Truly terrifying: Peter James scoops award for Scariest Villain

Bestselling crime writer Peter James has scooped the Dr Lecter Award for Scariest Villain in the inaugural Dead Good Reader Awards.  The awards, given out on Friday 17th July at the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate, were voted on by readers and members of Penguin Random House’s crime community Dead Good Books.

The awards were presented by Mark Lawson and authors Lee Child and Val McDermid, and Peter commented: “Like so many of us I’ve always had a sneaking admiration for some of literature’s greatest villains.  Lady Macbeth, Count Dracula and Hannibal Lecter being among them.  


I think it is the ones with whom we feel some kind of empathy or identification that actually scare us the most.  And even more so the ones that are the true chamelions.  Seemingly respectable members of their communities, the decent friendly person who would feed their next-door-neighbour’s cat.  


I love writing villains, many of them inspired by actual real-life offenders.   Dr Edward Crisp in You Are Dead is one of my absolute favourite creations, a monster who even went to my old school (thinly veiled in the novel!), so I could not be more delighted to have won this award.”


Peter won the Scariest Villain award for the murder in his latest Roy Grace novel, You Are Dead (Macmillan) – Dr Edward Crisp.  Crisp is a terrifying, callous serial killer who terrorises Brighton and many have dubbed him Peter James’ most evil villain yet.

Peter saw of some serious competition for the prize with a shortlist made of many heavy-weight names: The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes (Harper); Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes (Myriad); An Evil Mind by Chris Carter (Simon and Schuster); The Stand by Stephen King (Hodder); You are Dead by Peter James (Macmillan); and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (Quercus).

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