Contest Wrap-up

on December 15, 2005

On behalf of my fellow suspense authors, I want to thank everyone who entered our first contest and once again congratulate Amanda Lawrence for her win! (Yeah! Cheers! Applause!) We’ll be announcing our next contest in January, so stay tuned.

In case you didn’t follow the contest, the rules were simple. Email us your answer to this question: Who’s the scariest villain and why?

I loved Amanda’s answer:

The one in the current murder mystery I am reading. . . . Because at the time, ‘they’ are the one making the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and giving me cold chills!

This is so true! There are so many “great” villains out there, but the mark of the best villain–and a truly gifted writer–is to make you feel that the villain in their book at that time is the scariest you can possibly imagine. When you put the book down, you can’t imagine another villain as evil . . . until you pick up the next book and the author transports you to their world.

Several people said Hannibal Lechter was the scariest villain. I agree that he is definitely one of the best developed villain’s of all time. Liz Wolfe says it’s because he never showed remorse and was smart. This brings up a very good point about villains.

Villains naturally scare readers. But smart villains are particularly fearsome because they have the intelligence to thwart law enforcement, and will continue their murderous acts forever unless they are stopped. It takes a strong, smart and driven protagonist to defeat a smart villain.

That’s Hannibal. He would have kept on killing without remorse, taking pleasure in his evilness, until Will Graham stopped him. And even after he was in prison, he was frightening because we could see his brain working, plotting a way to get out of prison, playing mind games with Clarice, still without remorse for his past actions and still taking deep pleasure in the psychological torture of others.

More from our contest this weekend if I have time to wrap-up everyones comments . . . they were very good! . . . and apologies for posting late today. I took the three littlest Brennan’s to the mall to visit Santa. Talk about scary . . . three kids under five at the mall with one mom!