You know that feeling you get when you sit at the table to eat a meal, but it’s not in your usual chair? Or the momentary confusion you have to shake off if you wake up after sleeping on the other side of the bed? That temporary shock to the senses is at once unsettling and thrilling—it’s a sense of delicious disorientation until things come back into focus and feel, well, normal, again.
That change of perspective makes you notice things. It makes you notice the cobweb in the corner of the dining room you thought spotless or the way the light dances on the wall in the bedroom you considered dull. It reminds you that there is more than one way to look at something.
That feeling we get from changing our physical perspective is just as thrilling when perspective is challenged in the books we read. These five stories shake up our perspective by presenting the story from the point-of-view of an unexpected storyteller: the bad guy. They remind us (not gently, we should warn) that motivations are complicated; that things are not always black and white … that if you change your sightline even just a little, a dull room can look bright and a tidy one, full of dust.
Hangman by Jack Heath
Timothy Blake is an FBI aide instrumental in helping solve brutal, difficult crimes. He comes with a very particular set of qualifications: Blake himself is a genius, a sociopath and a murderer. When he is called in to assist on a kidnapping, he seems to have met his match as the case becomes more and more complicated and Blake’s desire for compensation becomes more desperate.
Normal by Graeme Cameron
Don’t let the tidy garden, sense of humor and nice house fool you—the perfectly fine-looking man at the grocery store is shopping for food to feed to the women he captures and cages in his basement. It’s what he’s always done and he’s good at it—and the way he tells it, he believes it’s perfectly normal. He might even begin to have you believing it as well.
Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
Dexter Morgan is a handsome, polite blood-spatter expert, working diligently to solve heinous crimes and take the worst of the worst off of the streets of Miami. And if the police can’t do it, he’ll give them a hand. How else can a serial killer indulge his pathological needs while remaining a good citizen?
Martin John by Anakana Schofield
Martin John lives his life according to a very important set of rules and restrictions. He must walk certain routes, ferret out certain letters in all of the newspapers, watch certain shows and make certain calls at certain times. If he doesn’t it will happen again. He knows this. His mother knows this. But the women around him—on the bus, in the subway station, at the store—they don’t know it.
American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis
This is the OG tale of mayhem from the bad guy’s POV; a biting look at society and our obsessions with wealth, status, power and powerlessness—as seen through the eyes of a cold-blooded murderer.
Are you ready to change your perspective? Let us know what you think in the comments!