If We Were Villains

M.L. Rio

fiction contemporary mystery
dark mysterious medium-paced

368 pages | first published 2017

Oliver Marks has just served ten years in jail - for a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he's released, he's greeted by the man who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened a decade ago.

As one of seven young actors studying Shakespeare at an elite arts college, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingenue, extra. But when the casting changes, and the secondary characters usurp the stars, the plays spill dangerously over into life, and one of them is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless.

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dark 93%
mysterious 82%
tense 59%
emotional 58%
sad 32%
reflective 17%
challenging 11%
adventurous 9%
funny 4%
inspiring 3%
informative 2%
hopeful 1%
lighthearted 0%


medium 64%
fast 18%
slow 16%

Strong character development?

Yes: 49% | It's complicated: 33% | No: 16% | N/A: 0%

Loveable characters?

It's complicated: 43% | Yes: 38% | No: 17% | N/A: 0%

Diverse cast of characters?

No: 58% | Yes: 20% | It's complicated: 17% | N/A: 3%

Flaws of characters centre-stage?

Yes: 92% | It's complicated: 4% | No: 2% | N/A: 0%

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