Okay, I started to read this book a couple of years ago and stopped after the first sentence: I sent one boy to the gaschamber at Huntsville. I know stuff like that shouldn't bother me, but it does. What stuff? Well, Texas doesn't have a gas chamber (or gaschamber) and never has. Here in the Lone Star State, we send 'em into the Great Beyond via lethal injection, and before that it was Old Sparky that did the job. So that sentence stopped me cold.
Oh, yeah. The "gaschamber" bothered me, too. It's part of McCarthy's celebrated style, in which men have a "shirtpocket" or drive a "Ramcharger." But they use a "cut-off" shotgun in a "shoot-out." Or they might fix a shotgun so that it has a "pistol grip." So I'm wondering: Why not a "pistolgrip" or a "shootout?"
McCarthy doesn't like quotation marks or apostrophes, either, or he must not because he doesn't use them. He'll use a comma now and then, but you can tell it hurts him to do it. Why? Is it that he wants to write like Willam Faulkner, that he's too lazy to type them, or that he just wants to irritate me?
Anyway, I told myself that I was going to read the book, and I did. The story is set in 1980, and it's about a guy who finds a lot of money after a drug deal goes bad and everyone dies. He takes the money. A guy named Anton Chigurh comes after him. Chigurh is relentless, and he kills anybody he feels like killing. Now and then he'll flip a coin and let a potential victim call "heads" or "tails," but that's as close to mercy as he comes. So there's a lot of killing and a lot of explosions, perfect for a movie (I haven't seen the movie).
Oddly enough, the major confrontation that you think the story is building toward takes place offstage. (Or should that be "off stage"? I'm getting confused.) A deputy describes what happened in a couple of paragraphs. Either McCarthy never heard about "show, don't tell," or he has contempt for something so elementary.
There's a county sheriff who has some first person narration now and then. He is, I suppose, the book's moral center. He figures that the world is going to hell in a hand basket (or handbasket), and he's sorry for the change that's coming over his part of it.
The truth is, I think there are a lot of crime writers who have told similar stories and done it just as well if not better. But what do I know?