by Jillian Brenner
What happens when “be gay, do crime” is taken too far?
We all know that Hollywood has a nasty history of queer coding villains (looking at you, Ursula and Scar). But there’s no subtlety here — the gays in these seven books are out, proud, and terrible. It’s the next step in LGBTQ+ representation: Let us be villains! Fun, mean, bold villains! Let us serve great lines and great looks while we con innocents and dabble in murder!
Whether you’re looking for true crime, graphic novels, thrillers, or magical realism, discover an iconic bad babe you’ll love to hate.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf
by Marlon James
Tracker is a skilled mercenary hellbent on working alone. But when he’s hired to find a missing child, he’s forced to join a ragtag group searching for the boy, including a shape-shifting man known as Leopard. Combining myth and African history, this ambitious, genre-defying adventure explores the fundamentals of truth and our animalistic craving for power.
Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me
by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O'Connell
When it comes to love, Sheryl Crow said it best: the first cut is the deepest. That’s certainly true for Freddy in this bestselling YA graphic novel. Laura Dean is so cool, and Freddy is so happy with her! (She is, she swears!) But Laura Dean keeps breaking up with Freddy, and the local town mystic is giving advice Freddy doesn’t like. Can Freddy keep her self-respect and Laura Dean? Blending teen angst and adult wisdom, Mariko Tamaki shows readers why your first love shouldn’t necessarily be your last.
The Talented Mr. Ripley
by Patricia Highsmith
If you’ve seen the sun-soaked film, you’re sure to love the original. It’s Italy in the summer of 1955, and Dickie and Marge are so in love and so fond of their new friend, Tom. Tom is great! Tom is funny and strange! Tom is increasingly obsessed with Dickie, and now Dickie has disappeared, and no one seems worried but Marge. Is Dickie really on vacation? Or is the talented Mr. Ripley hiding more than his shy grin suggests? (Huge shoutout to Patricia Highsmith for writing great gays since the 1950s, villains and lovers alike.)
by Sarah Waters
Think Oliver Twist, but gayer. Orphaned at birth, Sue Tinder is raised in the heart of London by the beloved Mrs. Sucksby — to be a thief. Escorted by Gentleman, an elegant con man, Sue enters Maud Lilly’s life as a maid. Tasked with helping him seduce Maud in hopes of stealing her fortune, she develops real feelings of her own for the heiress. Distraught, Sue is forced to choose between saving Maud or the only family she has ever known — and the twists don’t stop there. (This popular novel inspired the 2016 film The Handmaiden, a smash-hit critical darling from director Park Chan-wook.)
The Book Eaters
by Sunyi Dean
There are good moms, and there are bad moms. Then, there are good moms doing bad things — specifically, helping their cannibalistic children find human lunches. In a society hidden among our own where people survive on eating books, Devon’s son is born with a different appetite. Unique, fantastical, and sometimes disturbing, this adult fiction novel examines how parents can become villains for the sake of their children.
(SIGNED) Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York
by Elon Green
Ships in 3-4 business days
It’s 1992, and the piano player at the Townhouse Bar is belting songs along with the crowd; he barely notices the forgettable-looking man in the corner. He does not know that man will kill tonight, and it will be neither the first nor last time. The only nonfiction book on our list, Last Call tells the true story of the Last Call Killer and the vibrant gay community upon which he preyed. Although the sky-high death rates of the ‘80s and ‘90s and the blind eye of the police obscured these crimes for decades, Elon Green skillfully uncovers the chase to find a serial killer and the resilience of those he targeted.
Bath Haus: A Thriller
by P.J. Vernon
Oliver has the perfect life and the perfect relationship with Nathan, a handsome older surgeon. So why does he find himself at a bathhouse — and the victim of a terrible crime? Secrets beget secrets in this page-turning thriller from P.J. Vernon as Oliver learns that what happens in dark rooms rarely stays there. After all, when everyone is lying, who’s left to trust?
Now that’s what I call Complex LGBTQ+ Representation™. We hope you love these twisted reads, whether you’re rooting for the villains or against them.
Enjoy 30% off the books above until Sunday, May 21st, at midnight! And remember, at ShopQueer.co, we split our profits with the author, and the rest goes to our Rainbow Book Bus campaign — all with the mission of protecting and promoting queer literature across the country. <3