Literature's Ten Most Disturbing Sociopaths

How many times have you imagined smashing someone's windshield with a tire iron after they cut you off in traffic? Or stabbing your boss with a sharp pencil when he denies you that raise yet again? Or conning your way into a carefree life of luxury? We all have dark urges—at least I hope it's not just me or this is going to be one seriously awkward article—but very few of us act on them, which might be why we love reading about people who do. Many sociopaths are charming, witty, and intelligent. They're also free of the guilt, emotional consequences, and moral dilemmas that plague the rest of us. We wouldn't want to know them, date them, or work with them (though, statistically, we probably do), but it's fun to read about them from a safe distance. As writers, creating sociopathic characters is satisfying because they simply don't have to play by the same rules as everyone else. They do what they want, when they want, without remorse.

Before we take a look at ten unforgettable, morally devoid characters from literature, let's get straight on what makes a sociopath. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders calls the condition "Antisocial Personality Disorder" and describes it as "a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others" that involves failure to conform to social norms, deception, impulsiveness, aggressiveness, reckless disregard for safety, and a lack of remorse, as "indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another"—in other words, a distinct lack of a conscience and a series of characteristics that make for some of the best villains the page has ever known. Let's count 'em down...


10. Becky Sharp — Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray

Skills: Bilingual (French and English), lovely singing voice, talented pianist and actress, witty and charming—you'd be tempted to cast her in a Broadway rendition of Les Mis.

Dirty deeds: Becky is what the hip-hop crowd would refer to as a natural-born hustler. An orphan whose goal is to increase her social standing, regardless of what it takes, Becky seduces other women's men, steals from creditors, pulls a variety of financial cons, helps her husband cheat other men at cards, and quite possibly murders someone for the insurance money. She's unable to bond or show true affection to anyone, even her own son (who she neglects and bullies) and husband (who she leaves in detainment so that she can sleep with another man to further herself socially). All of this without an iota of guilt. In some circles, Becky is considered a feminist icon, but ladies, if this is what you aspire to, please take me off your mailing list immediately.

Quote: Lady Jane describes Becky as "a wicked woman—a heartless mother, a false wife ... She never came into a family but she strove to bring misery with her and to weaken the most sacred affections with her wicked flattery and falsehoods ... her soul is black with vanity, worldliness, and all sorts of crime. I tremble when I touch her. I keep my children out of her sight."

Buy Vanity Fair from Amazon.com

 

9. Anton Chigurh — No Country For Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

Skills: Inescapable, relentless, and damn near indestructible. Able to withstand broken bones and other injuries that would bring down a normal guy. Enjoys and is good at his job, so that's, um, nice.

Dirty deeds: This cold-blooded assassin with "eyes like wet stones" digs killing people (mostly by smashing holes in their skulls with a captive bolt gun) so much that he has been known to take out the people who hire him. Chigurh ruthlessly exacts revenge on the world at large, taking lives with absolutely no remorse and sometimes determining whether or not to murder someone based on a coin toss.

Quote: "When I came into your life, your life was over."

Buy No Country for Old Men (Vintage International) from Amazon.com

 

8. Tom Ripley — The Ripliad series by Patricia Highsmith

Skills: Hobbies include forgery, gardening, painting, traveling, boating, art, impersonations, and creative methods of murder (bashing with boat oars, ashtrays, etc.).

Dirty deeds: If Becky Sharp from Vanity Fair had a Match.com profile, she'd probably get paired up with Tom Ripley. Then one of them would kill the other before the third date. C'est la vie. Like Becky, Tom is an orphan who has his eye on the prize: a life among society's elite. Not content to be a NYC con artist, Tom finds a rich dude, murders him with a boat oar, and takes over his life. Over the course of five novels, Tom—described by Highsmith as "suave, agreeable, and utterly amoral"—lives the high life using dead dude's cash and callously murders anybody who starts to suspect he's a fraud.

Quote: "The fact that I killed this man—It's not going to change my life."

Buy The Talented Mr. Ripley from Amazon.com

 

7. Hannibal Lecter — Red Dragon and others by Thomas Harris

Skills: Licensed psychiatrist, extreme charmer, Epicurean, bibliophile, music lover, foodie—if you didn't know about the cannibalism and serial killing, you'd be tempted to invite him to your next dinner party. Just don't serve Chianti.

