In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote

Nine stars

While I have heard a great deal about Truman Capote and this book, it is only now that I have taken the time to read it. Full of a wonderful narrative, the book explores a horrific murder in the American Midwest, as well as the hunt for those responsible. In this stellar piece of true crime, Capote also takes the reader into the justice and punishments phases, offering a well-rounded piece of writing that is sure to captivate and shock in equal measure.

The town of Holcomb, Kansas would never be the same after November 15, 1959. Four members of the Clutter family were found murdered in their beds, shotgun blasts destroying their faces. With the blood still congealing, the authorities began piecing together what happened and who might have been responsible. With no motive and few locals expressing a beef with the farming family, the investigation stalled in the early stages.

Capote takes the reader on a slow and methodical analysis of the case, the local lore surrounding the Clutter family, as well as those who did not belong around town. Two men, Perry Smith and Dick Hickcock, were two no one could readily place and whose time in the small community oddly matched the time of the Clutter murders. Exploring their backstory, Capote shows how reprehensible these two men were, as well as the trouble they brought with them to Holcomb.

Taking the reader through the events leading up to the murders, the night itself, and the aftermath that led to the capture of the men, Capote shows significant journalistic prowess. The reader can feel as though they are in the middle of the hunt before before offered a front row seat at the courthouse, while Smith and Hickcock await their fate. Told in such a way that the reader cannot help but delve deeper throughout the narrative, Capote shows stunning abilities and has left me wanting to explore more of his work. I am kicking myself for waiting this long to read the book, which held my attention throughout.

Kudos, Mr. Capote, for a riveting piece of true crime that has me wanting to reach for more in the genre, if only to feed a sadistic curiosity. What a pleasant surprise as I made my way through this book.