In Cold Blood Paperback – Feb 1 1994
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"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.
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In the wake of the award-winning film Capote, interest in the author's 1965 true crime masterpiece has spiked. Capote's spellbinding narrative plumbs the psychological and emotional depths of a senseless quadruple murder in America's heartland. In the audio version, narrator Brick keeps up with the master storyteller every step of the way. In fact, Brick's surefooted performance is nothing short of stunning. He settles comfortably into every character on this huge stage—male and female, lawman and murderer, teen and spinster—and moves fluidly between them, generating the feel of a full-cast production. He assigns varying degrees of drawl to the citizens of Finney County, Kans., where the crimes take place, and supplements with an arsenal of tension-building cadences, hard and soft tones, regional and foreign accents, and subtle inflections, even embedding a quiver of grief in the voice of one character. This facile audio actor delivers an award-worthy performance, well-suited for a tale of such power that moves not only around the country but around the territory of the human psyche and heart. Available as a Vintage paperback. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The narrative centres upon the murder of a Kansas family by two men, Perry Smith and Dick Hicock, who are in many ways far from typical killers, much less cold blooded killers. The family, the Clutters of Holcombe, Kansas, are far from typical victims, nor is this the kind of place such a murder would be expected. Capote does a remarkable job at an even-handed analysis and narrative treatment of all the characters, from the family itself to the townspeople and investigators, as well as the murderers themselves. Perhaps it is because he found an area of identification?
This is a psychological thriller of a sort - at least it would be, were it not a true life tale. Getting into the minds of the criminals and the investigators was no easy task for Capote, but what comes forth on the page is very crisp and insightful reporting, without the kinds of embellishments one might expect from a figure such as Capote when dealing with middle-America folk.
The question of why for the killing is still never fully resolved, despite Capote's attempt to set out all the story and psychological detail.Read more ›
And Capote can write, which was what I was looking to verify. His approach is clever; he’s literary, even flashy, in the beginning, but because he doesn’t want to alienate the “average reader, or so I’m assuming (it is a crime story after all), he pulls back and writes plainly for several chapters. Toward the end, he shows off a little, but never too much. Generally, he employs a less-is-more approach and his description is succinct yet compelling.
Really, there’s so much to like about this book. The psychological profiles and personalities of the criminals, the backgrounds of the victims, the townsfolk of Holcomb, Kansas and their perspectives, the absurdity of the justice system (re appeals and delays); it’s all utterly engrossing. Capote did loads of research and thought carefully about how to present his findings. The result is smart entertainment.
If you’re a book snob, In Cold Blood should pass your test. If you’re interested in true crime, I doubt there are many who can scribble about it like Capote can. There’s a reason this book still gets shelf space. It’s good.
I’ve heard other writers ridicule Truman Capote. Perhaps they were contemptuous of his flamboyant nature. Or perhaps they were just jealous of his writing.
Troy Parfitt is the author of Why China Will Never Rule the World
Most recent customer reviews
Absolutely fascinating tale, and certainly shows a different site of Mr Capote's excellent writing skill. Read morePublished 11 days ago by S. Burden
In Cold Blood is a fictionalization of a true crime drama that details accurately (although there has been some controversy about that) the events leading up to the cold-blooded... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Mys M
I really enjoyed this book. Being an athiest is very challenging in 12 step meetings. Bucky made this book easy to read and understand
i totally recommend it if you are... Read more
As mentioned by many, THE American crime story. Superbly written and will grip you from start to finish. I can't believe it took me this long to read it.Published 7 months ago by Brian
Capote paints a stark and haunting picture of a small Midwestern town in crises after the senseless slaying of an influential family. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Liz
Vivid pictures of an honourable and respected family murdered by monstrous but somehow human killers for petty cash. The narrative quickly sucks you into the vortex of events.Published 12 months ago by Nikoleta