Dirty deeds: Yet ANOTHER orphan (note to writers: not all sociopaths need to be orphans), Lecter watched his sister get cannibalized when he was eight. Apparently that does bad things to a person's head. He kills every man who played a part in his sister's death—so far, it's a vigilante story not too far removed from The Crow or Batman—but he doesn't stop there. He goes on to become a prolific serial killer and blood-thirsty cannibal, later escaping from prison by cutting off a guard's face and using it as a mask. Presumably, that's easier and more subtle than stealing a guard's hat and keeping your head down.

Quote: "I collect church collapses, recreationally. Did you see the recent one in Sicily? Marvelous! The facade fell on sixty-five grandmothers at a special mass. Was that evil? If so, who did it? If he's up there, he just loves it, Officer Starling. Typhoid and swans - it all comes from the same place."

Buy Red Dragon (Hannibal Lecter) from Amazon.com

 

6. Frank — The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

Skills: He's Scottish, so probably has a cute accent... aside from that, not a lot of redeeming qualities.

Dirty deeds: We meet Frank at the age of 16 but find out that he's already been busy, killing three kids before the age of ten but explaining that "it was just a stage I was going through." (Oh, kids! You're so crazy!) He fashions a contraption that forces wasps to choose the method of their demise (Burning? Drowning in urine? Being chopped up? Eaten by a spider? So many options!) and ritualistically kills larger animals to put their heads on "sacrifice poles" around the island where he lives. Still, his father and brother make him look like a picture of sanity. Don't read spoilers for this book, btw.

Quote: "Of course I was out killing things. How the hell am I supposed to get heads and bodies for the Poles and the Bunker if I don't kill things? There just aren't enough natural deaths. You can't explain that sort of thing to people, though."

Buy The Wasp Factory: A Novel from Amazon.com

 

5. Iago — Othello by William Shakespeare

Skills: Accomplished liar, master manipulator, Machiavellian schemer—you know, the sorts of things you'd look for when hiring a lawyer, not an advisor.

Dirty deeds: Othello's "honest" and trusted advisor, Iago might have even been a contender for employee of the month until he was passed up for a promotion; then all hell broke loose. He plots to take down Cassio (who took his promotion), convinces his boss that his wife is cheating, and plans to use deception to destroy Othello without detection. That's all before he murders his ally and convinces Othello to kill his own wife. One Shakespeare scholar said, "evil has nowhere else been portrayed with such mastery as in the evil character of Iago." That's a bold statement given the range of Shakespeare's villains.

Quote: "The Moor is of a free and open nature, That thinks men honest that but seem to be so, And will as tenderly be led by the nose, As asses are."

Buy Othello from Amazon.com

 

4. Cathy Ames (aka Kate Amesbury) — East of Eden by John Steinbeck

Skills: Specialist in depraved sexual desires and good at mimicking actual emotions, so she'd do great in the porn industry

Dirty deeds: Finally, a sociopath on our list with loving, dutiful parents... until she kills them by burning down the house while they're in it. Cathy believes everyone to be as evil as she is; thank god she's wrong. As a young woman, she drives one of her teachers to suicide, seduces a married man, and frames two young boys for rape. She spends her life manipulating men for her benefit (going so far as to sleep with her husband-to-be's brother on her wedding day), eventually marrying a man who she shoots after unsuccessfully trying to abort his twins with a knitting needle. When asked if she'd meant to kill her husband, she snipes, "If I'd wanted to kill him, he'd be dead. Just ask my parents." She bails on her family, changes her name to Kate Amesbury, and goes to work at a brothel where she befriends the madame to get into the woman's will then slowly poisons her to death. She turns the brothel into a den of depravity that focuses on the darkest sexual desires and keeps blackmail material on her clients. When one of her sons finds out that his mother is, in fact, not dead but running some kind of goth-y center for sexual freakiness, he kills himself. Cathy/Kate is unmoved.

Quote: “I believe there are monsters born in the world to human parents ... And just as there are physical monsters, can there not be mental or psychic monsters born? The face and body may be perfect, but if a twisted gene or a malformed egg can produce physical monsters, may not the same process produce a malformed soul?"

