Albert of Adelaide is my new cross genre novel featuring a platypus named Albert, a pyromaniac wombat, a couple of drunken bandicoots (curious about Albert's private parts), wild dingoes, a back shooting possum, a road agent raccoon from San Francisco, numerous armed kangaroos and a wrestling Tasmanian devil. I've been told that it reads like a ménage a trios that involved Watership Down, True Grit, and Mad Max. There is nothing not to love about sentimental animal books - The Art of Racing in the Rain, A Dog's Purpose, The Adventures of Beatrix Potter, etc. - but animals aren't always so adorable in life or in literature. Albert began 20 years ago as a bedtime story for a then-girlfriend's daughter. In 2009, I picked it back up and by then it had morphed from a children's fable into something darker and much more adult. Not many books with animal protagonists delve into such things as racial tension, megalomania, arson, shootouts, gambling, and drinking... plenty of drinking. Originally, a story about an alcoholic platypus heading to the desert to sober up, it soon became a story about the search for "Old Australia" that may or may not actually exist, a mythical land of liberty, hope and peace. But the animals Albert encounters along the way have more in common with humans - with all the savagery that comes with it - than we may feel comfortable with. Sometimes it takes an animal to teach us just how primal we can be.
Stories of animals behaving badly is not a new trend in literature and I am not the first author to venture into this territory. Here are 9 other not-so-cute animal books: