A seminal work for the non fiction novel and the true crime genre, Truman Capote s In Cold Blood stands apart from most of its literary descendants Not only is it compelling and suspenseful even when you know like many crime dramatizations what s going to happen, it s also very well written In fact, its literary quality gives In Cold Blood a dimension which few other non fiction novels will match The evolution of the form, since In Cold Blood, is nothing short of astonishing It makes you appreciate how different the experience of reading the book is now compared to when the book was published Yet, it is not a stuffy classic Definitely worth reading After I read it, I looked up pictures of the Clutter family, and just stared for about five minutes They endured what is probably everyone s worst fear.Having never heard anything of the Clutter murders prior to reading this book, the experience of reading it was intense, gripping, and suspenseful from beginning to end Capote, with his impartial writing style, relayed facts and details in such a way as to give a complete character illustration of everyone involved from each of the Clutters, to the investigators, lawyers, and even the murderers themselves He did not reveal his personal sentiments or biases, or even presume to know right from wrong In what he coined a non fiction novel, Capote brilliantly combined the elements of a fictional murder novel with factual journalism and psychological analysis to show the moral dilemmas surrounding the act of murder.In the section about the Clutter family life during their final days before the murders, Capote s description of their daily routines and habits made what was to come even troubling Nancy and Kenyon were going through the typical hardships of adolescence Nancy had a boyfriend of whom her father did not approve and was the most popular girl in school, while Kenyon was self conscious, nerdy, and socially awkward Herbert and Bonnie s marriage was a bit shaky Bonnie had a mysterious and fleeting mental illness, and Herbert was very busy with his farming business and did not have much time to tend to her However, despite their problems, they maintained a strong family bond, were well liked by the entire community, and we get a sense that things were looking up for them.After the murder takes place, as if to intensify the suspense, Capote does not immediately reveal to us exactly how or why Perry and Dick committed the crime, but instead takes us on their journey as they attempt escape through the deep South while the investigators begin to try to solve the crime We learn much about these two characters through their interactions with each other, letters, diary excerpts, and interviews with family members We are brought deep into their psyche, learning everything from their personal hygiene habits to their mannerisms and quirks In an uncomfortable yet brilliant way, Capote allows us to sympathize with the murderers, if only for a moment What exactly went wrong with them Did Perry Smith s childhood of abuse, neglect, and displacement lead him to have moments of extreme callousness and violence Dick, who had a seemingly normal childhood and a loving family, was in a car accident which left him with a permanent head injury Was his head injury the cause of his downfall, or was it some other unknown character defect Even though they were capable of evil and cold heartedness, they also had goals and insecurities as well as the capacity for creativity, love, and fear The murders were a tragic psychological accident according to Alvin Dewey , the collision of two personalities gone terribly wrong with an innocent family who was in the wrong situation at the wrong time.The final section of the book, from their first of many trials to their execution, presents us with the moral dilemmas surrounding the punishment of crime Capote does not make any definitive conclusions, but poses many questions Is execution right or wrong Why the long delay approx 6 years between the guilty verdict and the execution Was a fair trial possible or necessary, given the horrific nature of the crimes committed It is impossible to summarize the impact of this book in a few paragraphs, but it will definitely stay with me for years to come. On November 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 At the beginning, In Cold Blood reads like a classic southern gothic tale I ve read about Harper Lee hanging out with Capote while he put this thing together, and at times it feels like she greatly influenced how it was written You meet the Clutters who are just the nicest people in the world out working hard and going to school and being awesome people in the town And, I know there s all this controversy over how the book is written since it adds fictional conversations and thoughts that Capote obviously couldn t have known, but everything is rooted in the nonfiction account of what happened, and I think it adds a deeper layer of connection to the family I read Helter Skelter in high school, and I remember that book starting out right from the gate with all the details of the murders before diving into the Manson family and the trial In Cold Blood works in reverse and saves the details for later, and my God when I got there I didn t even want to read about what happened It was all so senseless and random I had a hard time finishing the book after that I just wanted it to be over Often beautifully and brilliantly written, sometimes tedious to get through, sometimes way too meticulous with details, sometimes spending a couple of pages discussing cats or a building or something, this book is a classic in the true crime genre I haven t read a lot of true crime in my reading life, but I ve read enough to know that this deserves a spot at the top of the list Capote does an excellent job laying out the story, and gives the family, the murderers, and the cops an overwhelming amount of description and development I knew about