Sun
Dec 2 2012 2:00pm

Criminal Heroes from Cole, Kane, Stuart and More!

We know why Leia fell for the anti-hero!Everyone loves a good hero, but what about the bad hero? The anti-hero? The criminal hero? A hero who not only walks the dark side, but enjoys the journey. According to Wikipedia, an anti-hero is a “protagonist who is lacking the traditional heroic attitudes and qualities, and instead possesses character traits that are antithetical to heroism.” The anti-hero is drawn to power and insatiable greed. They are the materialistic, power hungry, tyrannical side of our natures; the side that wants to possess everything it desires, without limit, and control everything it needs. Usually a no-holds-barred alpha, this anti-hero makes no excuses for his behavior. He doesn't care what you think of him. He’ll steal, kill, and terrorize; it’s all in a days work for him. They are always motivated by a lower, primordial nature. Money, power, sex....the list is endless.

In the beginning, we despise this person. We don't want our heroine to be attracted to him. We don't want to be attracted to them. We are united in our mutual hate. They go against everything we have ever been taught about what a “real hero” should be. They are atypical. They disregard the black and white rules in which romance is based upon. Yet, an attraction forms, eliciting both lust and disgust as we find ourselves beginning to trust and eventually fall in love with our anti-hero. They embrace both the good and evil dualities to expose us to something we can all relate to; the ambiguities of life. With these characters, we love to hate them and hate to love them.

Naked in Death by J. D. RobbMy first ever criminal hero love was Han Solo from the movie Star Wars. A handsome albeit greedy capitalistic man pig who would sell his own mother for a buck and helps Princess Leia because she’s a princess. Other criminal heroes who have stolen my heart include Rhett Butler, Jay Gatsby, Michael Corleone, Robin Hood, Batman, and Captain Jack Sparrow. Regardless of their past crimes and/or intentions, by the time the book or film was over, they each possessed a portion of my heart and soul.

J.D. Robb’s In Death series is based upon a former criminal turned businessman. Roarke is considered the epitome of beauty with the face of an angel, a body made for sin, and searing blue eyes. Born in the slums of Dublin, he spent his younger years involved in thefts, cons, and murder. He meets his soon to be wife, Lieutenant Eve Dallas, when he is considered a murder suspect in book #1, Naked In Death. From the minute they meet, Roarke finds himself wanting more then money and power; he wants Eve. Though Roarke turns over a new leaf once he and Eve are married, Eve respects his talents and every so often uses his dubious skills to help her fight crime.

Black Ice by Anne Stuart has a scary criminal hero in her Bastien. Bastien is a  ruthless covert agent whose humanity is questionable. He will lie, cheat, steal, and kill to achieve his objective. He's a violent sociopath who is smart enough to know while he is considered one of the good guys, he hasn't actually been one for a very long time. He meets his possible chance at redemption only to continue with his anti-heroic ways. At the end of the book, we are left with no real answers...only a faint hope that he may be able to continue his relationship with the heroine.

Kresley Cole’s Lothaire is and always will be, the ultimate all around anti-hero to me. Thousands of years old and more than slightly insane, Lothaire, the Lore’s most vicious vampire, is the monster that is used to scare kiddies into bed and most adults into hiding. Tortured for centuries, his madness has him on a quest to bring his supposed bride back to life by sacrificing a human. He’s pure evil. He lies, cheats, steals, tortures, abuses, and kills for what he wants. It’s only after he meets a young human woman he has spent years terrifying and torturing does he realize that maybe, just maybe, he has made a mistake in his quest for vengeance.

Scandalous Desires by Elizabeth HoytOne of the most delish criminal heroes is Charming Mickey O’Connor from Elizabeth Hoyt’s Scandalous Desires. Mickey is the most ruthless river pirate in London. Devastatingly handsome and fearsomely intelligent, he clawed his way up through London's criminal underworld. He lies and steals with no conscience. Mickey has no use for tender emotions like compassion and love, and he sees people as pawns to be exploited. It’s only when he attempts to manipulate a young woman who has custody of his child does he begin to realize that true love cannot be bribed, manipulated, or stolen.

