Structure

Robert Swindells’ novel Stone Cold is divided into 15 chapters that follow two alternate perspectives – that of Link, a homeless teenager, and that of Shelter, an ex-army man who murders unsuspecting homeless people. The chapters are not marked traditionally, but take the form of 15 daily routine orders written down by Shelter military-style in a log book. 

The novel follows the alternate perspectives of Link and Shelter in a more or less chronological order, until the point when the two narratives converge. The novel is structured, then, in the form of dual narratives running side by side. The two narratives help create a contrast between Link’s vulnerable voice and Shelter’s hateful and vengeful perspective.

The beginning of the novel introduces Link, one of the narrators, who recounts “the story of [his] fascinating life” (0%). From the beginning, Link reveals that he keeps his real name hidden: “You can call me Link. It’s not my name, but it’s what I say when anybody asks, which isn’t often. I’m invisible, see? One of the invisible people” (0%). 

Moreover, Shelter’s words at the beginning of the novel foreshadow his intention to prey on the homeless: 

Shelter. Yes. I like it. It’s got a ring to it as I’m sure you’ll agree. Shelter, as in shelter from the stormy blast. It’s what they’re all seeking. The street people. What they crave. If they can only find shelter everything will be fine. Well – get fell in, my lucky lads. I’m ready for you. (Daily Routine Orders 1, 0%)

As the dual narrati...

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