Review: In Cold Blood

August 7, 2010 Whitney Review 16 Comments

Review: In Cold BloodIn Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Published by First Vintage International on February 1, 1994
Genres: True Crime
Source: Bought

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.

Through Truman Capote’s memorizing true crime account, we follow the case every step of the way.  Beginning at the finding of the bodies and ending at the gallows.    Not only does he skillfully craft this heinous crime but does so with the reader feeling empathy not only towards the Clutters but also their killers, Perry Smith, and Dick Hickcock.  Describing their lackluster childhoods but the reader is brought back to Earth after reading Perry Smith’s confession and once again as their bodies swing lifelessly from a noose.

Capote writes with such skill that it is sometimes forgotten that these heinous crimes were true and happened fifty years ago.  In Cold Blood is a heart-wrenching read that consumes your every being.


16 responses to “Review: In Cold Blood

  1. This one's been sitting on my bookshelf for so long. I was hoping to get to it this year but have yet to find time. Sounds like I need to make the time.

  2. A terrific read! I saw the b/w movie adaptation that was filmed at the real Clutter house. *Shudders* I thought the book was even more powerful after watching "Capote" right after I finished.

  3. This book was like a train wreck for me. I was at once repulsed and fascinated. The account of the murders was horrible, but what was most chilling was the view into the mind of the killer. Capote really was a genius with a pen.

  4. Coffee and a Book Chick, Lisa & Peppermint Ph.D– In Cold Blood is certainly worth putting on the list to read or reread.

    Rummanah Aasi– the b&w version is very creepy and the fact that it was filmed at the Clutter home only adds to that.

    Hopechaser– the only other true crime novel that has sent true shivers up my spine is Helter Skelter.

    Heather– I was like a heroin addict while reading this. I knew it was wrong, but just couldn't stop.

    Felicia– This would be a fabulous classic for 2011.

    BookQuoter– A Must for the list. Have you read My Cousin Rachel before? I'm a little nervous because I loved Rebecca so much, that I may be set the standers too high for "Rachel".

  5. Its funny – I just saw your post about giving up on the du Maurier novel and then scrolled down to see this review.

    In Cold Blood is one review that I gave up when I read it – I just couldn't get into it at al. I felt like I didn't know what was going on and I wasn't interested either. It was just boring.

  6. Becky–In Cold Blood is a little disturbing, so I can see why it's not for everyone. The one thing I had difficulty with was fathoming that these crimes actually happened.

    everynookandcranny– It's funny because In Cold Blood is the only work I've read of Capote's but have wanted to read his Christmas stories. My holiday tradition is reading David Sedaris's Holidays on Ice

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