The main characters in my novels are good women fighting their way through bad situations, but women who are bad have always intrigued me. Here are a few of my favorites:
God’s War by Kameron Hurley.
A trained assassin who makes a few bucks on the side in the bounty-hunting business, Nyx lives in a future desert-world consumed by war. Her job is to find deserters and bring them to justice. She kills when she must, and sometimes because she wants to. I can’t imagine a situation where Nyx doesn’t overcome the odds to win, or come close. In fact, the novel is full of gritty gals who do what they need to do. Read this sci-fi gem for a woman’s perspective that will knock you on your ear.
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.
Mrs. Danvers glows as the faithful servant of the dead socialite Rebecca de Winter. When a new mistress arrives at the mansion, Mrs. Danvers promptly begins planning her death. I find Mrs. Danvers creative, devious, beautifully consistent, and she has a flair for the dramatic. Although somewhat old school, this novel is a wonderful study in mystery and intrigue.
East of Eden by John Steinbeck.
Scars and all, Cathy works her way up the brothel to become its owner. On the way, she mothers twin sons who exemplify good and evil. Cathy is admirably goal-driven. It does not bother her that she’s stepped on a few toes and doesn’t give a dime about her kids. Unfortunately, her beauty fades as she ages. The image of her dressed in black, sitting in her room with hands so badly distorted from arthritis that she can barely pick up her teacup, will stick with me forever.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.
While we could debate whether Lisbeth is bad for steeping her own brew of justice, she has no trouble doing bad things to bad people. She is so friggin’ focused that I loved her at first sight. I’ve found this first novel to be the best of the trilogy, and it’s also a good one to reread, for smart, capable, independent girls like Lisbeth never grow old.
Perhaps we’ll visit more “bad girls” in future posts, but until then,who are your favorites?
A retired engineer, Ursula Wong writes about strong women. Her award-winning debut novel, Purple Trees, and her second novel, Amber Wolf, portray women struggling against impossible odds to claim the lives they deserve.