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In Cold Blood A True Account Of A Multiple Murder And Its Consequences

30 review for In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and its Consequences (Penguin Modern Classics)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Keeten

    "How much money did you get from the Clutters?" "Between forty and fifty dollars." Top Picture Hickock, Richard Eugene (WM)28 KBI 97 093; FBI 859 273 A. Address: Edgerton, Kansas. Birthdate 6-6-31 Birthplace K.C., Kans. Height: 5-10 Weight: 175 Hair: Blond. Eyes: Blue. Build: Stout. Comp: Ruddy. Occup: Car Painter. Crime: Cheat & Defr. & Bad Checks. Paroled: 8-13-59 By: So. K.C.K. Bottom Picture Smith, Perry Edward (WM) 27-59. Birthplace: Nevada. Height: 5-4. Weight: 156 Hair: D. Brn. Crime: B& "How much money did you get from the Clutters?" "Between forty and fifty dollars." Top Picture Hickock, Richard Eugene (WM)28 KBI 97 093; FBI 859 273 A. Address: Edgerton, Kansas. Birthdate 6-6-31 Birthplace K.C., Kans. Height: 5-10 Weight: 175 Hair: Blond. Eyes: Blue. Build: Stout. Comp: Ruddy. Occup: Car Painter. Crime: Cheat & Defr. & Bad Checks. Paroled: 8-13-59 By: So. K.C.K. Bottom Picture Smith, Perry Edward (WM) 27-59. Birthplace: Nevada. Height: 5-4. Weight: 156 Hair: D. Brn. Crime: B&E. Arrested: (blank) By: (blank). Disposition: Sent KSP 3-13-56 from Phillips Co. 5-10yrs. Rec. 3-14-56. Paroled: 7-6-59. As I write this review, I'm sitting about 60 miles from the Clutter house in Holcomb, Kansas. Holcomb is a small, farming community located just west of Garden City. This is a place where everyone in the whole county not only knows your name, but also has a working knowledge of your family history going back fifty plus years. I usually avoid reading true crime books. I don't want my head filled with tragedy. I want to go about my life with a degree of caution, but not be ruled by the fear I feel such books will instill. I picked up a copy of this book at the Dodge City Library. The librarian at the check out desk, a woman about mid-sixties, slender, elegant, and still attractive ran her finger along the edge of the spine. I noticed a shiver had rolled up her back and rippled her shoulders. She looked up at me with pinched blue eyes and said in a whisper, "I remember when this happened". She watched her father put locks on the doors for the first time. The murders became a demarcation line in her life there was life before the Clutter murders, and then there was life after the Clutter murders. Her response surprised me. We live in a time when any crime anywhere in the country is broadcast out to the nation and something tragic that happens in Illinois or in Virginia or Alaska impacts our lives. I would have thought over time some of the significance of the Clutter murder would have been buried under the avalanche of murder and mayhem that the news cycle brings us 24/7. For this community and for all the small communities dotting the map of Kansas, and even in the surrounding states, this was something that wasn't supposed to happen in a small town. This was big city crime that happened in their own backyard. As I talked to people about the Clutter murders most everybody had some kind of physical reaction. They flinched as if they were dodging a blow or took a step back from me or developed a twitch along their jawline. Their eyes gazed through me or beyond me as the fears and anxieties of 1959 came flooding back into their mind. Most of them attributed more deaths to the crime, each of them citing six deaths rather than four. I'm sure they remembered that there was six family members, but two older girls had already left the home to start their own lives. They were not present on that fateful night when their family was murdered. In Cold Blood was required reading in many schools in this region clear up until about the 1970s, so even people who were too young to remember the crime have experienced the tragedy through Truman Capote. In the description above regarding Perry Edward Smith there is a reference to Phillips County. This has special significance for me because I was born and raised in Phillips County. The family farm is located in Phillips County. My Father and I graduated from Phillipsburg High School. My Dad was a sophomore in high school in 1955 when Perry Smith decided to burglarize the Chandler Sales Company in Phillipsburg, Kansas and this seemingly insignificant act was really the beginning of this story. Smith and his accomplice, also Smith, stole typewriters, adding machines etc and left town with their ill gotten goods in the backseat of the car. Later they ignored a traffic signal in St. Joseph, Missouri and were pulled over by a police officer. The cop was very interested in what was in their backseat. They were extradited back to Phillipsburg, where through an open window (imagine my embarrassment for the law enforcement of my home county) they escaped. Later Perry was caught again and sent back to Phillipsburg where the law enforcement fortunately did a much better job of keeping track of him. Perry Smith received 10 years in the Kansas Penitentiary in Leavenworth. Richard Eugene Hickock was already serving time in Leavenworth for fraud. The two met and became friends. The final piece to the puzzle that not only determined the fate of the Clutter family, but also the fates of Smith and Hickock was snapped down in place when they meet Floyd Wells. Wells, serving time for some bit of stupidity, had worked for Herb Clutter back in 1948. He told Hickock and Smith that Clutter was a wealthy farmer, and kept a safe full of cash in his house. Wells was absolutely full of shit. There was no safe. There was no pile of cash. There was absolutely no reason for four people to lose their lives for $40. After the murders they went to Mexico for a while, but even though they could live cheaply down South the money still trickled through their fingers. After they burned through the goods they had acquired through the Clutter robbery and through defrauding a series of retail stores, they found that working in Mexico didn't pay well either. They came back up to the United States and there was this baffling moment where Perry Smith is reading the paper and sees an article about a family that was tied up and shot to death. "Amazing!" Perry glanced through the article again. "Know what I wouldn't be surprised? If this wasn't done by a lunatic. Some nut that read about what happened out in Kansas." WTF? Some nut? How about the original coconut heads that murdered the family in Kansas? Perry does have a moment or two where he weighs what happened in Kansas. "Know what I think?" said Perry. "I think there must be something wrong with us. To do what we did." "Did what?" "Out there." "Deal me out, baby," Dick said. "I'm a normal." Truman Capote had been looking for the right story for an experimental form of writing he'd been considering trying. He wanted to blend fiction and nonfiction. The Clutter murders struck him as the perfect story to launch this new form of writing. I have to admire his fortitude, for a man of his sensibilities not only spending that much time among farmbillies, but having to befriend them as well. It must have been somewhat of a painful experience. Capote in the Clutter home Floyd Wells eventually comes forward and tells what he knows about the murders. He had always liked Herb Clutter and felt ashamed that what he had told, in a moment of prison bonding, had led to such a vicious conclusion. Without his statement I'm pretty sure that Smith and Hickock would have gotten away with the murders. The slender evidence tying them to the murders would have made it almost impossible to prosecute them. Their sentencing can have only one conclusion...death. As they are being led back to their cells: Smith says to Hickock, "No chicken-hearted jurors, they!" They both laughed loudly, and a cameraman photographed them. The picture appeared in a Kansas paper above a caption entitled: "The Last Laugh?" When I consider their bravado the last vestiges of any sympathy I may have been harboring for their plight dissipated. This is a beautifully written book. I want to thank Harper Lee for her role in helping Capote bring this book to completion. I'm not sure Capote would have had the perseverance to see it through without her holding his hand. I was surprised about how many connections I have to the events in this book many of which I had no idea until I read them in the book for the first time. I was long overdue to read this book and this experience has certainly convinced me to add more of the classic True Crime genre to my reading queue. This book is legendary not only because of the heinous nature of the crime, but also because Capote was ushering in a new way to tell a story. If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visithttp://www.jeffreykeeten.com I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michael Finocchiaro

    I just wonder why it took me so long to get this masterpiece on my currently-reading shelf. What a breathtaking story! And told in the most amazing novelistic style! The cold-blooded murders in Kansas in 1956 is described by a cold, distant narrator via the interviews of the family, acquaintances, and community around the victims and the hair-raising stories of Perry and Bobby, the murderers. It is a real page-turner - I couldn't put it down! The descriptions of the youth of all the tragic prota I just wonder why it took me so long to get this masterpiece on my currently-reading shelf. What a breathtaking story! And told in the most amazing novelistic style! The cold-blooded murders in Kansas in 1956 is described by a cold, distant narrator via the interviews of the family, acquaintances, and community around the victims and the hair-raising stories of Perry and Bobby, the murderers. It is a real page-turner - I couldn't put it down! The descriptions of the youth of all the tragic protagonists are explored from every angle as under a magnifying glass. In Cold Blood kept me thinking that most of the recent murder mystery shows and movies were indebted to this piece of literature (that Capote probably deserved a Pulitzer for but was passed over, helas, in 1965). There is this strange homoeroticism between the two murderers (who call each other "sugar" and "honey") but who both spout homophobic words throughout. Like the lawyers, I felt Richard was the coldest one and Perry the most twisted and tragic. This book is a true masterpiece of the non-fiction novel (even if some of the facts brought out by Capote were disputed) and its narration is stupendous in character development and maintaining an enormous amount of suspense end-to-end. It is even more astounding because the reader already knows who commits the crime, the novel only elucidates the "why" and even that is ambiguous and pathetic. An awesome read. Note that in A Capote Reader, there is a great short essay about the making of the movie In Cold Blood where Capote talks a bit about the 6 years it took him to write this masterpiece. (Haven't seen the movie yet :/) [UPDATE] I finally saw the movie Capote and it was absolutely amazing as a backstory to this book. I still haven't found the movie In Cold Blood yet.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Will Byrnes

