Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Ten top fugitive stories that master survival and suspense

Lou Berney is the author of November Road and three previous novels, Gutshot Straight, Whiplash River, and multiple prize-winning The Long and Faraway Gone. At CrimeReads he tagged ten top stories about characters on the run, including:
No Country For Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy
(The Dreadful Predator)

In a novel about characters on the run, the antagonist often assumes an outsized importance. If the predator doesn’t create dread, if the prey’s escape seems a foregone conclusion or even a decent possibility, the dramatic conflict falls apart.

For me there’s no predator who creates more dread—no one I’d least want to meet in my nightmares—than Anton Chigurh in No Country For Old Men.

What makes Chigurh so memorably scary? Part of it, I think, is what he represents. He’s not just a very bad dude, the way McCarthy shapes him, but also an implacable force of nature, ill-willed fate itself, metaphysical doom.

Plus, he is a very bad dude. A very competent bad dude, which is maybe his most frightening quality. One of my favorite beats is when Chigurh shoots the unnamed big-wig in his high-rise office. Chigurh uses a shotgun shell loaded with shot “the size collectors use to take bird specimens” because he doesn’t want to shatter the window and raise suspicion.
Read about the other entries on the list.

No Country For Old Men is among Chris Ewan's top ten chases in literature, Mark Watson's ten top hotel novels, Matt Kraus's top six famous books with extremely faithful film adaptations, Allegra Frazier's five favorite fictional gold diggers, Kimberly Turner's ten most disturbing sociopaths in literature, and Elmore Leonard's ten favorite books.

--Marshal Zeringue