Buy East of Eden (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics) from Amazon.com

 

3. Alex — A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Skills: Strong leadership qualities and a knack for bizarre slang

Dirty deeds: Alex and his droogs' antics were so hardcore, referring to them as violent wasn't enough. Their nights of ultra-violence included assault, rape, stomping homeless people, robbing stores, vicious beatings, and worse. When he finished drugging and raping 10-year-olds or murdering old women, Alex spent evenings chilling in his apartment, fantasizing about more violence while relaxing with some classical music. Even jail wasn't enough to reform him. He beat an obnoxious cell mate to death and was, therefore, selected to take part in an experimental technique designed to turn him away from the dark side. The whole thing is just a real horrorshow.

Quote: “They don't go into what is the cause of goodness, so why of the other shop? If lewdies are good that's because they like it, and I wouldn't ever interfere with their pleasures, and so of the other shop. And I was patronizing the other shop ... I am serious with you, brothers, over this. But what I do I do because I like to do.”

Buy A Clockwork Orange from Amazon.com

 

2. Kevin — We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

Skills: Archery, hatefulness—he'd be great at the Hunger Games but is horrible at life

Dirty deeds: Described as “a shell game in which all three cups were empty” with “an apathy so absolute that it's like a hole you might fall in,” Kevin was cold and contemptuous when he came out of the womb. His most potent venom is reserved for his mother, who has another child just to be able to connect with another family member (if you're on the fence about having kids, read this book first), but Kevin's asshole tendencies don't stop with his mom. He convinces a girl to gouge her own eczema-affected skin, kills his sister's pet hamster, and is suspected of destroying his sibling's eye with drain cleaner. Despite all these shenanigans, his father decides that archery would be a great hobby for the young psychopath. We don't want to spoil a good book for you, but it's not too much of a jump to say that things end badly. Very badly. For a lot of people.

Quote: "...You can only subject people to anguish who have a conscience. You can only punish people who have hopes to frustrate or attachments to sever; who worry what you think of them. You can really only punish people who are already a little bit good.”

Buy We Need to Talk About Kevin tie-in: A Novel from Amazon.com

 

1. Patrick Bateman — American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

Skills: A successful investment banker and stylish dresser with an extensive knowledge of eighties music and an eye for interior design—a real mover and shaker

Dirty deeds: In between comparing business cards and drinking cocktails with other investment bankers, Patrick busies himself with senseless murders and stomach-turning torture sessions. After killing a colleague, he loses control of his violent urges and moves on to necrophilia, cannibalism (making meatloaf of a girl is frustrating!), mutilation, and horrific murders involving chainsaws, nail guns, and rats (holy shit, the rats). Bateman's charm, complete detachment, and lack of emotion or remorse make him the most disturbing sociopath on our list. There are things here that can't be un-read.

Quote: “...there is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me, only an entity, something illusory, and though I can hide my cold gaze and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable: I simply am not there ... Is evil something you are? Or is it something you do? My pain is constant and sharp and I do not hope for a better world for anyone. In fact, I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no one to escape.”

Buy American Psycho (Vintage Contemporaries) from Amazon.com


Which of these literary sociopaths gets under your skin the most? And who did we miss? Tell us in the comments.

Image of The Sociopath Next Door
Author: Martha Stout
Price: $9.02
Publisher: Harmony (2006)
Binding: Paperback, 256 pages
Image of The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry
Author: Jon Ronson
Price: $9.23
Publisher: Riverhead Trade (2012)
Binding: Paperback, 288 pages
Image of Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight
Author: M.E. Thomas
Price: $14.50
Publisher: Crown (2013)
Binding: Hardcover, 320 pages
Kimberly Turner

Column by Kimberly Turner

Kimberly Turner is an internet entrepreneur, DJ, editor, beekeeper, linguist, traveler, and writer. This either makes her exceptionally well-rounded or slightly crazy; it’s hard to say which. She spent a decade as a journalist and magazine editor in Australia and the U.S. and is now working (very, very slowly) on her first novel. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing and an M.A. in Applied Linguistics and lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, two cats, ten fish, and roughly 60,000 bees.

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Comments

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Acceptance June 7, 2013 - 4:07pm

Hell yeah, Bateman.

Erik Nowak's picture
Erik Nowak June 7, 2013 - 4:09pm

As far as Cormac McCarthy characters go, you'd put Chigurh on the list over the Judge from Blood Meridian? That dude was practiclly inhuman. A fantastic and brutally frightening character.

Joshua Chaplinsky's picture
Joshua Chaplinsky from New York is reading The Bone Clocks June 7, 2013 - 4:11pm

Good call on the Judge. And glad to see Frank from The Wasp Factory on the list. Great kid.