    Truman Capote - image from the NY Post This is one of the great ones. Capote blankets Holcomb, Kansas with his curiosity. The root of this work is a ghastly crime. Two recently released convicts, seeking a fortune that did not exist, invade the Clutter family home, tie up the four family members present and leave no witnesses. It takes some time for the perpetrators to be identified, then tracked down. Capote looks at how the townspeople react to this. Many, fearful that one of their own was res Truman Capote - image from the NY Post This is one of the great ones. Capote blankets Holcomb, Kansas with his curiosity. The root of this work is a ghastly crime. Two recently released convicts, seeking a fortune that did not exist, invade the Clutter family home, tie up the four family members present and leave no witnesses. It takes some time for the perpetrators to be identified, then tracked down. Capote looks at how the townspeople react to this. Many, fearful that one of their own was responsible, become withdrawn. How do people mourn? He looks at the sequence of investigation that leads ultimately to the capture of the suspects, focusing on one of the chief investigators. He looks in depth at the criminals. What makes them tick? How could people do such awful things? In reading this I was reminded of some of the great panoramic art works of a bygone age, works by Bosch, Breughel, in which entire towns were brought together into one wide-screen image. This is what Capote has done. But even with all the territory he covers there is considerable depth. I was also reminded, for an entirely different reason of Thomas Hardy. Capote has an incredible gift for language. He writes beautifully, offering descriptions that can bring to tears anyone who truly loves language. It has the power of poetry. This is truly a classic, a book that defined a new genre of literature. If you haven’t read it, you must. Murderers, Dick Hickock and Perry Smith - image from ABC Australia In case you are in the market and in the neighborhood, this 10/24/19 item from SF Gate by Clare Trapasso, might be of interest - The Untold Story Behind the Infamous 'In Cold Blood' Murder House—and Why It's for Sale

  4. 5 out of 5

    David Putnam

    This story made a huge impact on my life. There were six of us kids and come summer my mother couldn't handle all of us so she farmed me out every year to the aunts. One aunt lived in Indio. My mother put me on a Greyhound bus and nine years old; all alone with my brown paper grocery bag as luggage. I was scared to death. A Seagull hit the expansive windshield with splat of blood and feathers. Unfazed the driver merely turned on the windshield wipers and made and even bigger mess. I arrived in In This story made a huge impact on my life. There were six of us kids and come summer my mother couldn't handle all of us so she farmed me out every year to the aunts. One aunt lived in Indio. My mother put me on a Greyhound bus and nine years old; all alone with my brown paper grocery bag as luggage. I was scared to death. A Seagull hit the expansive windshield with splat of blood and feathers. Unfazed the driver merely turned on the windshield wipers and made and even bigger mess. I arrived in Indio a hundred plus degrees and my aunt Carol picked me up at the bus station. She said she was taking me and my cousin Danny to the movies. Oh, boy I loved the movies. We stopped at a store to pick up some candy and I bought my favorite Chicken-O-stick. I was nine my cousin was seven, she bought our tickets at The Aztec theater and ushered us through the door. She said she'd be back when the movie was over. It was nice to be out of the sweltering heat. We sat down ate our candy in great anticipation. The movie started and it was in black and white. It was In Cold Blood, not something a nine year old should be watching. Ten years later my cousin Danny and my Aunt Carol would be arrested for killing my favorite uncle Don in a murder for hire. My aunt hired a hit man out of Orange County named Cornelius. They stiffed in a fake call of an emergency at the Metropolitan Water Distinct where my uncle worked. There was a clause in the life insurance policy that if he died at work it was double indemnity. My uncle showed up in the middle of the night and they shot him in the back of the head. Of course there is lots more to this true story. And to this day I can not forget In Cold Blood, the movie. Sorry for the rant this was supposed to be a book review. David Putnam Author of the Bruno Johnson series.

  5. 4 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    An absolute masterpiece of True Crime literature. In Cold Blood is both gritty and intelligent! This should be on everyone's 'books to read in a lifetime' list. The writing style of this account is absolutely flawless. As many of you may know, In Cold Blood is a true account of the heinous murders of the Clutter Family in 1959 Kansas. Through Capote's words, you are transported to this small town; you get alternating accounts from the family, the killers and from other individuals close to the cr An absolute masterpiece of True Crime literature. In Cold Blood is both gritty and intelligent! This should be on everyone's 'books to read in a lifetime' list. The writing style of this account is absolutely flawless. As many of you may know, In Cold Blood is a true account of the heinous murders of the Clutter Family in 1959 Kansas. Through Capote's words, you are transported to this small town; you get alternating accounts from the family, the killers and from other individuals close to the crime. The description of the night of the actual murders is bone-chilling and can disturb sleep, believe me! This is my second time reading this book and I found it just as impactful during my reread. To me, it is interesting to think about Capote investigating and compiling his research for the novel. He actually went and lived in this town, along with one of his closest friends, Harper Lee, and they painstakingly interviewed hundreds of people associated with the events. Just the sheer amount of data collected and how it was intricately woven into a cohesive narrative astounds me. Yes, I know that is what nonfiction novelists do, but this was truly a ground-breaking piece of journalistic writing at the time and should be appreciated as such. Another interesting aspect of this is how focused Capote was in the psychology behind the killers' motivations and actions, as well as their complex relationship with one another both before and after the crimes. Ahead of his time in that regard, in my opinion. I think anyone who enjoys True Crime, Criminology, Psychology and even Sociology will find this book absolutely captivating. If you have been putting off reading this for any reason, please stop, pick it up, NOW!!!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Brina

    In Cold Blood is the new school classics selection in the group catching up on classics for November 2016. Having read Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's recently and enjoying his writing, I could not wait to read this nonfiction thriller in advance of the upcoming group read. Writing in his relaxing southern style, Capote turns a horrid crime into a story to make the how's and whys accessible to the average American. It is in this regard that I rate this thrilling classic five stars. On Nov In Cold Blood is the new school classics selection in the group catching up on classics for November 2016. Having read Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's recently and enjoying his writing, I could not wait to read this nonfiction thriller in advance of the upcoming group read. Writing in his relaxing southern style, Capote turns a horrid crime into a story to make the how's and whys accessible to the average American. It is in this regard that I rate this thrilling classic five stars. On November 15, 1959 Richard "Dick" Hickock and Perry Smith, on a tip from another inmate, brutally murdered four members of the Clutter family of Holcomb, Kansas. Having heard that the Clutters possessed either a safe or $10,000 cash in their home, Smith and Hickock desired this wealth for themselves so that they could live out their days in a Mexican beach resort. To their surprise and chagrin, the Clutters did not have neither the safe nor the cash, but Hickock had said to leave no witnesses. Crime committed, the pair escaped to a life of continued crimes and violence and believing that authorities would never catch up with them. And in the beginning it appeared that this ill advised lifestyle might actually work. Due to the relentless work of the Kansas Bureau of Investigations (KBI) lead by Alvin Dewey, Hickock and Smith were eventually brought to justice and ultimately given the death penalty. Capote weaves a tale by giving us the backstory of both felons as well as a picture of Holcomb and nearby Garden City, Kansas as an idyllic place to raise a family. The crime changed everything. Families kept their doors locked and did not allow their children to venture far from home. In the surrounding areas, people viewed their lives as a before and after. Inevitably, the Clutter case lead to less community interaction and a beginning of a breakdown of society. Yet by providing the backstories of the felons, Capote allows the the readers to emphasize with their place in society. Dick Hickock was on his way to finishing at the top of his class with a possible athletic scholarship and a degree in engineering. His family could not afford a university education even with the scholarship so Hickock went to work. An automobile accident left him partially brain damaged as his parents maintained that he was not the same person since, and this one incident lead to his adult life of crime. Smith, on the other hand, lead a bleak childhood to the point where readers would feel sorry for him. Coming from a fractured family and only a third grade education, Smith suffered from a superiority complex his entire life. His role in the Clutter murders was the consummation of a lifetime of rejection. The felons came from diametrically opposed upbringings and yet I was left feeling remorse for both. Capote pieced together the crime to the point where I felt that I knew the people of Holcomb as well as the principal players in the crime intimately. This work lead to a new genre that brings together nonfiction and fiction in a way that history feels like a story. Both Capote and his research assistant Harper Lee ended up as award winning authors. Their fictional writing skills allowed for the personalization of this tale and ultimately help change the way many write nonfiction. Truman Capote is one of 20th America's master storytellers, and In Cold Blood is by many considered his opus. His research was detail oriented and allowed him to bring the story of the Clutter murders to the average American home. After completing this five star work painting the picture of the how's and whys of murder, I look forward to reading more of his charming Southern stories.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Justin

