I remember 2 years ago reading a book in class about a retired soldier who lures homeless people into his house and murders them.

I believe the plot went like this:

  • Lets say the heroes name is X.

  • The antagonist is a retired soldier from the military. He wants to serve his country in the war against homelessness- by murdering them.

  • X leaves his family because he was abused by his dad and he decides to go and move to another city

  • X finds it hard to live in the streets but he has a sleeping bag with him which I think gets robbed when he tries to sleep in an alleyway

  • X then runs out of money but meets another homeless boy who is extremely street wise.

  • This boy is an expert and begging for money from higher classes while living on the streets

  • I believe the other boy knows about a ship that homeless people can take refuge in if they pay a certain amount of money.

  • Meanwhile the ex-soldier has killed several homeless people and I think he says "who cares no ones going to miss them anyway". The soldier feels he is doing his country a favour by fighting the war against homelessness. It is hinted that the soldier is mentally ill.

  • Eventually X is introduced to other homeless kids and they all become friends. The other boy and X notice that some of the other homeless kids that they met are going missing.

  • It is revealed the soldier keeps the bodies of his victims under the floor boards in a cool area and he states the smell is becoming worse.

  • X and his friend eventually run into a girl who looked too pretty, smart and rich to be homeless. But she still says she is homeless and she hangs round with X and his friend.

  • The girl pays for most of the food (which is suspicious) and pays for them to survive a bit.

  • One day X's friend goes missing. X is frightened and unsure what to do. He searches everywhere that his friend usually begs for money from.

  • X finds the homeless girl and tells her the story

  • I don't remember how but eventually X finds the home of the soldier and he has a gut feeling that his friend is in his house somewhere.

  • They (X and the girl) wait and spy outside his house for days but there is no evidence of the man being some kind of murderer.

  • Police are called because of many missing people and the police investigate the soldiers house.

  • I don't remember how (again) but the soldier outwits the cops and they leave thinking he isn't a suspect.

  • X decides to investigate for himself and knocks on the soldiers door.

  • The soldier knew that X was spying on him and had a plan to kill X because X was also homeless. I am not sure but I don't think the soldier knows about the girl.

  • Eventually X finds his way to the cellar and finds the bodies of his friends and several other people. He tries to escape the house but the door is locked and the soldier is there with a knife.

  • There is a fight between X and the soldier. As soon as the soldier is about to kill X the door is broken down and police come to arrest the soldier.

  • Even though the police initially didn't think he was a suspect, it turned out that the homeless girl was actually a famous news reporter doing a story on the life of homeless people. When she found a trend in missing people she informed the police and she eventually saves X.

  • X is initially mad at her for not being honest and something else (again not sure)

Can someone please help me find this book? I loved it to pieces when I first read it.

1 Answer 1


Stone Cold, by Robert Swindells?


Stone Cold is a realistic young-adult novel by Robert Swindells, published by Heinemann in 1993. Set on the streets of London, the first-person narrative switches between Link, a newly homeless sixteen-year-old adjusting to his situation, and Shelter, an ex-army officer scorned after being dismissed from his job, supposedly on 'medical grounds'.

Just from that Wikipedia blurb, we see that it's a newly homeless person, up against an ex-army officer, who wants to kill the homeless people.

And Penguin Books has this to say:

A tense thriller plot is combined with a perceptive and harrowing portrait of life on the streets as a serial killer preys on the young and vulnerable homeless. Link, aged 17, is distrustful of people until he pairs up with Deb, another homeless youngster. But what Deb doesn't tell him is that she's an ambitious young journalist on a self-imposed assignment to track down the killer and she's prepared to use herself as bait...

Deb appears to match your description of the girl in the story.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.