Daniel Fletcher Ingram's picture
Daniel Fletcher... June 7, 2013 - 4:19pm

I'm glad to see Cathy Ames made the list. To me, she was always one of literature's most classically disturbed female characters. Not only do her intent and purpose focus her atrocities, but at times, the spiraling of her actions caused so much chaos that it was equally as destructive. Besides these literary greats, I'd offer up Jared from Vein Fire. Not only does he like to see if little girls can fly when tossed from high places, but he partakes in fireboming, puppy killing, poisoning, and all around general creepiness. I also agree about the Judge from Blood Meridian being brutal, and Cormac's most nightmare inducing character so far. Great list though and very interesting. All of these books are worthy reads.

Becki Macary's picture
Becki Macary June 7, 2013 - 4:24pm

I've read and/or saw 8 of these. And when I saw the title of the article, I was hoping you'd say Bateman was #1. I read that book when I was 19 and it has been under my skin ever since (15 years later!) The movie doesn't even begin to touch on how insane he is. Great article!

Zoe Ripley's picture
Zoe Ripley June 7, 2013 - 4:35pm

You forgot Annie Wilkes in Stephen King's Misery.  As if buring someone's manuscript isn't horrifying enough, holding the writer hostage, crippling him, cutting off his appendages and withholding medication should help.  Not to mention that she kept a scrapbook of all of her victims.  Even though the movie differed from the book, Kathy Bates portrayed Annie so well I still cringe when I see her in other movies!

Raelyn's picture
Raelyn from California is reading The Liars' Club June 7, 2013 - 4:36pm

I think Ramsay Bolton deserves a place on this list. Maybe I'm a bit squeamish, but reading Theon's chapters in A Dance with Dragons was difficult. I don't remember cringing so much from a book. 

Paul Kunath's picture
Paul Kunath June 7, 2013 - 4:46pm

I would like to add our Darkly Dreaming Dexter.

DaveShepherd's picture
DaveShepherd from the Rocky Mountains is reading Cipher June 7, 2013 - 5:01pm

Not sure if Jeoffery Baratheon is technically a sociopath, but he's got to be damn close. 

Grace Borjas Tomlinson's picture
Grace Borjas To... from Lubbock, TX is reading Halfkinds Volume 1: Contact by Andrew Vu June 7, 2013 - 5:15pm

Mersault- The Stranger by Albert Camus came to mind for me.

SammyB's picture
SammyB from Las Vegas is reading terribly written student essays June 7, 2013 - 5:31pm

Iago is one of my favorites. I'm teaching Othello, next year, to my juniors. Hopefully they will appreciate his wickedness. I want to teach East of Eden as well, but it looks like Grapes of Wrath is what I'll have to teach instead. This is a great list. Haven't read a few of the books, but am adding them to my list now.

Brent Elle Smith's picture
Brent Elle Smith from Los Angeles is reading The Wild Boys June 7, 2013 - 5:42pm

Dr. Benway from Naked Lunch

Kimber's picture
Kimber from Atlanta is reading N0S4A2 by Joe Hill June 7, 2013 - 6:02pm

@Erik, Josh & Daniel: The Judge was on the list, then taken off, then put back on a few times. Ultimately, I went with Chigurh because something about having so little regard for life that you're willing to flip a coin to determine whether or not to murder someone just got under my skin, but you're right that the Judge would've been just as (or possibly more?) appropriate.

@Grace Meursault was on the short-list too. He got bumped but is certainly worth a mention here. "I didn't feel much remorse for what I'd done...I had never been able to truly feel remorse for anything"

Lots of other good suggestions on this list too. Keep 'em coming. I need more reading material.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading The Wasp Factory by Ian Banks June 8, 2013 - 2:30am

love.

KenEspn's picture
KenEspn from Blacksburg, VA is reading Searching for the Sound: My Life With the Grateful Dead by Phil Lesh June 8, 2013 - 4:26pm

Jack from Lord Of The Flies.....or was it Ralph? Who ever was the bad seed. :)

Great article though....

