In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood

A True Account of A Multiple Murder and Its Consequences

Book - 2012
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On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues. As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.
Publisher: New York : Vintage International, 2012, c1965
Edition: Vintage International ed., July 2012.
ISBN: 9780679745587
0679745580
9780812994384
9780375507908
0375507906
9780679600237
067960023X
Call Number: 364.15 CAPOTE
TRUE CRIME
Characteristics: 343 p. ; 21 cm.
Subjects: Hickock, Richard Eugene, 1931-1965.
Smith, Perry Edward, 1928-1965.
Murder -- Kansas -- Case studies.
Murder -- Kansas.
Murder.
True crime stories.

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AlexaLe
Jul 22, 2020

Most of the time, we never really get to see a murder with the perspective of the murderer in mind. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote, allows us to do just that by telling the tragic true story of the murder of a family in Kansas by Perry Edward Smith and Richard Hickock, as well as the subsequent aftermath. The Clutter family was comprised of the well-liked Mr. Clutter, depressed Mrs. Clutter, outgoing Nancy Clutter, and intelligent Kenyon Clutter. After the family was shot and found, the leader of the investigation, Al Dewey, begins his fervent search to find the culprits of this heinous act. Meanwhile, Perry and Richard continue in their journey through life, for they left behind few clues that would give them away as the murderers. As the novel progresses, readers explore more about the two characters and their behavior after their crimes.

Although I have never been a fan of murder mysteries, I found that I thoroughly enjoyed Capote’s take on this gruesome event. Many are quick to assume that murderers deserve no mercy whatsoever, or that they only committed crimes for unthinkable reasons. However, by examining the behavior and histories of these two characters, readers are better able to understand why they made the decisions they did, as their actions and mentality stemmed from varying biological and environmental factors. The writing is compelling, and the fact that it is a true story makes it both mysterious and revealing at the same time. I highly recommend this book to those who are fans of mystery stories, but I would be cautious if you do not like violent scenes.

Age rating: 15+
Star rating: 5 stars

m
Mztripp
May 11, 2020

A real exercise in commitment. This book drug on like January 2020. The side tangents were confusing and the writing style very dull.

AndreaG_KCMO May 06, 2020

A riveting, nuanced examination of the crime and trial of Perry Smith and Richard Hickock. Capote explores issues of psychology, law, religion, and family life in his vast recreation of community upheaval. With detailed description of the ghastly murders early in the book, I wondered how Capote would achieve ample build-up through the final events of the story. I shouldn't have worried.

d
dalewsaville
Feb 16, 2020

Capote's book deserves the "masterpiece" designation. I found the book to be riveting and suspenseful, despite knowing the story through two different movies ("In Cold Blood" and "Capote"). It reads like a well written novel, opening on "the high wheat plains" and ending on "the wind voices of the wind-bent wheat." In between Capote tells the unbiased, detailed story of two men who brutally murder a family of four and their respective back stories. Normally I'm a slow reader, I finished the book across two days.

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.

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rpavlacic
Nov 04, 2016

rpavlacic thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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Star_14
Jul 10, 2020

The year is 1959. It's a quiet night in Holcomb, Kansas. November the fifteenth to be exact. The Clutter family is just finishing up watching the evening news, and getting ready to go up to bed. They have a long day tomorrow: tending to the farm, going to school, or cleaning their large house. But, unfortunately, they would not even make it to the next day. In fact, they would only live for another few hours, all snuggled up in their beds.

A little past midnight, they would be brutally murdered by blasts from a shotgun held only a few inches from their faces. When the detectives arrive to survey the scene, little motive can be found. Only between forty and fifty dollars are missing, and few significant connections can be made between the possible suspects and the Clutter family.

They were the most popular and most highly-regarded family in their town. So what did they do to give someone a reason to murder them...

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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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