As the narrative starts to grip you the problems identifying characters in the second hundred pages seem to melt away and you are left with a trio of central people to follow – Moss the man who has found and taken the money, Chigurh who is killing everyone on his way to getting the money back and Bell the sheriff who is the old man who is the old man of the title.
But inside Bell, who still loves his wife and remembers his experiences of running for sheriff and serving in World War Two, is a wealth of knowledge about human nature that extends to working out even how to guess what a psychopath might be thinking.
He works out that Moss has the money and that the true nature of the looming threat has not been shared with the Vietnam veteran’s young 19-year-old wife. Bell is also able to piece together the events of the shoot out in the hotel where Moss and Chigurh first meet each other.
But you sense that Bell might not be needed as a man named Wells is hired to track down Chigurh and kill him. Wells finds Moss easily giving you the confidence that he can also track down the man he has been hired to kill. However it doesn’t turn out that way and Wells is shot in the face and the contractor also gets the same treatment.
Meanwhile Moss phones his wife and gets her and her grandmother to head out of their home and then makes the mistake of calling who he thinks is Wells. Chigurh picks up the mobile phone he has stolen and tells Moss that he is a dead man but if he hands over the money then his wife will be spared.
Can the Vietnam vet take on the psycho killer and will Bell get to them both first? More tomorrow…