    At the beginning, In Cold Blood reads like a classic southern gothic tale. I've read about Harper Lee hanging out with Capote while he put this thing together, and at times it feels like she greatly influenced how it was written. You meet the Clutters who are just the nicest people in the world out working hard and going to school and being awesome people in the town. And, I know there's all this controversy over how the book is written since it adds fictional conversations and thoughts that Cap At the beginning, In Cold Blood reads like a classic southern gothic tale. I've read about Harper Lee hanging out with Capote while he put this thing together, and at times it feels like she greatly influenced how it was written. You meet the Clutters who are just the nicest people in the world out working hard and going to school and being awesome people in the town. And, I know there's all this controversy over how the book is written since it adds fictional conversations and thoughts that Capote obviously couldn't have known, but everything is rooted in the nonfiction account of what happened, and I think it adds a deeper layer of connection to the family. I read Helter Skelter in high school, and I remember that book starting out right from the gate with all the details of the murders before diving into the Manson family and the trial. In Cold Blood works more in reverse and saves the details for later, and my God when I got there I didn't even want to read about what happened. It was all so senseless and random. I had a hard time finishing the book after that. I just wanted it to be over. Often beautifully and brilliantly written, sometimes tedious to get through, sometimes way too meticulous with details, sometimes spending a couple of pages discussing cats or a building or something, this book is a classic in the true crime genre. I haven't read a lot of true crime in my reading life, but I've read enough to know that this deserves a spot at the top of the list. Capote does an excellent job laying out the story, and gives the family, the murderers, and the cops an overwhelming amount of description and development. I knew more about the killers than I ever wanted to know, and I want things to go a different direction even though I knew they wouldn't. Now I have to watch the movie, then Capote, then Infamous. This is a story that will be stuck in my head for a while. It's a harsh reminder of the evil that exists in the world, and how fragile our existence on this planet really is. It's also a very detailed account of the senseless murder of most of a family, but I took away a lot of other stuff from its pages, too. Read it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    In Cold Blood, Truman Capote This article is about the book by Truman Capote. In Cold Blood is a non-fiction novel by American author Truman Capote, first published in 1966; it details the 1959 murders of four members of the Herbert Clutter family in the small farming community of Holcomb, Kansas. When Capote learned of the quadruple murder, before the killers were captured, he decided to travel to Kansas and write about the crime. He was accompanied by his childhood friend and fellow author Harp In Cold Blood, Truman Capote This article is about the book by Truman Capote. In Cold Blood is a non-fiction novel by American author Truman Capote, first published in 1966; it details the 1959 murders of four members of the Herbert Clutter family in the small farming community of Holcomb, Kansas. When Capote learned of the quadruple murder, before the killers were captured, he decided to travel to Kansas and write about the crime. He was accompanied by his childhood friend and fellow author Harper Lee, and together they interviewed local residents and investigators assigned to the case and took thousands of pages of notes. The killers, Richard "Dick" Hickock and Perry Smith, were arrested six weeks after the murders and later executed by the state of Kansas. Capote ultimately spent six years working on the book. When finally published, In Cold Blood was an instant success, and today is the second-biggest-selling true crime book in publishing history, behind Vincent Bugliosi's 1974 book Helter Skelter about the Charles Manson murders. عنوانها: «به خونسردی»؛ «به خونسردی - شرح واقعی قتل چهار نفر و پی آمدهای آن»؛ «در کمال خونسردی»؛ نویسنده: ترومن کاپوتی؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز هفدهم ماه سپتامبر سال 1998میلادی عنوان: به خونسردی؛ نویسنده: ترومن کاپوت؛ مترجم: باهره راسخ؛ تهران، فرانکلین، 1347، در 345ص، موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان امریکایی - سده 20م عنوان: به خونسردی - شرح واقعی قتل چهار نفر و پی آمدهای آن؛ نویسنده: ترومن کاپوتی؛ مترجم: پریوش شهامت؛ تهران، نشر پیکان، 1376، در 467ص؛ شابک 9646229123؛ داستان برگرفته از خبری واقعی، از قتل‌عام یک خانواده، در کانزاس است، و همین رویداد به نویسنده فرصت می‌دهد، تا نخستین رمان غیرداستانی خویش را بنویسند؛ نویسنده زمان بسیاری را صرف گفتگو، با «شاهدان»، «دو قاتل»، و «بررسی گزارش پلیس»، می‌کند؛ کتابش در سال 1965میلادی، با تیراژی میلیونی برایش شهرت، موفقیت و ثروت به همراه می‌آورد؛ با این کتاب به اوج می‌رسد، و نمی‌تواند هرگزی کتاب دیگری در همین اندازه بنویسد؛ زندگینامه نویسش «جرالد کلارک»، علت را زمان طولانی پژوهش، و خستگی ناشی از کار سنگین ایشان می‌داند؛ تاری بهنگام رسانی 27/06/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  9. 5 out of 5

    J.L. Sutton

    A seminal work for the nonfiction novel and the true crime genre, Truman Capote's In Cold Blood stands apart from most of its literary descendants. Not only is it compelling and suspenseful even when you know (like many crime dramatizations) what's going to happen, it's also very well-written. In fact, its literary quality gives In Cold Blood a dimension which few other nonfiction novels will match. The evolution of the form, since In Cold Blood, is nothing short of astonishing. It makes you app A seminal work for the nonfiction novel and the true crime genre, Truman Capote's In Cold Blood stands apart from most of its literary descendants. Not only is it compelling and suspenseful even when you know (like many crime dramatizations) what's going to happen, it's also very well-written. In fact, its literary quality gives In Cold Blood a dimension which few other nonfiction novels will match. The evolution of the form, since In Cold Blood, is nothing short of astonishing. It makes you appreciate how different the experience of reading the book is now compared to when the book was published. Yet, it is not a stuffy classic. This work made the world safe for nonfiction! Definitely worth reading!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Amy Galaviz

    After I read it, I looked up pictures of the Clutter family, and just stared for about five minutes. They endured what is probably everyone’s worst fear. Having never heard anything of the Clutter murders prior to reading this book, the experience of reading it was intense, gripping, and suspenseful from beginning to end. Capote, with his impartial writing style, relayed facts and details in such a way as to give a complete character illustration of everyone involved: from each of the Clutters, t After I read it, I looked up pictures of the Clutter family, and just stared for about five minutes. They endured what is probably everyone’s worst fear. Having never heard anything of the Clutter murders prior to reading this book, the experience of reading it was intense, gripping, and suspenseful from beginning to end. Capote, with his impartial writing style, relayed facts and details in such a way as to give a complete character illustration of everyone involved: from each of the Clutters, to the investigators, lawyers, and even the murderers themselves. He did not reveal his personal sentiments or biases, or even presume to know right from wrong. In what he coined a “non-fiction novel,” Capote brilliantly combined the elements of a fictional murder novel with factual journalism and psychological analysis to show the moral dilemmas surrounding the act of murder. In the section about the Clutter family life during their final days before the murders, Capote’s description of their daily routines and habits made what was to come even more troubling. Nancy and Kenyon were going through the typical hardships of adolescence; Nancy had a boyfriend of whom her father did not approve and was the most popular girl in school, while Kenyon was self-conscious, nerdy, and socially awkward. Herbert and Bonnie’s marriage was a bit shaky; Bonnie had a mysterious and fleeting mental illness, and Herbert was very busy with his farming business and did not have much time to tend to her. However, despite their problems, they maintained a strong family bond, were well-liked by the entire community, and we get a sense that things were looking up for them. After the murder takes place, as if to intensify the suspense, Capote does not immediately reveal to us exactly how or why Perry and Dick committed the crime, but instead takes us on their journey as they attempt escape through the deep South while the investigators begin to try to solve the crime. We learn much about these two characters through their interactions with each other, letters, diary excerpts, and interviews with family members. We are brought deep into their psyche, learning everything from their personal hygiene habits to their mannerisms and quirks. In an uncomfortable yet brilliant way, Capote allows us to sympathize with the murderers, if only for a moment. What exactly went wrong with them? Did Perry Smith’s childhood of abuse, neglect, and displacement lead him to have moments of extreme callousness and violence? Dick, who had a seemingly normal childhood and a loving family, was in a car accident which left him with a permanent head injury. Was his head injury the cause of his downfall, or was it some other unknown character defect? Even though they were capable of evil and cold-heartedness, they also had goals and insecurities as well as the capacity for creativity, love, and fear. The murders were a tragic “psychological accident” (according to Alvin Dewey), the collision of two personalities gone terribly wrong with an innocent family who was in the wrong situation at the wrong time. The final section of the book, from their first of many trials to their execution, presents us with the moral dilemmas surrounding the punishment of crime. Capote does not make any definitive conclusions, but poses many questions: Is execution right or wrong? Why the long delay (approx. 6 years) between the guilty verdict and the execution? Was a fair trial possible or necessary, given the horrific nature of the crimes committed? It is impossible to summarize the impact of this book in a few paragraphs, but it will definitely stay with me for years to come.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    This book is one of the first, if not the first, true crime novel. According to Wikipedia, only Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders has sold more copies in the True Crime category than In Cold Blood. While true crime fans might read this today and think that it sounds like your basic true crime story, at the time it was groundbreaking to detail a crime in this much detail and in a format as big as a novel. One of the things it appears that this novel set the precedence for, and t This book is one of the first, if not the first, true crime novel. According to Wikipedia, only Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders has sold more copies in the True Crime category than In Cold Blood. While true crime fans might read this today and think that it sounds like your basic true crime story, at the time it was groundbreaking to detail a crime in this much detail and in a format as big as a novel. One of the things it appears that this novel set the precedence for, and that I have seen in other true crime novels, is that the author is not only researching the story, he is getting in the mix and talking face to face with the criminals (example - Ann Rule). Sometimes this leads to relationships and feelings that are reflected in the retelling. After you finish reading this, it is interesting to look this up online and see some of the theories about how Capote approached this crime and the people involved. Speaking of Capote, I have never seen any of the movies about him, but it sounds like all of them focus on this part of his life – and there are at least 3 of them! I may need to check them out to see what I think. Also, I need to check out the classic film that came out shortly after publication. One think I found very, very interesting (view spoiler)[ when speaking of what criminals could do on death row in Kansas, basically everything – every form of comfort, entertainment, ways to pass the time – were taken away from them. The justice system went out of their way to make things as uncomfortable as possible for those awaiting death. However, they let them read as much as they want. I am wondering why reading was the one acceptable past time they were given? (hide spoiler)] One thing I forgot to add when I originally wrote this review was that having read this and Breakfast At Tiffany's, it is hard to believe it is the same author. Probably the most diverse writing from the same author I have ever encountered. True crime fans! Non-fiction fans! Fans of must read classics! You must add In Cold Blood to your list.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    In Cold Blood by Truman Capote was described by its author as a non-fiction novel. The novel was first published in 1965 and at the time this style of writing, perhaps even the template for a new genre, was fresh and new and bold. Almost 50 years later and the disturbing images are as fresh, vibrant and malevolent as when the ink was wet. The style of writing has no doubt inspired generations of writers since, but their imitation has done little to diminish the power of Capote’s work. Whether it In Cold Blood by Truman Capote was described by its author as a non-fiction novel. The novel was first published in 1965 and at the time this style of writing, perhaps even the template for a new genre, was fresh and new and bold. Almost 50 years later and the disturbing images are as fresh, vibrant and malevolent as when the ink was wet. The style of writing has no doubt inspired generations of writers since, but their imitation has done little to diminish the power of Capote’s work. Whether it was wholly accurate or not is for journalists and scholars to debate, but for the reader, his vision was compelling and his perspective on the crime, and especially as a character study, almost a biography, on the criminals is hypnotic. Critics may take umbrage with Capote’s sympathetic depiction of the killer’s plight, and perhaps such an argument has great merit, since the murderers showed no mercy to their victims, but Capote’s contribution lies in his objective illumination of all the surrounding facts and details of the crime. The author began with the crime scene outlines of the victims as they were stenciled on the floor of an upper middle class home in western Kansas and rippled outward until his narrative covered the lives, background and family dynamics of the victims, their murderers and the laws and cultures that had produced both. A staggeringly detailed account of a brutal slaying, Capote has left us with a rich literary gift that should be on a list of books that must be read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    as a massive bookworm and true crime enthusiast, i have no explanation for why its taken me so long to read this. maybe its because i prefer my true crime stories in the form of documentaries and podcasts. regardless, i was super excited to finally pick up the book that is considered the first true crime novel and pioneered the nonfiction subgenre. what really surprised me about this was how capote didnt just stick to the crime and the trial. the novel-like prose explores the familys life, the c as a massive bookworm and true crime enthusiast, i have no explanation for why its taken me so long to read this. maybe its because i prefer my true crime stories in the form of documentaries and podcasts. regardless, i was super excited to finally pick up the book that is considered the first true crime novel and pioneered the nonfiction subgenre. what really surprised me about this was how capote didnt just stick to the crime and the trial. the novel-like prose explores the familys life, the community of holcomb, and the psychological complexities of the murderers. after reading more about the process of capotes research and writing of this crime, it makes sense why he spends so much time talking about the murderers backgrounds, childhoods, relationships, and connections to each other. for those who are only looking for facts about the crime, i would stick to the wikipedia page. for those who want in-depth character profiles, then this is the book for you. ↠ 3.5 stars

