In Cold Blood by Truman Capote In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Narrator: Scott Brick
Published by Books on Tape on January 3, 2006 (first published January 1, 1965)
Source: Library
Genres: True Crime
Length: 14 hrs 27 mins
Pages: 343
Format: Audiobook
Purchase at Bookshop.org or Audible
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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.

In Cold Blood has been on my to-read list for a while. Honestly, I’m not sure why I put it off. I enjoy both true crime and crime novels and since this is one of the classics in the genre, chances were pretty good I’d enjoy it, which of course I did. Well, as much as you can “enjoy” the story of a horrible murder, of the men who committed it, and the law enforcement trying to track them down.

On November 15, 1959, Richard “Dick” Hickock and Perry Smith, on a tip from another inmate, went to the Clutter household in Holcomb, Kansas expecting to find a safe or $10,000 cash in the home. There was neither money nor a safe, but they had agreed to leave no witnesses, so the four family members in the house were killed. Due to the relentless work of the Kansas Bureau of Investigations led by Alvin Dewey, Hickock and Smith were eventually brought to justice and ultimately given the death penalty.

I don’t know how much is fact and how much is fiction here, and honestly, I don’t care. The descriptions make you feel like you’re there, in Kansas or Mexico or at the gallows. The characters are full and rich, and even the bad guys are sympathetic at times. There’s the sense of watching things unfold, of being there as the crimes are discovered, of being on the run with Hickock and Smith, of being with the investigators as they track down leads.

I listened to the audio. I like audios; I like the feeling of being told the story. Brick does a good job with the narration. His tone is appropriate to the scene, factual, introspective, or scared. It’s a captivating book.

About Truman Capote

Truman Garcia Capote (September 30, 1924 – August 25, 1984) was an American novelist, screenwriter, playwright and actor. Several of his short stories, novels, and plays have been praised as literary classics, including the novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1958) and the true crime novel In Cold Blood (1966), which he labeled a “non-fiction novel.” His works have been adapted into more than 20 films and television dramas.

Capote rose above a childhood troubled by divorce, a long absence from his mother, and multiple migrations. He had discovered his calling as a writer by the time he was eight years old, and he honed his writing ability throughout his childhood. He began his professional career writing short stories. The critical success of “Miriam” (1945) attracted the attention of Random House publisher Bennett Cerf and resulted in a contract to write the novel Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948). Capote earned the most fame with In Cold Blood (1966), a journalistic work about the murder of a Kansas farm family in their home. After this success, he published rarely and suffered from alcohol addiction. He died in 1984 at age 59.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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