|
Movies Books Music Food Tv Shows Technology Politics Video Games Parenting Fashion Green Living more >

Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » In Cold Blood » User review

In Cold Blood

A book by Truman Capote

< read all 9 reviews

The first "novelized" true crime non-fiction!

  • Oct 27, 2010
Rating:
+5
Dateline 1959, Holcomb, Kansas: Herb Clutter, a wealthy, well-respected God-fearing Methodist farmer, his wife and two children are brutally murdered in what modern police parlance would term a home invasion. The Clutters, dispatched without any apparent motive, made particularly poignant victims. Mr Clutter, a hard-working, successful farmer, allowed no drinking on his farm. Generous to a fault and yet prudent with his money to an extreme, he paid for everything by cheque. His attractive daughter, Nancy, a lovely young woman well-behaved, obedient and chaste to an extent that would baffle the modern teenage generation, loved to bake and regularly attended 4-H meetings. The son, Kenyon, also a good homebody who respected his father's word as law, loved to putter in their home workshop. The only cloud on their family horizon was Mrs Bonnie Clutter prone to debilitating fits of anxiety and depression.

IN COLD BLOOD, arguably the ground-breaking first book in the true crime genre that might be called "novelized" non-fiction, tells the story of the family, their murder, the murderers, the investigation that led to their capture, the trial and ultimate execution by hanging. Truman Capote's extensive investigation allowed him to reach into the very minds of the murderers and to re-write a story that allows readers to witness how the events leading up to the murder and the actual murder might have taken place in real time BUT from the point of view of the killers themselves, Richard "Dick" Hickock and Perry Edward Smith.

That the killers were twisted sociopaths is apparent throughout the book. Witness the banal, bleakly noir but paradoxical and utterly shocking statement that Smith made regarding Herb Clutter's murder to Capote during one of their interviews, "I didn't want to harm the man. I thought he was a very nice gentleman. Soft spoken. I thought so right up to the moment I cut his throat."

IN COLD BLOOD is an extraordinary compelling work, seminal and pioneering in its nature, that plumbs the depths of a motiveless multiple murder and brings the reaction of the community and a shocked nation to life. Small wonder that there is controversy to this day about the effect that writing this novel might have had on Truman Capote himself. There is little doubt that the effort left him a very changed man.

Highly recommended.

Paul Weiss

What did you think of this review?

Helpful
3
Thought-Provoking
3
Fun to Read
3
Well-Organized
3
Post a Comment
December 07, 2010
Great review, Paul! Very detailed and thorough!
 
1
More In Cold Blood reviews
review by . May 11, 2013
A clearly framed horrifying account of cold-blooded murder.
The murders that are graphically depicted in Truman Capote's In Cold Blood -which is now universally recognized more for its writing than anything else- are nauseating, grisly and malicious; these words do not aptly describe the frightful overtone, essence and nub of the book - that violence is not purely restricted to inner cities and to metropolises. The murders that occurred on 15 November 1959 in Holcomb, Kansas is the exclamation point to that alarming fact. Violent murders can happen in …
review by . October 15, 2010
Capote's prose is fantastic. His images are precise and vivid, and due to this his ability to create an encapsulating scene that truly puts the reader in the moment, in this Kansas city--a quiet, small-town paradise--as it was turned inside out after a quadruple murder. Capote delves deep into the psyche of the killers, while juxtaposing that to the solitary and yet dynamically-portrayed lives of the victims.
Quick Tip by . October 25, 2010
Read this when it first came out and have never forgotten it. Working on this book changed Capote's life, and not for the better.
Quick Tip by . October 25, 2010
First of the so-called non-fiction novel. The book is the biography of a crime, the victims, and particularly the murderers. What makes the book so good is that it is told with a novelist's ear for telling instead of an historian's eye to fact. It is no small feat to describe gruesome crime scene photos in a way that makes it compelling instead of just nauseating.
Quick Tip by . October 27, 2010
An extraordinary compelling work, seminal and pioneering in its nature, that plumbs the depths of a motiveless multiple murder in 1950s Kansas and brings the reaction of the community and a shocked nation to life. The first "novelized" true crime non-fiction.
Quick Tip by . June 24, 2010
Fabulous true crime novel
Quick Tip by . June 23, 2010
the things men do!
review by . May 15, 2010
If you read the first paragraph of Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" it may seem at first to just be a descriptive opening for the book until you read it again. Those opening lines can almost be scanned as poetry because Capote has breathed his life, his unique talent into them and as you read on, you'll see all the words of this true crime story transcend ordinary writing. It is the difference between a great writer and a mediocre one, that special life-breath, that rare life- force that is the hallmark …
review by . May 23, 2009
...if it only were one! I would feel so much better liking it. It is a brilliant piece of borderline writing, mixing 'fiction' and journalism.   Unfortunately it also seems to have done something highly immoral, if the story as told by the movie 'Capote' is correct: it seems that Capote deceived the killers, who are his subject of observation, into seeing him as 'on their side', ie supporting their defense. He befriended them, including unclear levels of personal attraction,and made one of …
review by . February 05, 2008
Truman Capote, with major help from Nell Harper Lee, produced groundbreaking work with 1965's In Cold Blood. These days there are probably few readers or film fans not already acquainted with the basic details of the crime upon which Capote based the book: Herb Clutter, his wife and two youngest children, both teenagers, were shot to death in November 1959 in their isolated Holcomb, Kansas, farmhouse. Two petty criminals who had recently been paroled by the Kansas prison system were arrested, convicted …
About the reviewer
Paul Weiss ()
Ranked #16
   A modern day dilettante with widely varied eclectic interests. A dabbler in muchbut grandmaster of none - wilderness camping in all four seasons, hiking, canoeing, world travel,philately, … more
Consider the Source

Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.

You
cpw1952
Your ratings:
rate more to improve this
About this book

Wiki

"Until one morning in mid-November of 1959, few Americans--in fact, few Kansans--had ever heard of Holcomb. Like the waters of the river, like the motorists on the highway, and like the yellow trains streaking down the Santa Fe tracks, drama, in the shape of exceptional happenings, had never stopped there." If all Truman Capote did was invent a new genre--journalism written with the language and structure of literature--this "nonfiction novel" about the brutal slaying of the Clutter family by two would-be robbers would be remembered as a trail-blazing experiment that has influenced countless writers. But Capote achieved more than that. He wrote a true masterpiece of creative nonfiction. The images of this tale continue to resonate in our minds: 16-year-old Nancy Clutter teaching a friend how to bake a cherry pie, Dick Hickock's black '49 Chevrolet sedan, Perry Smith's Gibson guitar and his dreams of gold in a tropical paradise--the blood on the walls and the final "thud-snap" of the rope-broken necks.
view wiki

Details

ISBN-10: 0679745580
ISBN-13: 978-0679745587
Author: Truman Capote
Genre: Literature & Fiction, Nonfiction
Publisher: Vintage
© 2014 Lunch.com, LLC All Rights Reserved
Lunch.com - Relevant reviews by real people.
()
This is you!
Ranked #
Last login
Member since
reviews
comments
ratings
questions
compliments
lists