  14. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    PART 1: STEVE’S REVIEW 4.0 to 4.5 stars. Written over a period of 7 years and published in 1966, this novel, while not technically the first “true crime” non-fiction novel, is credited (correctly) with establishing the genre and being the progenitor of today's true crime novel. I would certainly agree that most of the other true crime novels that I have read followed almost the exact "blue print" laid out by Capote in this book. That is quite a testament to the technical excellence of this no PART 1: STEVE’S REVIEW 4.0 to 4.5 stars. Written over a period of 7 years and published in 1966, this novel, while not technically the first “true crime” non-fiction novel, is credited (correctly) with establishing the genre and being the progenitor of today's true crime novel. I would certainly agree that most of the other true crime novels that I have read followed almost the exact "blue print" laid out by Capote in this book. That is quite a testament to the technical excellence of this novel. The book recounts the story of the brutal murders in Holcomb, Kansas of a farmer named Herb Clutter, his wife and their two children. The book spends the early pages going back and forth between introducing the reader to the Clutter family and also to the two murderers, Perry Smith and Dick Hickock. I thought Capote did a superb job of allowing the reader to “get to know” the Clutter family (and the killers for that matter) so that impact of the actual murders would resonate more deeply. Overall, I thought the job that Capote did of laying out the story in the sequence that he did was masterful. By following the structure that he did he was able to keep the narrative tension high throughout the entire novel. This is a difficult task to accomplish when both the nature of the crime itself and the eventual fate of the perpetrators are known before you even pick up the book. However, Capote pulls it off and for that he deserves much credit. The novel is also much more comprehensive than just a detailed restatement of the murders. The book spends considerable time showing the effect the killings had on the Holcomb community and how different people responded to the event both postively and negatively. It follows the killers, both leading up to the murders and also during their time in hiding afterwards. Further, it recounts the actions of the police and the manhunt that eventually led to the capture of Smith and Hickock. Lastly, Capote spends considerable time on the trial of the two killers as well as the effect the trial and its aftermath had on the people most closely involved with the case. Overall, I thought the book was just about perfect in its execution. The critical events are detailed and fully-fleshed out without excess padding over the book’s 400 pages. I thought it was very interesting to discover that Capote produced almost 8000 pages worth of transcripts, notes and commentary from which he then distilled the final product. This certainly highlights the painstaking research Capote did and the unprecedented access he was given to the events and people surrounding this tragedy. An amazing achievement and one that I HIGHLY RECOMMEND people read. PART 2: STEVE’S CONFESSION I only gave this book 4.0 to 4.5 stars. I feel weird saying “only” when the rating means I more than really liked it (call it really, really, super duper liked it). It just wasn’t memorable enough for me to give it 5 stars. Sadly, I think this says more about me than it does about the merits of the book. The recounting of the killings just did not have the emotional impact on me that I think, in all fairness, they should have. I guess you could say that I was shocked to find myself “not shocked” by the recounting of the murders. Unfortunately, having grown up in a world that has been witness to horrors so far beyond the tragic events described in the novel, the slayings did not evoke the kind of visceral reaction that I would have expected. A contributing factor to this may be that at the same time as I was listening to this book on audio, I was reading Jack Ketchum’s Off Season and DRACULAS by J.A. Konrath et al, two of the goriest books I have ever read. The horrors recounted in Capote’s novel came across as very PG to PG-13. Again, that is both a sad and scary thing to realize just how “comfortable” you can become reading, watching or hearing about crimes like this one. I think this last comment leads nicely into the next section. PART 3: STEVE’S RANT Have the horrors of the world today really become so fucking “over the top” extreme that they have numbed me to the point where reading about the pre-meditated, unprovoked murder of a family of four doesn’t quite have the requisite “shock value” to immediately cause bile to rise in the back of my throat. In all honesty, YES!! In fact, I believe that as horrific as the killings were they would barely be a two minute headline on the evening news today. When you really stop to think about it, how catastrophically and dementedly fucked up is that!! The truth is that nowadays events like the Clutter family killings happen all too often. In fact, it's possible that if the murders happened today they might go completely ignored by everyone except the local news where they occurred. Sadly, when on any given day we might be hearing about some troubled teen going “Columbine” on his classmates because some douche bag tripped him in the lunch room or reading about some disgruntled worker deciding that the boss who fired him doesn’t deserve to live and so proceeds to kill a dozen of his former co-workers because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Don’t take my comments as advocating the curtailment of ANY form of entertainment being made today whether it be books, movies, music, video games or TV shows. NO, NO, No and please NO!! I like and love my violent, over the top, blood-soaked books, graphic novels and even TV shows (pause for a big shout out to Dexter). Now I could do without most of the real gory, slasher type films but hey, to each their own. So this is not about advocating change in what we watch or read (I certainly have no plans to change). I am simply recognizing the fact that as a society we have fallen down the “rabbit hole” and are living in a fucked up, violent, blood-soaked world that tears at our empathy on a daily basis. It is just something that many of us (myself included) seem to have become all too comfortable with it. Whether its loving us some Tony Soprano (and c’mon how can you not) or laughing as we shoot hookers during a game of Grand Theft Auto (I would note without further comment the current serial killings involving prostitutes) or hearing about another 5 dead American soldiers killed by a roadside bomb and then casually changing the channel to get back to the ball game so you can put it out of your mind. This is us. We have become the world that Cormac McCarthy envisioned in No Country for Old Men and, like Sheriff Tom Bell in McCarthy’s novel, I think it would be impossible for the people of Capote’s time to imagine the world as it is today. I am not sure what, if anything, all this says about us or me, but there you have it. Rant over, review concluded.