the killers than I ever wanted to know, and I want things to go a different direction even though I knew they wouldn t Now I have to watch the movie, then Capote, then Infamous This is a story that will be stuck in my head for a while It s a harsh reminder of the evil that exists in the world, and how fragile our existence on this planet really is It s also a very detailed account of the senseless murder of most of a family, but I took away a lot of other stuff from its pages, too Read it. This book is one of the first, if not the first, true crime novel According to Wikipedia, only Helter Skelter The True Story of the Manson Murders has sold copies in the True Crime category than In Cold Blood While true crime fans might read this today and think that it sounds like your basic true crime story, at the time it was groundbreaking to detail a crime in this much detail and in a format as big as a novel.One of the things it appears that this novel set the precedence for, and that I have seen in other true crime novels, is that the author is not only researching the story, he is getting in the mix and talking face to face with the criminals example Ann Rule Sometimes this leads to relationships and feelings that are reflected in the retelling After you finish reading this, it is interesting to look this up online and see some of the theories about how Capote approached this crime and the people involved.Speaking of Capote, I have never seen any of the movies about him, but it sounds like all of them focus on this part of his life and there are at least 3 of them I may need to check them out to see what I think Also, I need to check out the classic film that came out shortly after publication.One think I found very, very interesting view spoiler when speaking of what criminals could do on death row in Kansas, basically everything every form of comfort, entertainment, ways to pass the time were taken away from them The justice system went out of their way to make things as uncomfortable as possible for those awaiting death However, they let them read as much as they want I am wondering why reading was the one acceptable past time they were given hide spoiler In Cold Blood by Truman Capote was described by its author as a non fiction novel The novel was first published in 1965 and at the time this style of writing, perhaps even the template for a new genre, was fresh and new and bold Almost 50 years later and the disturbing images are as fresh, vibrant and malevolent as when the ink was wet The style of writing has no doubt inspired generations of writers since, but their imitation has done little to diminish the power of Capote s work Whether it was wholly accurate or not is for journalists and scholars to debate, but for the reader, his vision was compelling and his perspective on the crime, and especially as a character study, almost a biography, on the criminals is hypnotic Critics may take umbrage with Capote s sympathetic depiction of the killer s plight, and perhaps such an argument has great merit, since the murderers showed no mercy to their victims, but Capote s contribution lies in his objective illumination of all the surrounding facts and details of the crime The author began with the crime scene outlines of the victims as they were stenciled on the floor of an upper middle class home in western Kansas and rippled outward until his narrative covered the lives, background and family dynamics of the victims, their murderers and the laws and cultures that had produced both A staggeringly detailed account of a brutal slaying, Capote has left us with a rich literary gift that should be on a list of books that must be read. This is one of the great ones Capote blankets Holcomb, Kansas with his curiosity The root of this work is a ghastly crime Two recently released convicts, seeking a fortune that did not exist, invade the Clutter family home, tie up the four family members present and leave no witnesses It takes some time for the perpetrators to be identified, then tracked down Capote looks at how the townspeople react to this Many, fearful that one of their own was responsible, become withdrawn How do people mourn He looks at the sequence of investigation that leads ultimately to the capture of the suspects, focusing on one of the chief investigators He looks in depth at the criminals What makes them tick How could people do such awful things In reading this I was reminded of some of the great panoramic art works of a bygone age, works by Bosch, Breughel, in which entire towns were brought together into one wide screen image This is what Capote has done But even with all the territory he covers there is considerable depth I was also reminded, for an entirely different reason of Thomas Hardy Capote has an incredible gift for language He writes beautifully, offering descriptions that can bring to tears anyone who truly loves language It has the power of poetry This is truly a classic, a book that defined a new genre of literature If you haven t read it, you must. An absolute masterpiece of true crime literature Gritty and intelligent This should be on everyone s books to read in a lifetime list As many of you may know, In Cold Blood is the true account of the heinous murders of the Clutter Family in 1959 Kansas In my opinion, the writing style of this account is absolutely flawless Through Capote s words, you are transported to this small town you get alternating accounts from the family, from the killers, from other residents close to the crime The account of the actual murders is bone chilling and can disturb sleep, believe me This is my second time reading this book and I found it just as impactful during my reread To me, it is interesting to think about Capote compiling his research for this He actually went and lived in this town, along with one of his closest friends, Harper Lee, and they painstakingly interviewed hundreds of people associated with the events Just the sheer