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.

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The Boy with the Porcelain Blade

Den Patrick


Ed Trewavas

Black Light

Patrick Melton Marcus Dunstan


Irvine Welsh

The Burden of the Desert

Justin Huggler


Niall Griffiths


Ari Bach

An Untamed State

Roxane Gay

Yonder Stands Your Orphan

Barry Hannah

So It Is

Liam Murray Bell

The Other Side of Silence

Andre Brink

The People's Act of Love

James Meek

Nineteen Eighty

David Peace

Made in Britain

Gavin James Bower

Street Boys

Lorenzo Carcaterra

Burma Boy

Biyi Bandele

Scaredy Cat

Mark Billingham

Monkey's Birthday

Simon Crump

The Devil All the Time

Donald Ray Pollock

Children of the Sun

Max Schaefer

Never, Never

David Gaffney

Season to Taste or How to Eat Your Husband

Natalie Young

Saturday's Child

Ray Banks


Nik Jones

The Book of Night Women

Marlon James

The Right Hand of the Sun

Anita Mason

Soul Circus

George Pelecanos

Let the Right One In

John Ajvide Lindqvist

All Our Names

Dinaw Mengestu

All Woman and Springtime

B W Jones

Into the Darkest Corner

Elizabeth Haynes

Human Love

Andrei Makine

Star of the North

D B John

Beneath the Darkening Sky

Majok Tulba

The Last Werewolf

Glen Duncan

Fifty Grand

Adrian McKinty

Call It Dog

Marli Roode

The Ritual

Adam Nevill

Debatable Space

Philip Palmer

What They Do in the Dark

Amanda Coe

The Devil's Garden

Edward Docx

The Poisoning Angel

Jean Teulé

Mister Pip

Lloyd Jones


Miha Mazzini

The Son

Philipp Meyer

Football Seasons

Mick Bower

An Andalucian Friend

Alexander Soderberg


Ian McDonald

Skylark Farm

Antonia Arslan

A Thread of Grace

Mary Doria Russell