  15. 4 out of 5

    JEN A

    I know this book is considered a masterpiece. I know that I’m supposed to love it and be touched by its revolutionary take on the True crime genre but for some reason I just kept falling asleep while reading it. The novel addresses many key points about crime in the late 50s, about our justice system, about the pros and cons of capital punishment. I just got a little lost in all the minutia of it. I’m glad I read the book and got a taste of Truman Capote’s work but it didn’t touched me like I th I know this book is considered a masterpiece. I know that I’m supposed to love it and be touched by its revolutionary take on the True crime genre but for some reason I just kept falling asleep while reading it. The novel addresses many key points about crime in the late 50s, about our justice system, about the pros and cons of capital punishment. I just got a little lost in all the minutia of it. I’m glad I read the book and got a taste of Truman Capote’s work but it didn’t touched me like I thought it would.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Greta

    The real crime nonfiction-novel The murder of the Clutter family in 1959 "In Cold Blood" reconstructs the murder of the Clutter family in 1959 as a nonfiction- novel. Truman Capote's study of the killings and subsequent investigation explores the circumstances surrounding the murder and the effect it had on those involved and the citizens of the town. At the centre are the amoral killers Perry Smith and Dick Hickcock, who are shown to be reprehensible yet entirely and frighteningly human. The mu The real crime nonfiction-novel The murder of the Clutter family in 1959 "In Cold Blood" reconstructs the murder of the Clutter family in 1959 as a nonfiction- novel. Truman Capote's study of the killings and subsequent investigation explores the circumstances surrounding the murder and the effect it had on those involved and the citizens of the town. At the centre are the amoral killers Perry Smith and Dick Hickcock, who are shown to be reprehensible yet entirely and frighteningly human. The murder Crime Scene from the Clutter home On one November evening in 1959, Hickock and Smith drove more than 400 miles across Kansas, to the house of the Clutter’s, in order to execute their plan. When they arrived at their house, they entered through an unlocked door while the family slept. While discovering that there was no safe, they bound and gagged the family and continued to search for money, but found little of value. Determined to leave no witnesses, Smith slit Herb Clutter's throat and then shot him in the head. Later he said , "I didn't want to harm the man. I thought he was a very nice gentleman. Soft spoken. I thought so right up to the moment I cut his throat." Herb’s wife Bonnie and his two children Nancy (age 16) and Kenyon (age 15) were also murdered, each by a single shotgun blast to the head. Hickock and Smith left the crime scene with nothing more than a small portable radio, a pair of binoculars and less than $50 in cash. Perry and Dick initially get away with the murder, leaving behind almost no clues and having no personal connection with the murdered family. Crime Scene from the Clutter home Other citizens of the town and friends of the family are deeply affected by the murders, including Nancy's best friend and boyfriend. The Clutter family is thought to be the "least likely" in the world to be murdered. Unable to conceive that the killers were strangers, most people become paranoid and anxious, particularly regarding their neighbors. Meanwhile the killers move on with their lives and travel to Mexico and back and it seems that they might never be found out and brought to justice. The investigation leads nowhere, until a man in the Kansas state prison, Floyd Wells, hears of the murder case, suspects who did it and talks to the authorities. Ultimately his statement, footprints at the crime scene, and the possession of the binoculars and the radio become the pair's undoing. They are arrested and both confess to their part in the crime. They are tried for murder and receive the death sentence. Both spend five-year in Death Row, during which Perry tries to starve himself while Dick writes letters to various appeals organization. Perry slowly reveals his personal thoughts, his ambitions, and the motives that contributed to his life choices, eventually concluding that any real motive for the crime lays within his feelings of inadequacy, his ambiguous sexuality, and his anger at the world and at his family because of his bad childhood. Dick plays the role of true outlaw, but the impact of the killings weighs heavily on him, and his own role in the murders remains unexplained and unclear. Smith claimed that Hickock murdered the two women, while Hickock always maintained that Smith had murdered all four victims. Both were hanged in 1965. The Killers Perry (left) and Hickock (right) Hickock is motivated by carnal impulses: lust, greed, vanity, and indulgence of any kind. He is the mastermind and instigator of the murders, having heard about a "big score" at the Clutter ranch. He is further motivated by the fact that there is a teenage girl in the house; Dick intends to rape her. After the murders, Dick shows no remorse or interest in discussing the crime; he remains focused on finding money and women, and avoiding capture. He is uneducated but very street-wise and charming; he is able to con shop owners and vulnerable women out of money and property. His friendship with Perry stems solely from a lie Perry told him in which he killed a man with a bicycle chain. Dick was amused by the story and had hoped to bring forth Perry's murderous nature again during the Clutter robbery. Perry grew up under difficult circumstances. He was abandoned by his family and severely abused by nuns and other caregivers. He has a reoccurring dream about a large bird that saves him from bullies, abusers, and anyone who might cause him harm. Perry is a small, but muscular man, who never passed the third grade, but has an incredible thirst for knowledge, vocabulary, and literature. He is calm and gentle, and he seems to want love and acceptance, but he is eventually revealed to be the more brutal of the two men. After the murders, Perry seems unable to reconcile his personal opinion of himself with the crimes he has committed. He appears to have homosexual tendencies, which are revealed in his affections for both Dick and a former cell mate. Evil In cold blood - movie adaption 1967 Because the murder seems so motiveless and random, the case killing grapples with the question of the definition of evil. The criminals have conflicting and ambiguous attitudes. Perry seems to be of the opinion that his killing of the Clutters wasn’t necessarily an evil act and doesn’t seem to feel any shame or guilt for the murders. When asked about it he simply shrugs and said “Soldiers don’t lose much sleep,” he says. “They murder, and get medals for doing it. The good people of Kansas want to murder me – and some hangman will be glad to get the work.” On the other hand, Perry has strong disapproval for what he calls “pervertiness” . He feels that Dick’s pedophilic tendencies are evil, and he goes so far as to prevent the rape of young Nancy Clutter before she’s shot in the head. Through a biographical and psychological exploration of Perry and Dick the question arises who is able to commit evil acts. Perry’s psychological profile questions whether or not his crimes were actually evil, given that he seems psychologically predisposed toward certain acts of violence. To further complicate matters, Perry comes off as a highly sympathetic character. The banality of evil, the idea that evil is often committed as a matter of course, or as part of someone’s job, is also explored. The hanging of Perry and Dick, for example, is clearly an act of state sanctioned murder, which isn’t seen as evil, but public justice. Truman Capote Truman Capote Truman Capote is best known for being the author of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. He read about the crime in The New York Times soon after it happened and decided to write about it. Before the killers were caught, he began his work in Kansas, interviewing the people in town and doing extensive research. He wrote the book as if it were a novel, which Capote referred to as "New Journalism" - or “nonfiction- novel”. Although this writing style had been used before, the craft and success of the novel made it become a masterwork of the genre. It took six years for Capote to gather 8000 pages of research, develop close relationships to the murderer and read police documents. Writing the book took such a toll on Capote, that he never published another book again. "No one will ever know what 'In Cold Blood' took out of me. It scraped me right down to the marrow of my bones. It nearly killed me. I think, in a way, it did kill me" - quote Capote Usually I‘m not a big fan of crime stories but I thought this case to be really well written, even though the fictional feeling of this non-fiction book shouldn't distract from the reality of this horrible crime. I feel for the family.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ginger

    I thought to myself, do I need to write another review for one of the best true crime books ever written? And then I thought, yeah, you do. You’ve written reviews on terrible, stupid and boring books and a book this good, it definitely deserves another one. This is the best story about true crime that I have ever read. Hands down. After painting a peaceful scene in the Midwest plains of America, evil makes it's presence felt. This is how the book starts and Truman Capote’s writing had my blood ch I thought to myself, do I need to write another review for one of the best true crime books ever written? And then I thought, yeah, you do. You’ve written reviews on terrible, stupid and boring books and a book this good, it definitely deserves another one. This is the best story about true crime that I have ever read. Hands down. After painting a peaceful scene in the Midwest plains of America, evil makes it's presence felt. This is how the book starts and Truman Capote’s writing had my blood chilled and my heart sad for the victims. It is about the murders in 1959 of the Clutter family at their farmhouse in Holcomb, Kansas. The four murders received a ton of media attention, as the motive was unclear. (view spoiler)[Two recently released convicts, seeking a fortune that did not exist, invade the Clutter family home, tie up the four family members present and leave no witnesses. (hide spoiler)] For the reader, Capote’s vision was gripping and his outtake on the crime was fantastic. His character study was almost a biography. The killers were still impulsive and cruel, but he got into their minds and made them seem more human. Capote took an actual event, a gruesome crime, and used his writing to bring it to life. The sad truth is that if he had not written In Cold Blood, no one outside of Holcomb, Kansas would know who the Clutter family is or the killers, Perry Smith and Dick Hickock. The murders and the execution effectively ended all of their lives but Truman Capote gave them all immortality in this amazing book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Reading Road Trip 2020 Current location: Kansas How can I explain this? It was like I wasn't part of it. More as though I was reading a story. And I had to know what was going to happen. The end. If you ask a random American to name a book they associate with the state of Kansas, they will most likely answer The Wonderful World of Oz (a story more popularly known by the movie's name, The Wizard of Oz). If you ask a devoted reader the same question, you will get Oz, for sure, but you'll have a quick Reading Road Trip 2020 Current location: Kansas How can I explain this? It was like I wasn't part of it. More as though I was reading a story. And I had to know what was going to happen. The end. If you ask a random American to name a book they associate with the state of Kansas, they will most likely answer The Wonderful World of Oz (a story more popularly known by the movie's name, The Wizard of Oz). If you ask a devoted reader the same question, you will get Oz, for sure, but you'll have a quick second answer: In Cold Blood. Having already read Frank Baum's underwhelming story about Oz several years ago, I knew this book would be my obvious choice for Kansas. But I didn't want it to be. You see. . . although I respect Truman Capote as a writer, I am not the reader for this. I don't read “true crime” novels, and I don't read horror, real or otherwise. And this is horror. Real life horror. And it is. . . horrific. I can't think of a better way to express to you what my experience of reading this book looked like this week other than to share this photo of a beloved Seinfeld episode: As implausible as it seems, both The Wizard of Oz and In Cold Blood do share something in common. . . two really creepy bad guys: But, even though I'm trying to lighten the mood with a little humor here, it's only an act. I experienced nothing but heaviness this week. This is a heartbreaking true story, and, even though I believe it to be Mr. Capote's magnum opus, I can only express the greatest relief that this particular read is over. (Thus four stars, not five. Five, for me, means I look forward to a reread). This is a story of broken people who broke people. It was soul crushing for me. To be murdered. To be murdered. No. No. There's nothing worse. Nothing worse than that. Nothing.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brandice

