcissism, Moral Decay
  3. 3
    This psychological thriller features a manipulative and deceptive protagonist who frames her husband for murder.
    Gone Girl is a psychological thriller novel written by Gillian Flynn. The story revolves around the mysterious disappearance of Amy Dunne on her wedding anniversary. As her husband, Nick, becomes the prime suspect, the book takes readers on a twisted journey of secrets, lies, and manipulation.
    • Genre: Mystery, Thriller
    • Published Year: 2012
    • Pages: 432
    • Setting: North Carthage, Missouri
    • Point of View: Alternates between Amy and Nick Dunne
    "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn in other rankings
  4. 4
    This thriller introduces readers to the infamous cannibalistic serial killer, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, who aids a young FBI agent in her pursuit of another killer.
    The Silence of the Lambs is a psychological thriller novel written by Thomas Harris. It follows the story of Clarice Starling, an FBI trainee, as she interviews incarcerated cannibalistic serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter in order to gain insight into the mind of another serial killer, known as Buffalo Bill, who is on the loose. The novel explores the dark and twisted psychology of its characters and their unsettling interactions.
    • Genre: Psychological thriller
    • Publication Year: 1988
    • Setting: Various locations in the United States
    • Main Characters: Clarice Starling, Hannibal Lecter, Buffalo Bill
    • Themes: Psychopathy, cannibalism, identity
    "The Silence of the Lambs" by Thomas Harris in other rankings
  5. 5
    This novel follows the exploits of Tom Ripley, a charming and sociopathic con artist who becomes obsessed with a wealthy acquaintance.
    The Talented Mr. Ripley is a psychological thriller novel written by Patricia Highsmith. It was first published in 1955 and has since become one of the most popular books about bad guys. The story revolves around Tom Ripley, a charming and intelligent sociopath who becomes obsessed with the luxurious lifestyle of his acquaintance Dickie Greenleaf. Tom goes to extreme lengths to infiltrate Dickie's world and assumes his identity, leading to a series of deceitful and deadly actions. The novel delves into themes of identity, desire, obsession, and moral ambiguity.
    • Publication Year: 1955
    • Genre: Psychological Thriller
    • Protagonist: Tom Ripley
    • Setting: Various locations in Europe and the United States
    • Themes: Identity, Desire, Obsession, Moral Ambiguity
  6. 6
    This novel features an enigmatic and brutal hitman who is hired to track down a man who stole a large sum of money.
    No Country for Old Men is a gripping and intense thriller written by Cormac McCarthy. Set in the Texas-Mexico borderlands of the 1980s, the book follows the story of Llewelyn Moss, a hunter who stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong and takes off with a suitcase filled with cash. This sets off a chain of violent events as he becomes the target of a remorseless hitman named Anton Chigurh and a determined sheriff named Ed Tom Bell. As the hunters become the hunted, the novel delves into themes of fate, morality, and the evolving nature of violence.
    • Setting: Texas-Mexico borderlands, 1980s
    • Publication Year: 2005
    • Genre: Thriller, Crime Fiction
    • Main Characters: Llewelyn Moss, Anton Chigurh, Ed Tom Bell
    • Themes: Fate, Morality, Violence
  7. 7
    This non-fiction novel tells the story of the brutal murder of a family in rural Kansas and the subsequent capture and trial of the killers.
    In Cold Blood is a non-fiction book written by Truman Capote, first published in 1966. It is a true crime story that details the brutal murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas, in 1959. Capote conducted extensive interviews with the killers, Richard 'Dick' Hickock and Perry Smith, as well as with members of the community affected by the tragedy. The book is often considered one of the first examples of the true crime genre and is renowned for its atmospheric writing style and meticulous research.
    • Publication Year: 1966
    • Genre: True Crime
    • Setting: Holcomb, Kansas, USA
    • Main Characters: Richard 'Dick' Hickock, Perry Smith
    • Writing Style: Atmospheric, evocative
    "In Cold Blood" by Truman Capote in other rankings
  8. 8
    This novel features a complex and troubled hacker who teams up with a journalist to investigate a decades-old disappearance.
    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a bestselling crime thriller novel written by Stieg Larsson. The story follows Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist, and Lisbeth Salander, a computer hacker, as they investigate a decades-old disappearance and uncover a web of corruption, dark family secrets, and sinister crimes. Filled with suspense, complex characters, and intricate plot twists, the book delves into themes of violence, sexual assault, and misogyny, provoking both shock and critical acclaim.
    • Published Year: 2005
    • Genre: Crime fiction, Thriller
    • Number of Pages: 590
    • Original Language: Swedish
    • Setting: Stockholm, Sweden
  9. 9
    This novel features a charismatic and rebellious patient who clashes with the authoritarian Nurse Ratched in a mental institution.
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a renowned novel written by Ken Kesey. This book delves into the lives of patients residing in a mental institution, with an emphasis on the struggles and rebellion against a strict and oppressive ward nurse named Nurse Ratched. The story is narrated by Chief Bromden, a Native American patient. Through his eyes, we witness the arrival of a rebellious new patient named Randle McMurphy, who challenges the power dynamics within the institution.
    • Published Date: 1962
    • Genre: Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Novel
    • Setting: Mental institution, Oregon state hospital
    • Narrator: Chief Bromden
    • Main Character: Randle McMurphy
  10. 10
    "The Count of Monte Cristo" by Alexandre Dumas
    François-Louis Français · Public domain
    This classic adventure novel features a man who is wrongfully imprisoned and seeks revenge on those who betrayed him.
    The Count of Monte Cristo is a renowned historical adventure novel written by Alexandre Dumas. Originally published in 1844, it tells the story of Edmond Dantès, a young sailor who is falsely accused of treason and imprisoned on the island of Château d'If. After fourteen years in captivity, Dantès manages to escape, discovers a hidden treasure, and transforms himself into the enigmatic and wealthy Count of Monte Cristo, seeking vengeance against those who betrayed him.
    • Publication Date: 1844
    • Genre: Historical Fiction
    • Setting: France, Italy, and the Mediterranean
    • Length: Approximately 464 pages
    • Themes: Revenge, Justice, Fate, Love

