Stone Cold

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Robert Swindells presents the character of Shelter in many different ways in the novel ‘Stone Cold’. Swindells gives Shelter-a psychopathic, ex-military, mass murderer-a deadly personality that’s extremely terrifying but also curiously intriguing at the same time.

In Stone Cold, the Daily Routine Orders is where we get special glimpses of events through Shelter’s eyes. Shelter speaks and thinks in a peculiar way- like a well educated, normal person. But what he says throughout the book shows the utter craziness behind the carefully crafted façade that lures ‘garbage’ to their deaths. “Shelter. Yes. I like it. It’s got a ring to it as I’m sure you’ll agree” from the first entry shows nothing of abnormality. The way he says it probably sounds even, serene and peaceful. “Well-get fell in, my lucky lads. I’m ready for you” from the same entry shows the growing craziness in Shelter’s mind, his tone as frightening as a predator’s. As the novel progresses, the craziness gradually grows with it. “They’re all part of a plot, see? There’s a plot-it’s been hatching a long time now-……” from the later entries shows his hysterical state of mind while he’s plotting his plan as his tone grew more and more agitated. “They look so sweet, the two of them side by side, that I keep going down for another look. I must be getting soft” from entry 7; Shelter says it like he might be cooing over a baby, so sickly sweet that it’s revolting to even process how he could’ve ever done this unfathomable action.

When Shelter’s out ‘recruiting’, he did his best ‘do-gooder’ appearance--- a kind smile and some good choice of words. He would wear thick wool sweaters and cord trousers—‘what do-gooders wear’. He would make some sympathetic comments or rueful gestures and suddenly come up with a great offer of a meal and shelter and he would lead unsuspecting homeless to the lion’s den. He went so far to create a ‘harmless, old guy’ image that he even bought a black and white cat and christened...
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