In Cold Blood

By: Truman Capote
Subject Matter: Murder; Kansas; Case studies
Rating: 4.5/5

In Cold Blood

What. A. Fantastic. Book.

In Cold Blood. Truman Capote. The dedication to and fallout with Harper Lee. True crime. Kansas. Murder.

We’ve all heard of this book; it’s a classic. It was published, to some surprise, a few years after Capote’s famous novel Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

I figured I would enjoy this book. And boy oh boy was I right.

Have you ever read a news headline and wondered what, how, why? What were they thinking? What are the true facts? Where did this come from? How could this have happened?

In Cold Blood takes you there and beyond.

Capote follows the case of a family (mother, father, son, daughter) murdered in their home in rural Kansas, with apparently no motive, no witnesses, and no obvious suspects. He paints the picture of a sleepy, contented small town; a well-beloved, prominent family; a brutal, unemotional murder; a town torn apart; and, above all, the life and psyches of the killers.

It is a fascinating tale. It’s not a thriller; there are no Gone-Girl-esque loops. It an honest-to-goodness expose of the crime itself, the minds of the murderers, and the impact of the case.

I loved it. Loved it. Ate it up. The portions of reproduced testimonies, the killers’ lives in their own words, their families’ words, the police’s words, were my favorite.

It is a nonfiction narrative that proves the adage: truth is stranger than fiction. There is no indication that Capote is intentionally dramatizing, skewing the facts, painting the language, though – as always – there are some discrepancies in facts.

It’s the age-old tale that has fascinated us since beginning of time: good vs. evil, right vs. wrong. The gray areas, the human condition, fault and blame.

It’s a painful reminder that “faith in humanity” is a tenuous belief.




If you ate up In Cold Blood like I did, here are some suggestions:

(for more by Capote)

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

Answered Prayers by Truman Capote

Other Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote

The Grass Harp by Truman Capote

(for true crime)

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi


Coming up:

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand

Ground Rules by Renee Swann

A Room With a View by E. M. Forster

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