Of course, no criminal hero list would be complete without a mention of the ‘heros’ from Stacia Kane’s Downside series, Terrible and Lex. Terrible is the enforcer for a drug dealing pimp. Muscular, ugly, and filled with combustible violence, Terrible will tear the skin from your bones if you cross him. Lex is a rival drug lord’s son who, while very handsome, is just as dangerous as Terrible. More so, in my opinion, because of how easy going and beautiful he is. With Terrible you know what you get. With Lex, you are never quite sure when he will demand payment for his services. It’s very easy to underestimate both men. It’s only when they meet the heroine do their actions begin to take on a more intimate and contrary nature as they both strive to be the only man in her life.

So tell me: What criminal hero has you contemplating a life of crime?

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10 comments
pamelia
1. pamelia
I must second the nominations for Bastien and Lothaire. My favorite though is Kristen Ashley's Knight. *sigh*
pamelia
2. Torifl
Pamelia-Knight is a GREAT anti hero. lol Most of Ashley's heroes are.
Robbie Thornton
3. Button
I have so many. Sigh. I'm incredibly attracted (apparently) to semipsychotic, ruthless, antisocial madmen. The madder the better. So much so that it has almost became a requirement if I'm going to like a book (particularly a P/R book).

My first psycho crush was Zarek from Sherillyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter series. The whole series, by and large, feature tortured heroes. Simply the nature of becoming a Dark Hunter gaurantees a less than pleasant life "before turning". So most of them are antiheroes in a way. But Zarek, ahhh Zarek, he took the crazy lunatic thing and turned it into an art form. Consequently, in my twisted world, he was sexy on a stick.

Terrible. Yep, unforgettable. The cool thing about Stacia Kane's books is that even the heroine is really an antiheroine, but you love Chess all the same.

Those have to be my top two, but there are more. So many more.
Carmen Pinzon
4. bungluna
Would Dane from Lord of Scoundrels count? I remember the first time I read that book and how much I loved the big lug.
Darlene Marshall
5. darlenemarshall
I must say, the first antihero who made me fall for him was Lord Stefanos from Michelle Sagara's The Sundered Series (Into the Dark Lands). Stefanos is the evil entity who lives off of the blood sacrifices offered him as The Servant of the Dark Lord. His army captures Erin, a healer, a servant of the Light and things start to get interesting.

It's a classic tale of Good vs. Evil, Light vs. Darkness, and Sagara handles it well, building the relationship between Erin and Stefanos in a realistic and interesting fashion. I liked it a lot.
pamelia
6. Torifl
Button-Zarek is sooooo anti hero. lol

Bungluna-I don't think I've read that one though it sounds familiar.

DarleneMarshall-I LOVE Sagara but have not read that series as of yet.
Lege Artis
8. LegeArtis
My new psycho crush is Christian MacKeltar- he is so f*cked up! And sexy at the same time... KMM said abut him in one of the recent Q&A:
“There is no point in going bad, unless it's all the way bad, not a little”
And Barrons and Ryodan aren't exactly heroic,too- KMM just likes to write them bad.
Bastien-nom nom.
Michelle Palmer
9. ChelleP
@LegeArtis... I am crushing on Christian too...and Ryodan. But, Barrons will also be at the top. I'm still wishing I had ICYD in MY cell phone!

Terrible and Knight are some bad, bad, yummo too.

Also....Dimitri from Archangel's Blade fits...and maybe Wraith from Larisaa Ione? Not sure which book that was, but he was my favorite character.
pamelia
10. AnnieC
Daemon for Ann Bishop's Black Jewels trilogy and Matthew Milton (although not really that bad, but still a gang leader & theif) in Delilah Marvelle's Forever A Lady
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