In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood

A True Account of A Multiple Murder and Its Consequences

Book - 2013
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Overview: Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time. Truman Capote's masterpiece, In Cold Blood, created a sensation when it was first published, serially, in The New Yorker in 1965. The intensively researched, atmospheric narrative of the lives of the Clutter family of Holcomb, Kansas, and of the two men, Richard Eugene Hickock and Perry Edward Smith, who brutally killed them on the night of November 15, 1959, is the seminal work of the "new journalism." Perry Smith is one of the great dark characters of American literature, full of contradictory emotions. "I thought he was a very nice gentleman," he says of Herb Clutter. "Soft-spoken. I thought so right up to the moment I cut his throat." Told in chapters that alternate between the Clutter household and the approach of Smith and Hickock in their black Chevrolet, then between the investigation of the case and the killers' flight, Capote's account is so detailed that the reader comes to feel almost like a participant in the events.
Publisher: New York, New York :, Modern Library, an imprint of the Random House Publishing Group,, 2013.
Edition: 2013 Modern Library edition.
Copyright Date: ©1965
ISBN: 9780812994384
0812994388
Branch Call Number: 364.1523 Capote
Characteristics: viii, 396 pages ;,21 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Truman Capote set the true crime narrative bar very high with this landmark book. The murder of Kansas' own Clutter family and the tale of its two perpetrators continues to fascinate readers more than fifty years after the first throat was slit.

Actor Alan Tudyk from Firefly fame picked this renowned Capote book that redefined non-fiction storytelling.

Lorie - Capote's classic work of novel-sized journalism. Fiction (based on meticulous research) fills in the gaps where fact isn't known. Capote himself called this narrative nonfiction style a "nonfiction novel." Do you agree? In most libraries it is shelved with true crime (nonfiction... Read More »

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JCLMattC Jun 14, 2017

Portions of this novel dragged for me, I'll admit, but the rest was exciting. Some parts were shattering. Having watched Capote starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, I can't help but feel the author's presence lurking just outside the perimeter of the text.


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d
deborahbates
Jul 19, 2019

Probably good if you are into the True Crime genre. It was on my reading list for school, I found it a little dull and a little unpleasant.

l
lendmeyourears2017
Jun 02, 2019

“Imagination of course can open any door, turn the key and let terror walk right in.”

-Truman Capote, author

The author, Truman Capote, paints a vivid picture of the scene, the times, and the people involved as he develops this story leaving the listener with just the beginning sense of foreboding as the book opens. He exercises his writer’s skills to bring a beautiful, almost fluid descriptive text of the good and bad in people.

Various people in the community had possible motivation for committing this crime – grudge holders, disgruntled employees, daughter’s boyfriend, collecting Mr. Clutter’s life insurance. Outsiders with a robbery motive were low on the list. You listen with rapt attention as the three story lines – the killers, the family, towns people – converge to the ultimate climax of this story.

How were the Clutter’s singled out by Dick Hickock and Perry Smith as their murder victims? How did the KBI (Kansas Bureau of Investigation) finally break this case? You’ll have to listen to nearly the end to find out! It’s unexpected, sad, and just a matter of unhappy chance for all concerned.

The reader, Scott Brick, keeps your attention riveted throughout this story. His vocal skills really add to the great storytelling of the author, Truman Capote. Together they take you to Holcomb, Kansas in the late 1950’s when people felt safe in their homes and strangers were friends you hadn’t met yet.

This audio book would be great as a travel companion this holiday season. The miles will fly by as you listen intently to Truman Capote’s version of the Clutter murders and subsequent clever arrest of Perry Smith/Dick Hickock. The author captures the mindset of the times – the feeling of security because you don’t live in the dangerous big city where vicious crime is common. He aptly relates the change in people’s attitude subsequent to the publicizing of the Clutter family’s murder.

This book is refreshing in that it occurs prior to DNA testing and modern forensic detecting techniques. The KBI just had a photo of boot sole patterns in the dust within the home/crime scene as their only clue. It’s considered to be a true crime novel, becoming the first in this genre. The author was able to interview townspeople and Perry Smith after his capture and conviction to delve deeper into the motivation and later reaction of those involved.

s
SimonRAD
Oct 04, 2018

Top 5 True Crime book of all time. Flawless.

x
Xambro7
Sep 10, 2018

This was a great read. My wife, who usually is aghast at "all the negative media" I read and watch, said "oh, it's a classic". Due to subject matter, she would never be caught moribund reading it. But I liked it, the writing was superb.

j
jachayden
May 05, 2018

Not sure what all the fuss is about from the true-crime-fan community. I found it rather tedious and if it was not such a classic I would not have made myself finish it. Obviously I am happy that the killers were caught and they family can rest in peace knowing justice was somewhat served, but before reading this I had assumed this was an unsolved case and that's why the case has been so notorious for so long. I think knowing who the murderers are throughout the novel is part of what makes it so boring. There's no mystery to it all; it's just 350 pages of a tragic story and a page by page reminder of why these killings were so completely pointless. Completed 5/2/18.

m
mogie
Feb 11, 2018

It was a really detailed and well researched book but at the same time easy to read. If you like true crime I recommend it. I normally have difficulty reading alternating story lines but I did not with this book.

Cynthia_N Dec 15, 2017

I was a little disappointed in this one. It wasn't bad but it just didn't live up to my expectations.

JCLMattC Jun 14, 2017

Portions of this novel dragged for me, I'll admit, but the rest was exciting. Some parts were shattering. Having watched Capote starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, I can't help but feel the author's presence lurking just outside the perimeter of the text.

q
QUASAR BEHN
May 22, 2017

Mesmerizing!

Amy_MarkhamPL Feb 07, 2017

Breathtaking and incredible, In Cold Blood is one of my favourite books of all time. Truman Capote's exhaustingly-researched true crime book, detailing a multiple murder and its consequences, reads like a haunting and beautiful novel. “No one will ever know what In Cold Blood took out of me,” Capote once said. “It scraped me right down to the marrow of my bones. It nearly killed me. I think, in a way, it did kill me.”

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rpavlacic
Nov 04, 2016

rpavlacic thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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SPL_STARR Jun 16, 2015

"The village of Holcomb stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area that other Kansans call "out there." "

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