amount of data compiled and how it was intricately woven into a cohesive narrative astounds me.Yes, I know that is what nonfiction novelists do but this was truly a ground breaking piece of journalistic writing at the time and should be appreciated as such.Another interesting aspect of this is how focused Capote was in the psychology behind the killers motivations and actions, as well as their complex relationship with one another both before and after the crimes Ahead of his time in that regard, in my opinion.I think anyone who enjoys true crime, criminology, psychology and even sociology will find this book absolutely captivating If you have been putting off reading this for any reason, please stop, pick it up, NOW I just wonder why it took me so long to get this masterpiece on my currently reading shelf What a breathtaking story And told in the most amazing novelistic style The cold blooded murders in Kansas in 1956 is described by a cold, distant narrator via the interviews of the family, acquaintances, and community around the victims and the the hair raising stories of Perry and Bobby, the murderers It is a real page turner I couldn t put it down The descriptions of the youth of all the tragic protagonists is explored from every angle as under a magnifying glass In Cold Blood kept me thinking that most of the recent murder mystery shows and movies were indebted to this piece of literature that Capote probably deserved a Pulitzer for but was passed over, helas, in 1965 There is this strange homoerotism between the two murderers who call each other sugar and honey but who both spout homophobic words throughout Like the lawyers, I felt Richard was the coldest one and Perry the most twisted and tragic This book is a true masterpiece of the non fiction novel even if some of the facts brought out by Capote were disputed and its narration is stupendous in character development and maintaining an enormous amount of suspense end to end It is even astounding, because the reader already knows who commits the crime, the novel only elucidates the why and even that is ambiguous and pathetic An awesome read.Note that in A Capote Reader, there is a great short essay about the making of movie In Cold Blood where Capote talks a bit about the 6 years it took him to write this masterpiece Haven t seen the movie yet In Cold Blood is the new school classics selection in the group catching up on classics for November 2016 Having read Truman Capote s Breakfast at Tiffany s recently and enjoying his writing, I could not wait to read this nonfiction thriller in advance of the upcoming group read Writing in his relaxing southern style, Capote turns a horrid crime into a story to make the how s and whys accessible to the average American It is in this regard that I rate this thrilling classic five stars On November 15, 1959 Richard Dick Hickock and Perry Smith, on a tip from another inmate, brutally murdered four members of the Clutter family of Holcomb, Kansas Having heard that the Clutters possessed either a safe or 10,000 cash in their home, Smith and Hickock desired this wealth for themselves so that they could live out their days in a Mexican beach resort To their surprise and chagrin, the Clutters did not have neither the safe nor the cash, but Hickock had said to leave no witnesses Crime committed, the pair escaped to a life of continued crimes and violence and believing that authorities would never catch up with them And in the beginning it appeared that this ill advised lifestyle might actually work Due to the relentless work of the Kansas Bureau of Investigations KBI lead by Alvin Dewey, Hickock and Smith were eventually brought to justice and ultimately given the death penalty Capote weaves a tale by giving us the backstory of both felons as well as a picture of Holcomb and nearby Garden City, Kansas as an idyllic place to raise a family The crime changed everything Families kept their doors locked and did not allow their children to venture far from home In the surrounding areas, people viewed their lives as a before and after Inevitably, the Clutter case lead to less community interaction and a beginning of a breakdown of society Yet by providing the backstories of the felons, Capote allows the the readers to emphasize with their place in society Dick Hickock was on his way to finishing at the top of his class with a possible athletic scholarship and a degree in engineering His family could not afford a university education even with the scholarship so Hickock went to work An automobile accident left him partially brain damaged as his parents maintained that he was not the same person since, and this one incident lead to his adult life of crime Smith, on the other hand, lead a bleak childhood to the point where readers would feel sorry for him Coming from a fractured family and only a third grade education, Smith suffered from a superiority complex his entire life His role in the Clutter murders was the consummation of a lifetime of rejection The felons came from diametrically opposed upbringings and yet I was left feeling remorse for both Capote pieced together the crime to the point where I felt that I knew the people of Holcomb as well as the principal players in the crime intimately This work lead to a new genre that brings together nonfiction and fiction in a way that history feels like a story Both Capote and his research assistant Harper Lee ended up as award winning authors Their fictional writing skills allowed for the personalization of this tale and ultimately help change the way many write nonfiction Truman Capote is one of 20th America s master storytellers, and In Cold Blood is by many considered his opus His research was detail oriented and allowed him to bring the story of the Clutter murders to the average American home After completing this five star work painting the picture of the how s and whys of murder, I look forward to reading of his charming Southern stories.