If We Were Villains

M.L. Rio

fiction contemporary mystery
dark mysterious medium-paced

368 pages | first published 2017

On the day Oliver Marks is released from jail, the man who put him there is waiting at the door. Detective Colborne wants to know the truth, and after ten years, Oliver is finally ready to tell it.

A decade ago: Oliver is one of seven young Shakespearean actors at Dellecher Classical Conservatory, a place of keen ambition and fierce competition. In this secluded world of firelight and leather-bound books, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingénue, extras.

But in their fourth and final year, good-natured rivalries turn ugly, and on opening night real violence invades the students’ world of make-believe. In the morning, the fourth-years find themselves facing their very own tragedy, and their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, each other, and themselves that they are innocent.

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dark 91%
mysterious 83%
emotional 59%
tense 57%
sad 32%
reflective 19%
challenging 14%
adventurous 9%
funny 3%
inspiring 3%
hopeful 1%
informative 1%
lighthearted 0%


medium 64%
fast 18%
slow 17%

Plot- or character-driven?

A mix: 47% | Character: 44% | Plot: 8%

Strong character development?

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

Loveable characters?

It's complicated: 42% | Yes: 39% | No: 17% | N/A: 0%

Diverse cast of characters?

No: 58% | Yes: 20% | It's complicated: 17% | N/A: 4%

Flaws of characters a main focus?

Yes: 91% | It's complicated: 5% | No: 2% | N/A: 0%

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