Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Top 10 queer protagonists in crime fiction

Russ Thomas grew up in the 80s reading anything he could get his hands on, writing stories, watching television, and playing videogames: in short, anything that avoided the Great Outdoors. After a few ‘proper’ jobs, he discovered the joys of bookselling, where he could talk to people about books all day. Now a full-time writer, he also teaches creative writing classes and mentors new authors.

Thomas's new novel is Nighthawking.

At CrimeReads he tagged his "top ten list of the most memorable queer protagonists of crime fiction." One title on the list:
Tom Ripley

Patricia Highsmith’s eponymous anti-hero first appeared in The Talented Mr Ripley (1955). As protagonists go they don’t come much more disreputable than Ripley. He’s a conman, a thief, and eventually a serial killer. But despite his morally dubious persona, he is at least the star of the show. Ripley’s sexuality, in the novels at least, is understated: the sex scenes go no further than the suggestive lighting of a cigarette, or a lingering gaze over a cocktail. He explicitly states that he isn’t homosexual, but his obsession with Dickie Greenleaf, and his tendency towards unreliable narration more than suggest otherwise. He’s far from sympathetic, yet Highsmith manages an incredible feat—to have you rooting for him anyway. He’s nothing if not memorable.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Talented Mr Ripley is on Paul Vidich's list of five of the most enduring imposters in crime fiction & espionage, Lisa Levy's list of eight of the most toxic friendships in crime fiction, Elizabeth Macneal's list of five sympathetic fictional psychopaths, Laurence Scott's list of seven top books about doppelgangers, J.S. Monroe's list of seven suspenseful literary thrillers, Simon Lelic's top ten list of false identities in fiction, Jeff Somers's list of fifty novels that changed novels, Olivia Sudjic's list of eight favorite books about love and obsession, Roz Chast's six favorite books list, Nicholas Searle's top five list of favorite deceivers in fiction, Chris Ewan's list of the ten top chases in literature, Meave Gallagher's top twenty list of gripping page-turners every twentysomething woman should read, Sophia Bennett's top ten list of books set in the Mediterranean, Emma Straub's top ten list of holidays in fiction, E. Lockhart's list of favorite suspense novels, Sally O'Reilly's top ten list of novels inspired by Shakespeare, Walter Kirn's top six list of books on deception, Stephen May's top ten list of impostors in fiction, Simon Mason's top ten list of chilling fictional crimes, Melissa Albert's list of eight books to change a villain, Koren Zailckas's list of eleven of literature's more evil characters, Alex Berenson's five best list of books about Americans abroad John Mullan's list of ten of the best examples of rowing in literature, Tana French's top ten maverick mysteries list, the Guardian's list of the 50 best summer reads ever, the Telegraph's ultimate reading list, and Francesca Simon's top ten list of antiheroes.

--Marshal Zeringue