The Book of Evidence is a 1989 novel by John Banville. The narrator is a psychopath, and life from his viewpoint is a heartless experience. The writing carries you in the wake of his destruction, as he seems to be completely oblivious to the results of his actions. The Paris Review has an excerpt.
from the back of the book:
After free-falling through the indolence of California and the Mediterranean's sleazy seaside dives, Irish ex-patriot Frederick Charles St. John Venderveld Montgomery is going home. And in the dull, familiar confines of his hometown, Freddie becomes obsessed with a novelty: a three-hundred-year-old oil painting. Deciding to steal it to raise money, he senselessly murders an innocent woman along the way.The New York Times opens their review with this:
Shocking and provocative, The Book of Evidence is Freddie Montgomery's chilling first-person account, a confession not only to n act of savagery but to the emptiness of his very existence. From his memories to his crime, to his capture and confrontation with the law, this is the story of a man without a soul -enigmatic, terrifying, and one you will never forget.
Here is an astonishing, disturbing little novel that might have been coughed up from hell. A first-person narrator confesses to a murder. It's soon apparent, though, that the crime was not inspired by greed, revenge or any other discernible motive. The narrator is a sort of accidental killer - Everyman as monster.Kirkus Reviews concludes by calling it, "A novel of high moral seriousness, gracefully written--one that lingers on in the mind long after it is read." Publishers Weekly opens, "Comparisons with Camus's The Stranger and Dostoyevski's Crime and Punishment are not lightly made, but spring irresistibly to mind after finishing Banville's dazzling novel" and concludes, "It is difficult to imagine a reader who would not find The Book of Evidence both terrifying and moving."
I have read other books by this author, including The Untouchable and The Sea.