IN COLD BLOOD by Truman Capote

Published: Penguin Classis, 2000 (Original: Random House, 1966)

My Rating: 5/5


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‘But, no, he was imagining too much. Dick would never do that – ‘spill his guts’. Think of how often he had heard him say, ‘They can beat me blind, I’ll never tell them anything.’ Of course, Dick was a ‘blowhard’; his toughness, as Perry had come to know, existed solely in situations where he unarguably had the upper hand.’ – p. 187


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Truman Capote’s IN COLD BLOOD reports the true story of the famous Clutter family murders in 1959. Split into four parts – ‘The Last to see Them Alive’, ‘Persons Unknown’, ‘Answer’, and ‘The Corner’ – Capote retells the act and aftermath of a seemingly unmotivated crime that shook small town America.

For crime fiction readers, IN COLD BLOOD is the perfect gateway into the world of true crime. Capote – famous for his outlandish stories and strange mind ‘reconstructs the murder […] of a Kansas farmer, his wife and children.’ (Penguin Classics, 2000) However, the use of fiction is a thread that ties this book together. Although somewhat controversial, Capote undeniably uses his imagination to litter the story with details – a choice that will gain a different and vast reaction solely dependent on the reader.

This reviewer in particular found Capotes blend of fiction and non-fiction somewhat thrilling – constantly having to remind myself that although the details may not be correct, this is no tale, but rather the very ugly and disturbing truth. Deep seeded in his writing, the gruesome acts on the Clutter family is made all-too-real by Capote’s hauntingly beautiful prose.

Recommended for those looking to find their enticing entrance into non-fiction crime reading, proceed with the knowledge that sometimes fact is stranger than fiction.