In Cold Blood


Blurb: The chilling true crime ‘non-fiction novel’ that made Truman Capote’s name, In Cold Blood is a seminal work of modern prose, a remarkable synthesis of journalistic skill and powerfully evocative narrative published in Penguin Modern Classics. Controversial and compelling, In Cold Blood reconstructs the murder in 1959 of a Kansas farmer, his wife and both their children. Truman Capote’s comprehensive study of the killings and subsequent investigation explores the circumstances surrounding this terrible crime and the effect it had on those involved. At the centre of his study are the amoral young killers Perry Smith and Dick Hickcock, who, vividly drawn by Capote, are shown to be reprehensible yet entirely and frighteningly human.

Review:   After reading 50 pages of In Cold Blood, I searched on the internet for the killers and dead of this real world multiple-slaying narrated luminously by Truman Capote. I was surprised seeing the pictures, 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 brought life into the characters that I felt I was seeing the murders right in front of my eyes. Capote productively made a difficult story very readable and believable. The difficult part was taking a true story constructed from witness statements, interrogations, and interviews between killers and author, and then putting it in between with dialogues. Having never heard of the Clutter murders prior to reading this book, it was intense, gripping. 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 to us regarding the murders. It is impossible to abridge the impact of this book in a few paragraphs. There are no desperate chases or climax. The author introduced the murderers, and then evenly alternated chapters between killers and victims, and then, when victims were killed, between killers and prosecutors. I liked this approach. It’s exceptional. It’s recommendable to read only if you like thrillers/suspense/crime fiction, others please keep away.

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