Lou's picture
Lou from AMERIKUH is reading Trainspotting June 9, 2013 - 5:42am

I'd put Alex at the #1 spot because I found that I still liked him even after all the ultra-violent things he did. He was so charming that he had even me convinced that he was a victim even when that was obviously not the case. I think that makes him a better sociopath than someone like Bateman, who just comes off as creepy. Alex is scary because he's still a protagonist that readers want to root for even after they've seen him rape and bludgeon and all that. I don't think anyone's ever on Bateman's side for a second. But maybe it's just me, and no one else likes him. Maybe I just find Malcolm McDowell endearing or something.

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts June 9, 2013 - 10:07am

A bunch of stuff to add to the to-read pile. I'm very much interested in checking out the Ripley books, for the Noir history itself, but especially after just seeing the Anthony Minghella movie, which I adored, though according to internet trivia is not as faithful to the original text as some would have liked.

I might have expected some Jim Thompson character to make it on a  list like this.

Chacron's picture
Chacron from England, South Coast is reading Treasure Island June 18, 2013 - 7:45pm

It's unlike me to think of a western, but Joey from Larry McMurtrey's Streets of Laredo is one of the coldest characters I've come across. 

M Ister Wyman's picture
M Ister Wyman June 9, 2013 - 11:56pm

How about Nicola Six? Any Amis fans out there?

 

eastacy's picture
eastacy June 10, 2013 - 1:13pm

For another McCarthy character, how about Lester Ballard from A Child of God.  Extremely disturbing.

eastacy's picture
eastacy June 10, 2013 - 1:21pm

Nicola Six?  Seems to me Keith Talent is the true psychopath of London Fields.

Jonathan Wiener's picture
Jonathan Wiener June 10, 2013 - 7:44pm

Heloise de Villefort in The Count of Monte Cristo.

Jeff's picture
Jeff from Florida is reading Big Book of Pulps June 10, 2013 - 9:51pm

Auric Goldfinger.

Tracey Neal Tidwell-Smith's picture
Tracey Neal Tid... June 11, 2013 - 7:44am

Great list! But where's Annie Wikles from Misery or George Harvey from The Lovely Bones?

Michael Ehling's picture
Michael Ehling June 11, 2013 - 8:19am

Raskolnikov? Heathcliff?

Banz's picture
Banz from Brisbane is reading Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman June 11, 2013 - 9:39pm

A very intersting list, which includes a couple I've not read but have added to the pile.

I'd like to throw into the discussion Jean-Baptiste Grenouille from Perfume and Raymond Lemorne from The Vanishing.  For my money the deeds of Lemorne in The Vanishing are every bit as chilling as those on the list (that I've read) and it's a book that really stays with you long after the last page.

I considered adding Pinkie from Brighton Rock and Steerpike from the Gormenghast trilogy but on consideration don't feel they quite make the grade.

Joel Cashier's picture
Joel Cashier June 12, 2013 - 6:33am

Wolf Larsen from Jack London's the Sea Wolf, Comte de Lautréamont's Maldoror, Popeye from Faulkner's Sanctuary, Robert Colwan from Hogg's Confessions of a Justified Sinner, Francie from McCabe's The Butcher Boy, Mr. Hilditch from Trevor's Felicia's Journey, Rhoda from William March's The Bad Seed, The Misfit from "A Good Man is hard to find" by Flannery O'Connor, Merricat from Shirley Jackson's, We have always lived in a Castle, Lancelot Lamar from Walker Percy's Lancelot, The Preacher from Davis Grubb's Night of the Hunter, George Smith from Ted Sturgeon's Some of Your Blood, and many more. This list is too small. Kevin should not have been included as it is a derivative and unoriginal novel. This list seems to be comprised with only books that have been made into popular recent films.

zoobot's picture
zoobot June 13, 2013 - 2:54pm

IAGO will always be #1 for me. Julian King in Iris Murdoch's A Fairly Honourable Defeat is a great one as well. And, while it is not a work of fiction, the machinations of The Trial of Gilles De Rais reveals a disregard for human life that is unparalleled. As a historical figure, Bataille suggests he inspired the Bluebeard myth, except his favourite prey was not his wives, but peasant children. Regarding Kevin, he reminded me of the son in Doris Lessing's The Fifth Child, although in that novel, it is not entirely clear that the son indeed is a sociopath. Jason Compson from The Sound and the Fury starts off pretty awful, but he becomes slightly less repugnant as his narrative unfolds. 