    In Cold Blood is a non-fiction recount about the murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas on a November night in 1959. Admittedly, I knew very little of the story prior to reading this book, as this took place well before my time, nearly 30 years before I was born. This is the first Capote book I’ve read and despite the somber subject, I found it to be an engaging read. It’s impressive that Capote was able to reconstruct the story, background and investigation with the level of detail pro In Cold Blood is a non-fiction recount about the murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas on a November night in 1959. Admittedly, I knew very little of the story prior to reading this book, as this took place well before my time, nearly 30 years before I was born. This is the first Capote book I’ve read and despite the somber subject, I found it to be an engaging read. It’s impressive that Capote was able to reconstruct the story, background and investigation with the level of detail provided throughout the book. I felt like a thorough picture was painted of who the Clutter family was, as well as who the two murderers were. Troubled pasts and pent up resentments are no excuse for the horrific crime they committed, though it was interesting to rewind and see how the killers had reached this point. I was not unhappy to see justice ultimately served in this case. I enjoyed Capote’s writing style in In Cold Blood, a leisurely build - initially two “separate” stories that undoubtedly, knowing the premise of the book, will intertwine at some point, and continue keep you engaged all along the way.

  20. 4 out of 5

    emma

    I do not, as I have said many a time, feel things very often. I am just shy of being a sociopathic monster, mainly because I consider myself to be way too cute and charming for that. (Except sociopaths are capable of charm...huh. Back to the drawing board.) Anyway. Even in my actual, real life, I try to experience emotions as infrequently as possible. This is only truer for the books I read. In Cold Blood is a true crime narrative detailing the crime, investigation, and trial related to the murder I do not, as I have said many a time, feel things very often. I am just shy of being a sociopathic monster, mainly because I consider myself to be way too cute and charming for that. (Except sociopaths are capable of charm...huh. Back to the drawing board.) Anyway. Even in my actual, real life, I try to experience emotions as infrequently as possible. This is only truer for the books I read. In Cold Blood is a true crime narrative detailing the crime, investigation, and trial related to the murder of four members of the Clutter family, and therefore I wasn’t planning on feeling anything if at all possible. Because, duh, emotions related to that aren’t exactly going to be the equivalent of “eating cotton candy while at the top of a Ferris wheel at a fair in the beginning of summer” or “hearing an infant laugh for the first time.” And yet, by page 50, Truman Capote had me feeling overwhelmingly fond of the Clutter family. I knew what was going to happen to them. Even if I hadn’t known the book’s synopsis going in, I would have felt the building tension. Somehow, though, even though I knew what was coming, I was really hoping the Clutters would be okay. Mr. Clutter, the tenet of his community. Mrs. Clutter, who finally felt she might be overcoming her lifelong struggle with mental health. Nancy, the sweet, kind teenager who overbooked herself because she didn’t want to say no to anybody. Kenyon, nerdier than his older sister, but smart and kind and passionate. As I read about their lives on and before November 15, 1959, I hoped they would be okay. Even as Perry Smith and Dick Hickock entered their home late at night, I hoped they would somehow leave a survivor. What I expected out of this book was an exciting, impressive rendering of a horrible crime. I got a lot more. I was made to care about these people, and to feel their loss. I empathized with their loved ones, their community, their police force. I could have read about the Clutters for much longer than I did. Unfortunately, the Clutters and the crime itself only took up about a third of the book. The remaining two thirds followed the investigation and the trial, but more than that, it followed the killers. I felt no pity for Dick Hickock. I don’t think I was supposed to, or I hope I wasn’t. Because that guy was a piece of total sh*t. I’m someone who believes that people can be partially exonerated by their circumstances, but Dick Hickock had no circumstance that could make up for what a f*cker he was. Perry Smith, on the other hand. Even for him, who suffered all his life, I was only able to feel partial pity. A sickening kind of pity - it nauseated me to read about him. Maybe if this book felt more focused on the Clutters, I would have given it five stars. I don’t know. It’s still a four star read because it’s so impressive. It’s no wonder that this book to some extent birthed the genre of true crime as it is today. The exhaustive research and attention to detail is pretty much astonishing, and the writing is for the most part beautiful. But the later parts of the narrative were sickening, and hard and unpleasant to read. Not just for their content, but for the treatment of the people it followed. I don’t know. It felt like it strayed a lot from the Clutters. Maybe it wasn’t ever supposed to be their story - maybe it was Perry and Dick’s all along. But I’d prefer to think it wasn’t. Bottom line: I love true crime. I love classics. This feels outside of both of those genres. Genre-defying. I don’t even know what it is. It’s good. Hopefully that’s enough. ------------- PRE-REVIEW i am so glad that i'm sticking to my plan of reading a classic a month. (i'm so proud of myself you'd never guess it's THE SECOND MONTH OF THE YEAR.) i always forget how much i love classics until i pick them up??? they're classic for a reason. whatever. i digress. this is a great book and i'll review it at some point hurray

  21. 4 out of 5

    Annemarie

    This honestly is one of the best books I have ever read and it certainly was the best non-fiction book I have ever read. I was utterly captivated by it, from start to finish. The way it was written was just so perfect and fitting - incredibly suspenseful and matter of fact, but still with a touch of emotion. I think the official term for this book is "non-fiction novel" and while I get why it gets this label, I personally wouldn't actually call it that. Sure, it has the quality of a novel and sh This honestly is one of the best books I have ever read and it certainly was the best non-fiction book I have ever read. I was utterly captivated by it, from start to finish. The way it was written was just so perfect and fitting - incredibly suspenseful and matter of fact, but still with a touch of emotion. I think the official term for this book is "non-fiction novel" and while I get why it gets this label, I personally wouldn't actually call it that. Sure, it has the quality of a novel and shares some of the characteristics, but there is something else there, something that makes this specific book unique. Even though it's as captivating as a novel, it doesn't exactly read like fiction. I was always painfully aware that this is NOT a made up story, that all of this has, in fact, really happened. The whole thing was told with so much intensity that you just KNOW that all of this HAS to come from real life. It was extremely easy for me to picture everything in my head, literally everything! There was an entire movie playing in my head while reading and I loved. every. single. second. of it. Something I also very much appreciated was the fact that Capote didn't insert himself into the story. If you do some googling, you can find out how interesting his research journey was. To give you a short summary: He drove to the area of the crime shortly after it happened, accompanied by his childhood friend Harper Lee (yes, that Harper Lee), they talked to residents and investigators and together they collected over 8.000 (!) notes; later Capote also talked to the perpetrators directly - altogether he worked six years on the book. I'm sure he would have had lots to tell about this whole journey and I'm sure it would have been interesting as well. HOWEVER, it would have been ill-fitting and inappropriate in a book about such a serious topic. Capote concentrated on what's important - why and how these murders were committed and who the killers and, more importantly, who the victims were. The whole thing just seemed really respectful, everyone got the amount of time and space they deserved. I make such a big deal out of this because I've seen it happen before, someone writing a non-fiction book and them making a lot of it about themselves and their own life, making the whole thing part-memoir. When I pick up a book about a certain topic I expect to read about this topic and not about the authors life! So yeah, I am very much thankful that Capote focused on the right things here. All in all, this truly was just a magnificent book. Seriously, I could write down every single positive adjective in the English language and all of them would express what I feel. I recommend it to everyone, even to the people who aren't particularly interested in true crime, simply so you can experience some wonderful and well thought out writing.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    Chilling An outstanding and powerful work of literature, even more impressive because it conveyed true crimes, a profound investigative insight, the vivid sense of time and place, and the atmosphere that cloaked the evil events carried out on November 15 in 1959, in Holcomb, Kansas. Truman Capote is an artist that painted every detail of the story with such a detailed flow that causes us to stop and appreciate the surroundings rather than wishing the story was being pushed at a faster pace. Lookin Chilling An outstanding and powerful work of literature, even more impressive because it conveyed true crimes, a profound investigative insight, the vivid sense of time and place, and the atmosphere that cloaked the evil events carried out on November 15 in 1959, in Holcomb, Kansas. Truman Capote is an artist that painted every detail of the story with such a detailed flow that causes us to stop and appreciate the surroundings rather than wishing the story was being pushed at a faster pace. Looking at America in the 50s from the perspective of a foreigner we often think more of a Holywood version of an innocent age, affluent, white picket fences, apple pie, and rock and roll pervading the airwaves. If anyone asked me when and where I'd liked to have lived it would have been the US in the 1950s. In Cold Blood smashes that image with the reality that cruelty can take away life, a community’s character and the idyllic vision I'd imagined above. The murders of four of the Clutter family by Dick Hickock and Perry Smith for $40, stunned not only the population of Holcomb but ultimately a world-wide audience. My vision, I so wanted to believe of the US, couldn't have been better envisioned than by Holcomb in the 1950s, where families rarely locked their doors and the safety of the neighbourhood was never doubted. Hickock and Smith not only brutally destroyed the lives of four innocent people but destroyed the fundamental promise of safety in our own homes. The story explores the background of the murderers, what drove them, how they considered what they had done, the investigation into the crimes, and the community that became fearful and suspicious that for a long time they did not know who was responsible. To achieve this nonfiction novel with such beautiful prose is a seminal point in literature where it is arguable that Capote created a new genre. I have for a long time been fascinated by the relationship between Truman Capote and Harper Lee and how they helped each other research and draft their renowned classics. It is interesting that Harper Lee had been inspired during the ‘In Cold Blood’ collaboration with Capote to research and use the case of Robert Burns who shot dead the serial killer, Reverend Willie Maxwell, to write her own true-crime novel - which never materialised. Another relationship Capote shattered during his years of self-destruction. I do believe this is a must-read novel and is surely a classic and a powerful combination of true-crime with such beautiful writing talent. I have my wonderful friend Julie Grippo who encouraged me to read this book and read along with me when I had the opportunity to do so. Thank you so much, Julie, and please see her brilliant review at https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    A sprawling, unflinching look into a grisly small-town murder motivated by greed and enabled by an astounding indifference to human suffering, written in arresting prose that fully renders the psychology of the perpetrators and victims alike.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    It is clear from reading In Cold Blood that not only is Philip Seymour Hoffman an excellent writer, but he is also an in-depth researcher. Every line in this book is painstakingly detailed and therein, as they say, is the devil. Well, the devil had me hooked from start to finish. Beginning with a day-in-the-life of the Clutter family shortly before four of its members were slain, Mr. Hoffman presents the real-life tale of the murders (as well as its aftermath) in a somewhat nonlinear fashion, ski It is clear from reading In Cold Blood that not only is Philip Seymour Hoffman an excellent writer, but he is also an in-depth researcher. Every line in this book is painstakingly detailed and therein, as they say, is the devil. Well, the devil had me hooked from start to finish. Beginning with a day-in-the-life of the Clutter family shortly before four of its members were slain, Mr. Hoffman presents the real-life tale of the murders (as well as its aftermath) in a somewhat nonlinear fashion, skipping past the killings themselves to account for the daily activities and whereabouts of their perpetrators—Dick Hickock and Perry Smith—until finally revealing, once Hickock and Smith are caught, the goings-on at the Clutter family home on the night of the murders. All of this, I think, adds to the intensity of the storytelling and maintains the suspense necessary to move the narrative along. The Clutter family home in Holcomb, KS, site of the November 15, 1959 murders. Though the writing is technically perfect, and someone (like Trudi) might come onto this review and yell at me for having attributed to it an incorrect number of stars, it is difficult for me to award that fifth star in cases where the book fails to rock my world, emotionally speaking. In other words, a book has to have its way with me—it needs to seduce me and whisper into my ear, and even making breakfast for me in the morning wouldn’t hurt. But these are just explanatory ramblings, and they are mostly unnecessary. Because this really is one helluva book. In doing some research of my own I have discovered that Mr. Hoffman was not alone in his procurement of the details for this book. His good friend Catherine Keener, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, accompanied him to the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, where the murders took place. He did this, presumably, to maximize the information-garnering potential for his manuscript. But oddly enough, Keener is not credited anywhere in the novel as having made any contribution to it whatsoever. Come to think of it, though, neither is Philip Seymour Hoffman.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ɗẳɳ 2.☊

