Cormac McCarthy is a damn fine writer. He’s also a very disturbing one.
Child of God is one of his older books (1973), and tells the story of Lester Ballard, a lonely and erstwhile Tennessee hick who loses his home to live a vagrant life in the mountains. Lester comes across a dead couple in a car. It’s at this point he realises, for the first time in his life, that he can have a woman. After this, Lester satisfies his perverse lust by becoming a serial killer.
This is not a comfortable book to read (but then, most of McCarthy’s books aren’t). He eloquently describes Ballard’s dark decline with humour, compassion and a frightening edge that makes for gripping reading.
Child of God is well worth a look for anyone who enjoys exemplary writing; it’s a chilling and almost apocalyptic tale of the American South.