Tuesday, February 19, 2008

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Rating: 10/10

Published: 1966
Number of pages: 336

Started: 31 January 2008
Finished: 17 February 2008

Summary (taken from blurb):

Controversial and compelling, In Cold Blood reconstructs the murder in 1959 of a Kansas farmer, his wife and both their children. Truman Capote's comprehensive study of the killings and subsequent investigation explores the circumstances surrounding this terrible crime and the effect it had on those involved. At the centre of his study are the amoral young killers Perry Smith and Dick Hickock, who, vividly drawn by Capote, are shown to be reprehensible, yet entirely and frighteningly human.

The book that made Capote's name, In Cold Blood is a seminal work of modern prose, a remarkable synthesis of journalistic skill and powerfully evocative narrative.

In Cold Blood is a terrific blend of journalistic skill and creative writing. Capote begins the story by introducing the reader to all of the main players: the Clutter family (the victims), and Perry Smith and Dick Hickock (the killers). We get to know them very well - their personality traits and quirks, their views on life, and basically all of their background stories. Other characters, ranging from local gossips to detectives, are introduced equally vividly.

Although the reader knows what's going to happen, Capote masterfully builds up the story and draws out the suspense, leaving the reader with numerous questions as to the 'why's and 'wherefore's of what's about to happen. Of course, they're all answered in time, but it's an intriguing journey and well worth the read. The story is never dull, and I had to keep reminding myself that this was not a work of fiction.

Truman Capote worked tirelessly to gather his information (along with the aid of his friend, Harper Lee, the author of To Kill a Mockingbird) and put it together meticulously to create this incredible, true story. It's chilling and scary, but absolutely terrific! Highly recommended!

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