    This book is another example of why I’m not all that interested in nonfiction, or maybe it’s just true crime in general. The writing was stellar, the characterization was well done, the scenes were vividly captured, and the dialog was spot-on. Yet this story somehow failed to captivate me. In fact, it took me nearly the same amount of time to read Stephen King’s kitten squisher of a novel The Stand as it did this book, which is roughly ¼ the size. At first glance, there are only a few things I c This book is another example of why I’m not all that interested in nonfiction, or maybe it’s just true crime in general. The writing was stellar, the characterization was well done, the scenes were vividly captured, and the dialog was spot-on. Yet this story somehow failed to captivate me. In fact, it took me nearly the same amount of time to read Stephen King’s kitten squisher of a novel The Stand as it did this book, which is roughly ¼ the size. At first glance, there are only a few things I could pinpoint which seemed out of place. Such as a few too many digressions over ultimately irrelevant characters, or these random info dumps which served little purpose. Did we really need to see a sample page from Perry’s personal dictionary? That was downright painful to read through, see spoiler: (view spoiler)[And there were half a hundred other items he had decided he must take with him, among them his treasure maps, Otto’s sketchbook, and two thick notebooks, the thicker of which constituted his personal dictionary, a non-alphabetically listed miscellany of words he believed “beautiful” or “useful,” or at least “worth memorizing.” (Sample page: “Thanatoid = deathlike; Omnilingual = versed in languages; Amerce = punishment, amount fixed by court; Nescient = ignorance; Facinorous = atrociously wicked; Hagiophobia = a morbid fear of holy places & things; Lapidicolous = living under stones, as certain blind beetles; Dyspathy = lack of sympathy, fellow feeling; Psilopher = a fellow who fain would pass as a philosopher; Omophagia = eating raw flesh, the rite of some savage tribes; Depredate = to pillage, rob, and prey upon; Aphrodisiac = a drug or the like which excites sexual desire; Megalodactylous = having abnormally large fingers; Myrtophobia = fear of night and darkness.”) (hide spoiler)] It’s also worth noting that this story is not a completely factual account. Capote often embellished scenes and went into great detail about private conversations, thoughts, and even dreams. He wished to bring journalism into the fold of proper literature by adding a few narrative flourishes. A new technique he described as a “nonfiction novel.” (There was a long New York Times interview in which he discussed this style of writing with George Plimpton.) Knowing many of the details of the case beforehand undermined any potential mystery. But then Capote didn’t make any attempts to hide facts or string together a mystery. He often did the exact opposite, letting major details slip long before we ever saw the scenes play out. He effectively piqued my curiosity at what possible motive could have led to such a horrific crime. However, when that proved to be the lowest common denominator, all that remained was essential a character study. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much depth of character to these saintly victims. I have a hard time believing anyone’s perfect, yet that’s exactly how the family was portrayed here. The kind and generous father, who was a leader and pillar of the community, the perfect son, the perfect daughter, who all the boys loved, who all the girls wished to emulate. No matter how busy her schedule, she always found the time to help out younger girls with their music instructions, cooking, or homemaking lessons. Only the wife and mother was shown to be anything less than flawless. She suffered from postpartum depression, and often stayed locked away in her separate bedroom. When these saints were slaughtered, panic and terror ran rampant throughout the small community. Everyone assumed that the murders must have been committed by one of their own. Suspicion and mistrust of neighbors spread like wildfire. Rumors and gossip reached a fevered pitch. Front doors were locked for the first time in memory. It’s during this frenzied time that we meet a few of the more colorful characters, such as the mail messenger, Mother Truitt, the oldest native-born resident, who was loud and opinionated and seemingly knew all the towns’ dirty laundry. And the conscientious and hardworking KBI agent, Alvin Dewey, assigned to oversee the investigation, whose health and sleep suffered greatly with worry over what clues he was missing. But make no mistake, it’s the two criminals themselves, Dick and Perry, who were the main focus of the narrative, and thus, by default, the most interesting characters. That fact alone played into the main issue I had with the book. I’m typically a big fan of dark stories, but knowing that these horrific events happened to real people curbed my enthusiasm by a factor of about a million. I found it virtually impossible to sympathize with these perps’ difficult childhoods, or whatever poor life decisions may have led them down the wrong path. Honestly, I didn’t care to delve into any aspects of their lives. These criminals weren’t all that interesting or clever; their crimes weren’t all that unique. In fact, Capote actually went into quite a bit of detail about several other murder sprees that took place around the same time. I’m not sure how this crime so captivated a nation, when it occurred in a rural town, in flyover country, and involved no one of great notoriety. Maybe it all stems from the loss of innocence in America. Yesteryear was a time marked by close-knit communities and unlocked doors, with friendly neighbors willing to work together to help the less fortunate. Then this shocking crime exploded into the headlines and shined a light on the seedy underbelly of America. Where all is not peace, love, and harmony; all are not working together toward the common good. This crime was the catalyst that sparked a change in those communities. People lost faith and trust in one another and grew suspicious of their neighbors. If something like that could happen there, it could happen anywhere. Best to lock the doors, oil the guns, and stay forever diligent! 3 Stars - Sorry, but to me, the entire story played out like an extended Dateline NBC episode. Read as part of another Non-Crunchy Cool Classic Buddy Read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Reev Robledo