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Ranking factors for popular book

  1. Sales and copies sold
    The number of copies sold is a good indicator of a book's popularity. Look for data on the total sales of the book or any records, like bestseller lists, that show how many people have purchased it.
  2. Reviews and Ratings
    Check user ratings on platforms like Goodreads and Amazon, which can provide insight into the book's quality and how much readers have enjoyed it. You should also look at both professional and user-written reviews to gauge the general opinion of the book.
  3. Cultural Impact
    How influential has the book been in popular culture? Consider if the book has been adapted into films, TV shows, or other media, as well as its impact on society, the genre, or the portrayal of villains.
  4. Awards and Recognition
    Has the book won any prestigious awards or received recognition from notable institutions? Awards can be a good indicator of the quality and popularity of a book, which can help when comparing it to others in the same category.
  5. Author's Reputation
    Consider the author's prominence and reputation. An established author or one who is well-known for their work in the genre is more likely to have written a popular and well-regarded book.
  6. Timelessness
    A book that remains popular and relevant over time is likely to be a good choice. Assess the longevity of the book's popularity and determine if it has continued to resonate with readers long after its release.
  7. Character Complexity
    The depth and complexity of the villain or antagonist can also factor into the popularity and appeal of a book.
  8. Readability
    A book that is well-written and easy to read usually gains more popularity. Consider factors like writing style, pacing, and the appeal of the plot when determining a book's popularity.
  9. Recommendations and Word of Mouth
    A popular book about bad guys will often be recommended by readers or featured on book lists and online forums. Research which books are frequently suggested when people ask for recommendations or search for booklists featuring top villains or bad guys.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular book about bad guys. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or book is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 177 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each book once every 24 hours. The rank of each book is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular book about bad guys

When it comes to literature, there's no doubt that the concept of "bad guys" has always been a fascinating and captivating subject for readers. From classic novels to modern-day bestsellers, the portrayal of villains has been a consistent theme that has drawn readers in with its intrigue and complexity. In recent years, the popularity of books featuring bad guys has continued to rise, with many authors exploring this theme in new and innovative ways. From psychological thrillers to superhero comics, the portrayal of villains has become a cornerstone of many modern works of fiction. So, what is the most popular book about bad guys? While there are countless contenders, some of the most beloved and iconic works include classics such as "Crime and Punishment" by Fyodor Dostoevsky, "The Silence of the Lambs" by Thomas Harris, and "American Psycho" by Bret Easton Ellis. These books offer readers a glimpse into the minds of some of the most notorious and complex villains in literature, leaving a lasting impression long after the final page has been turned. Whether you're a fan of classic literature or modern-day thrillers, there's no denying the allure of books featuring bad guys. So why not dive into one of these captivating works and see for yourself what all the fuss is about?

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