Violent books from slapstick to depravity

Violence is at the core in this collection of books – there’s everything from the savage and cruel to the slapstick and knockabout. A quick look at the covers reveal images of the starkly real and the disturbingly unreal. There are worlds inhabited by demons and monsters – and others by human beings at the height of their depravity. Violence delivers power and passion – the sheer energy sucking readers into the vortex. It can be drenched in blood or viciously bloodless. And which is more terrifying, violent actions – murder, bodily harm, imprisonment - or violent words – coercion, gaslighting, subordination. Some books really push the boundaries as violence and sex collide in both consensual and non-consensual acts.  Or violence and humour push the reader to places where they laugh aloud – in spite of their better selves. So many dark places to visit and dangerous people to meet, it may be shocking but it’s irresistible.

Search for books by Mood & Emotion

Scaredy Cat

Mark Billingham

When the Time Comes

Josef Winkler


Cynthia Bond

Debatable Space

Philip Palmer

Death in Breslau

Marek Krajewski

Seven Tales of Sex and Death

Patricia Duncker

The Lovers of Algeria

Anouar Benmalek

Then She Was Born

Cristiano Gentili

The Book of Night Women

Marlon James

East of Hounslow

Khurrum Rahman


Ed Trewavas

Sing, Unburied, Sing

Jesmyn Ward

Mister Pip

Lloyd Jones


George Pelecanos

Shifting Colours

Fiona Sussman


Helen McCabe


Barney Campbell

Young God

Katherine Faw Morris

Red Claw

Philip Palmer

American Psycho

Bret Easton Ellis

Black Light

Patrick Melton Marcus Dunstan

The Poisoning Angel

Jean Teulé


Paul McAuley

Let the Right One In

John Ajvide Lindqvist

The Lovers

Alice Ferney

Burma Boy

Biyi Bandele

Human Love

Andrei Makine

The Terror of Living

Urban Waite

All Woman and Springtime

B W Jones

The Possessions of Doctor Forrest

Richard T Kelly


Ian Holding

My Absolute Darling

Gabriel Tallent

The Right Madness

James Crumley

Kind One

Laird Hunt

The Madman of Freedom Square

Hassan Blasim

Skylark Farm

Antonia Arslan

The Blind Rider

Juan Goytisolo


Ari Bach

An Andalucian Friend

Alexander Soderberg

Soul Circus

George Pelecanos

The Plaza

Guillermo Paxton

The Sluts

Dennis Cooper

The Last Werewolf

Glen Duncan

Star of the North

D B John

The Boy with the Porcelain Blade

Den Patrick

Mr Shivers

Robert Jackson Bennett

Beneath the Darkening Sky

Majok Tulba

The Devil All the Time

Donald Ray Pollock


Niall Griffiths


Iain Banks