    Capote paints perfect pictures of every character. You can almost feel them breathing right beside you. Their thoughts, their mannerisms, their physique, their psyche, etc. Bravo. He painstakingly describes every detail—with thousands of commas and dashes preceding thousands of commas and dashes—his keen sense of observation (and exaggeration) is both impressive and tiring at the same time. I felt that Truman probably held the details of every interview close to his heart hence a lot of unnecessa Capote paints perfect pictures of every character. You can almost feel them breathing right beside you. Their thoughts, their mannerisms, their physique, their psyche, etc. Bravo. He painstakingly describes every detail—with thousands of commas and dashes preceding thousands of commas and dashes—his keen sense of observation (and exaggeration) is both impressive and tiring at the same time. I felt that Truman probably held the details of every interview close to his heart hence a lot of unnecessary banter between town-folk, relatives and even very minor characters were not omitted. The conversations were crucial, but somewhat too plenty. I couldn't help but think of one of Disney's famous editing principles while reading this book: If it's not important in the telling of the story, cut it out. Of course, this is way beyond the family-oriented themes good ol' Walt implemented. It's gruesome, shocking and certainly deserves the accolade of the "true-crime" genre. I love how Capote matter-of-factly drops sentences that depict the horror of the crime done after a rather mundane recollection of events. "I slit his throat." is one. Narratives of Nancy, Sue, Al Dewey stood out, perhaps because they had a natural flow to the story-telling and did not sound like a police report. Mrs. Kidwell's dream, though briefly described and wildly unbelievable, was haunting. Now let me tell you why I am not impressed. My biggest question is: Would I have enjoyed this book if I didn't know that it was real? Will it stand up on its own minus the decades of controversy around it? The answer lies in the text itself. The book is obviously a novelized transcript of interviews: if it isn't, then it certainly felt like it was. Truman Capote "filled in the blanks" with suppositions, questionable truths, and fictional drama—that wouldn't be an issue had he not boldly claimed his work to be "non-fiction". It is my belief that Truman wanted to shock the mainstream with his empathic crusade for the murderers. Without question, he had an affinity for Perry and Judge Tate, and a clear distaste for Dick. Perhaps during the interviews, Hickok was appalled by Truman's nosy intrusions and homosexuality—that's just a guess—while Smith was more accommodating. I am not sure if I am simply desensitized by the countless crime books, tv shows and movies I've seen. But I did not feel an ounce of pity towards the criminals. Things would have probably been different if I had read this in the 60s or 70s when coverage of crimes like these were bold and anti-Hollywood, therefore "cool". Forgive my natural tendency to reject what's popular...for what most claim to be "a really great novel". I just had too many "Oh c'mon, how could you (Capote) have been there to know that?" moments to merit praise. Based on further research, many of the characters deny that many events in the book (Mrs. Meir having a picnic with Perry in jail for one) really happened. Had this been categorized as a tale based on true events, then I would have given it double the stars. If you say this story is true, then I'll be doggoned if pertinent details were fabricated just to express that "creative license". It doesn't only not help in the telling of the story, it just makes the story something else entirely—a fictional one.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lucy Langford

    Between 3.5-4****. ”I thought that Mr. Clutter was a very nice gentleman. I thought so right up to the moment that I cut his throat.” This is one of Capote’s most famous works. The non-fiction, true crime account, of the quadruple murder of the Clutter Family in the small town of Garden City, in Holcomb, Kansas. This book gives a comprehensive account of the investigation of the slaying of this family. Capote compiled over 8,000 pages of notes, along with interviews of those who were part of the in Between 3.5-4****. ”I thought that Mr. Clutter was a very nice gentleman. I thought so right up to the moment that I cut his throat.” This is one of Capote’s most famous works. The non-fiction, true crime account, of the quadruple murder of the Clutter Family in the small town of Garden City, in Holcomb, Kansas. This book gives a comprehensive account of the investigation of the slaying of this family. Capote compiled over 8,000 pages of notes, along with interviews of those who were part of the investigation, the towns people and the murderers. He went into humongous amounts of detail of research into these murders, presenting a horrific crime that readers ever since have studied and pondered over. Capote’s writing is broken up into sections of a timeline of the murders. It consecutively follows: the family before the crime, after the crime and the investigation, the court case, and death row. Capote simultaneously provides a triple narrative from those of the investigators POV, townspeople POV and the murderers POV. Due to his thorough research, Capote was able to humanise all of the victims and provide a back story and personality to the Clutter family, and bring the importance and remembrance of a family that may be overlooked as just of being known as a “mass killing” - he gives them a voice. In addition, Capote also gives character and humanises the officers and investigators in charge of the crime, their home life and personality, and the steps of the crime procedure they had to go through to gain the eventual arrests of Dick Hickcock and Perry Smith. In particular to this novel, Capote payed true attention to he psychology of both murderers, how this effected their relationship to each other and their approach in the crime. He payed particular attention to their home lives and what they were like growing up, providing possible influencers of their social situations to lead them to committing this crime. I would have particularly liked to have seen how a thorough psychological analysis (which had happened and Capote thoroughly accounts of this, but was consequently not brought up in court) would have possibly effected any trial decisions. Overall this book was a fascinating true crime piece of work and was so detailed and well-researched, providing accounts and important narratives to a multitude of people, and how a vicious crime and subsequent investigation effects the lives of those involved. The reason why I have given this 3.5-4 stars is that I found some parts almost too dramatised or unneeded.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    Within 10 minutes of finishing In Cold Blood you'll be on the internet searching for pictures of the killers and victims of this real world multiple-slaying narrated brilliantly by Truman Capote. The photos are there, and like a voyeur, you'll be drawn, captivated, needing to see the mug shots, the murdered family, the courtroom stills, the crime scene, each room that held a body with a head blown open like a busted melon. Capote breathes such realism into the characters that all you'll need to m Within 10 minutes of finishing In Cold Blood you'll be on the internet searching for pictures of the killers and victims of this real world multiple-slaying narrated brilliantly by Truman Capote. The photos are there, and like a voyeur, you'll be drawn, captivated, needing to see the mug shots, the murdered family, the courtroom stills, the crime scene, each room that held a body with a head blown open like a busted melon. Capote breathes such realism into the characters that all you'll need to make the story complete are those black-and-white photos. With an economy of words and language that is clear and straightforward, Capote successfully makes a difficult story very readable, very believable. The difficult part was taking a true story constructed from witness statements, interrogations, and multiple interviews between killers and author, and then salting in between with a dialogue that is perfectly deduced from a close personal knowledge of the killers--their attributes, their movements, their proclivities. I felt like I was watching the action unfold, not so much reading it. And yet, Capote was able to do this without the cloyed techniques so prevalent in the mass media paperbacks you find at large grocery store chains. There are no outrageous cliffhangers between chapters, no desperate chases, no irrational climax, no unknown player revealed in chapter finis. In fact, he chose to introduce the murderers up front, then coolly alternates chapters between killers and victims, and then, when victims were eliminated, between killers and prosecutors. I liked this approach. It's uncommon. I liked the way it disarmed me, and made it a story of mechanical transaction rather than an emotional racetrack. For this reason the story, for me, was one of 'why' instead of 'how.' I also liked that Capote applied psychoanalysis to the crime. Surely there must have been some insanity involved. But no, not really! And that was the real surprise. Apart from a tough childhood and some persistant hard knocks, the killers were probably no more deviant than a majority of cases that fall through the juvenille system, even today. The key ingredient to the crime was the bizarre congruency of their personalities--merely deviant when separated--that when mixed together created a lethal combination. Operating together, the killers must have felt the bewilderment one experiences when finding 2 spalls of broken rock in a large pile and suddenly, absurdly, fitting them exactly together. New word: sartorial

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jilly

    Every once in a while I feel the need to get a couple of IQ points back by reading something that is considered a "classic" or won prizes or whatever. So, this book is based on a real murder that happened way back in the 1950's. A family was killed in a small town in Kansas and it was a big deal. Not like these days. We hardly flinch anymore when the weekly killing spree is on the news. Truman Capote was super obsessed with this case and took his buddy, Harper Lee, with him to Kansas where they i Every once in a while I feel the need to get a couple of IQ points back by reading something that is considered a "classic" or won prizes or whatever. So, this book is based on a real murder that happened way back in the 1950's. A family was killed in a small town in Kansas and it was a big deal. Not like these days. We hardly flinch anymore when the weekly killing spree is on the news. Truman Capote was super obsessed with this case and took his buddy, Harper Lee, with him to Kansas where they interviewed everyone extensively in this small town. This book was the result and took him 6 years to get out. He insisted that it is completely factual even though he was called a filthy liar with pants on fire because "they" say he made some things up. Personally, I don't care. The book is good whether or not he exaggerated or gave "alternative facts." Again, sign of the times. We are so used to facts being spun that we don't even expect absolute truth anymore. The only thing that was difficult for me with this book was the unbelievably descriptive writing. I have little patience for long flowing sentences with many many adjectives to describe a wheat field. I die of boredom really easily. It's a problem. But, I pressed through it because I am brave like that, and I found myself very immersed in the story. I don't know if it is because all of that purple prose got my mind envisioning the story better than others or what, but it worked. Still not a converted fan of the excess adjectives though. I made ONE exception. Can I go back to my vampire smut books now? Cool! See ya!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Duane

    With all the commonplace violence we are faced with today, bombarded constantly by a 24/7 news cycle, portrayals of violence in movies, video games, etc., it's easy to see why there may be a level of indifference, even apathy toward the problem. But occasionally a crime is committed that rocks us to the core; a crime so senseless, so brutal, that it defies explanation. This murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb Kansas in 1959 is just such a crime. Senseless: they stole less than 50 dollars. Br With all the commonplace violence we are faced with today, bombarded constantly by a 24/7 news cycle, portrayals of violence in movies, video games, etc., it's easy to see why there may be a level of indifference, even apathy toward the problem. But occasionally a crime is committed that rocks us to the core; a crime so senseless, so brutal, that it defies explanation. This murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb Kansas in 1959 is just such a crime. Senseless: they stole less than 50 dollars. Brutal: they shot their 4 victims in the head at close range with a shotgun. Of course, this crime, as violent as it was, would have been lost in the annals of crime history if not for Truman Capote. His relentless research, which led to this brilliant 1966 "non-fiction novel"' and the subsequent movie by the same name, will shine a spotlight on this innocent family and their brutal killers, Richard "Dick" Hickock and Perry Smith, for years to come. One of the interesting side notes for me was the fact that Capote's childhood friend, author Harper Lee, accompanied and assisted him in his research for this book. My reason for 4 stars instead of 5 is my dislike for the genre, and there were a few minor details that bothered me. But it's an extraordinary literary achievement, no doubt, and one that defines Capote's career still today.

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