Billdave's picture
Billdave June 14, 2013 - 3:24pm

Francy Brady, The Butcher Boy

Ben Branham's picture
Ben Branham June 18, 2013 - 8:37am

Alex Delarge would have his way with Patrick Batmen. American Psycho is a great novel but I think it's way beneath the radar when it comes to Alex's ultra-violence.  Bateman doesn't rape, sodomise, nor does he comit acts of pedofile, debauchery etc. etc.  Your list is okay but you missed the mark by not putting A Clock Work Orange as number 1.

Orpheus's picture
Orpheus from Maryland is reading the curious incident of the dog in the night-time June 20, 2013 - 10:48am

Great list.  I have added The Wasp Factory to my future reading shelf.  I wonder how that one slipped past me?

 

I would add Aaron Stampler from the trilogy of Primal Fear, Show of Evil and Reign in Hell by William Diehl.  Primal Fear gripped me in such anxiety the first time I read it that I had to finish it in one sitting for fear of where my mind would take me while contemplating what the next few pages would reveal.

 

While American Psycho is my favorite book on the list (No Country for Old Men is a close second) I am not sure Patrick Bateman should be included.  If you read closely it appears that Bateman is an unreliable narrator who is only committing acts of atrocity in his own mind.  Rather than being the alpha male of his group of friends he is actually the outcast and the most pitiable member. He overcompensates by fantasizing his larger-than-life, alternate personality.

X-ray Rayos-x's picture
X-ray Rayos-x July 1, 2013 - 8:01pm

Los Dioses y el terrorismo
Los sociopatas se creen dioses.
Lo que no admiten, es la responsabilidad de la extrema derecha en la aparición del terrorismo y eso se llama complicidad.

Hacen creer a otros gobierno que la única forma de acumular riquezas, lucro y poder; es con practicas de control de la población de los seres humanos, Genocidio, Guerras, sitios a ciudades, Exclusión por la fuerza de territorios y sus recursos asociados. Aborto obligatorio, Infanticidio, Eugenesia.

Llegando a su máxima genialidad de control poblacional con el negocio de la salud.
Reclutando a todo tipo de sociopatas,sicopatas, etc. para darles infraestructura, información, educación (medicos), todo para maximizar las ganancias.
Si tienes dinero buena suerte si no lo tienes mala suerte.

Si la mayoría de los indigenas han sido exterminados, entonces en tiempo de crisis, a quienes les aplican la política de control poblacional??????????????

Sacrificio ritual illuminati vía MK Ultra

Frank Chapel's picture
Frank Chapel from California is reading Arrest Us Entries July 1, 2013 - 8:44pm

I'm actually on the fence about whether or not Bateman is a true sociopath, or just a neurotic psychopath. The fact that he feels nothing for those he kills doesnt really make him sociopathic. It seems more like he sees them as something removed from himself, and is acting out to alleviate this "pain" he's referenced. That sounds much more psychotic, the kind of psychotic that Carl Panzram was. A destructive force bent on some sort of twisted idea of revenge. 

But i've only ever seen the movie...so.

 

The one's that really stand out as sociopaths are: Kevin, Tom Ripley, Iago, and Chigurh. (i'm unfamiliar with the female sociopaths)

tshwgal's picture
tshwgal from Hong Kong July 2, 2013 - 4:57pm

I'm also surprised that no character from a Jim Thompson novel made the list. Lou Ford from The Killer Inside Me is perhaps the number one candidate, though Thompson has a few contenders.

Wacky Taya Whovian's picture
Wacky Taya Whovian January 25, 2014 - 4:21pm

I'n glad I'm not the only person who got wigged out by the book Amiercan Psycho and I totally agree Patrick Bateman should be number one. The author has a creative way of killing someone in a book but damn I didn't think it would be that graphic and I love horror films and violent video games so I'm "use" to seeing and playing stuff like that but reading it is a whole different matter, well at least I think so. After some of the torture scenes I couldn't really eat after it, did this happen to anyone else? I love that Hannibal Lecter made the list because how can you not have our favorite cannibal doctor on the list?

epimoments's picture
epimoments January 27, 2014 - 6:44pm

kurtz from Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness - the model for apocylpse now. bur I agree about the judge from blood merridian too...

Jenny Lee's picture
Jenny Lee February 16, 2014 - 8:16pm

Where is Sherlock Holmes?

Matt Bonville's picture
Matt Bonville August 21, 2014 - 3:01am

NO Norman Bates HUH??? Or How about " JIGSAW "???