Love Kills

Our February theme for our Wicked Wednesdays is Love Kills. So Wickeds have your ever rooted for a killer in a book, TV show, or movie? Try to avoid spoilers or at least have a spoiler alert warning!

Sherry: I love Kelley Armstrong’s Nadia Stafford books about a police officer turned hit woman. This is what her website says about them: Law enforcement is in Nadia Stafford’s blood. She comes from a long line of police officers, and was one herself until the wrong case sent her over the line from dedicated cop to vigilante killer. I wish Kelley would have written more of them!

Edith/Maddie: I can’t think of any, although now I want to check out those Armstrong books, Sherry. But I have written several short stories of murderous revenge from the point of view of the killer. She always believes herself justified, of course! Sometimes she gets away with it…and sometimes she doesn’t.

Liz: Right now I’m reading Billy Summers by Stephen King. Billy is a hitman but he only kills “bad guys.” I’m only halfway through the book but I am definitely rooting for him!

Barb: I recently interviewed S.A. Cosby for the Friends of the Key West Library. (You can listen to the interview here.) In Razorblade Tears, Cosby manages to get you to root for and have sympathy for a man who was previously convicted of manslaughter, and that only because the charge was plead down from murder. Lots of people get killed in this book, but I resist labeling the protagonists as “killers.”

Julie: Rooting for the killer is a tough thing, but I’ve definitely rooted for people to get away with it. Murder on the Orient Express is a great example of that. When someone does a good job of creating motive, and makes the victim particularly vile, it’s often tough to root for them getting caught.

Jessie: I always love the notion of comeuppance and so I would have thought that rooting for the killer would be a part of that. But, somehow I cannot think of any that I quite feel that way about. I would say that I often read books with killers for whom I feel a great deal of empathy or compassion. I find I often write villains that tug at my heart strings too!

Readers: Have you ever rooted for a killer in a book, TV show, or movie?

28 Thoughts

  1. When you see those disaster movies, the characters are generally doing stuff so stupid that it makes me root for the hurricane, tornado, comet or big giant snake.

    I’m sure there are movies where I’m rooting for the bad guy or “anti-hero” (The Punisher comes to mind, or Ben Affleck in The Accountant). But it all depends on the quality of the story.

      1. Dru, great minds thinking alike again! 😀

        Sherry, it doesn’t happen often, but every once in a while I make a good point.

  2. I can think of no better answer to this question than a quote I read recently by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He said, “There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”

  3. Dexter on Showtime back in the day with Michael C. Hall. My husband and I both liked his character and that he only killed bad people. He also worked for the police dept as a CSI.

  4. First thing that comes to mind is the TV show the Ozarks. Marty and Wendy Byrd have turned into really bad guys (for good reasons).

  5. The classic of this, for me, is The Jackal in Frederick Forsyth’s THE DAY OF THE JACKAL. The Jackal is an assassin hired to kill Charles de Gaulle. I know he can’t succeed, but he’s so good I always want him to at least escape.

  6. I enjoyed “A Very Private Gentleman” by Martin Booth. A gun for hire is trying to lead a quiet life of retirement when his past catches up to him. And while he’s not a killer, the tales of Arsene Lupin, Gentleman Thief are a lot of fun.

  7. Both Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes have let the killer go when the person who was killed is a far worse person than the killer who is someone who has been wronged.

  8. Dexter immediately came to mind. Followed by the Charles Bronson Death Wish series. There have been others, but they are not coming to mind.

  9. Ooh, I just thought of two more examples!

    Leon, the assassin in the movie The Professional. Just a bad guy killer but somehow you like him and want him to get through things because he takes in Natalie Portman when the even worse bad guys (Gary Oldman and his corrupt cops) kill her family.

    And I can’t believe I forgot to mention Omar from The Wire. He’s a bad guy no doubt but for reasons passing logical understanding, you like him.

  10. I do not believe that I have rooted for a killer in a book or movie. Thank you for sharing. God bless you.

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