Customer Reviews for

In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

13 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

Haunting

I have given this title five stars because the five stars represent an 'outstanding' work. In Cold Blood is certainly that an outstanding work. However, there was little to enjoy but the style, the pure ease at which this tale stretches its legs in your imagination a...
I have given this title five stars because the five stars represent an 'outstanding' work. In Cold Blood is certainly that an outstanding work. However, there was little to enjoy but the style, the pure ease at which this tale stretches its legs in your imagination and makes itself at home...A little too at home. I am haunted by this, Mr. Capote's masterpiece. The sheer omniscience which Mr. Capote achieved through so many hours, days, months, years of research bring to the page the godlike perspective one expects from a well crafted work of fiction. While I have heard from some sources that this work was embellished, I am hard pressed to believe that the core tale is any way affected by fabrications. Reader beware you shall know know both slayer and slain. And, if in the end you put this down untouched, unmoved, unshaken, I hope to God that you just didn't understand it. Consider this review both a reccomendation, and a warning.

posted by Anonymous on January 26, 2007

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Most Helpful Critical Review

28 out of 54 people found this review helpful.

Too 'Cluttered' For This Reader

Having never read anything by Truman Capote and after seeing the Oscar-nominated 'Capote,' I was inspired to pick up (finally) IN COLD BLOOD. I was a bit annoyed by Capote's personality in the movie and realized that I could have never stood to be in the same room with ...
Having never read anything by Truman Capote and after seeing the Oscar-nominated 'Capote,' I was inspired to pick up (finally) IN COLD BLOOD. I was a bit annoyed by Capote's personality in the movie and realized that I could have never stood to be in the same room with him because his self-love would have drive me crazy. I didn't let that stop me from purchasing the book, though, as I had heard good things about his writing and his 'masterpiece.' I've often been disappointed by books, but finished them to completion for the sake of not jumping to conclusions. Unfortunately, this is one book that I had to stop halfway through because, again, Capote's personality seemed to be shining through and I was getting annoyed. I know I'm going against the grain of many critics, educators, and readers alike, but I was not enjoying one bit of my reading experience. I found his writing to be the rambling of a man who couldn't keep one consistent thought going (perhaps it was the alcohol?). It was like reading a stream of consciousness that wasn't going anywhere. His thoughts jumped from past to present and back again without any cohesiveness. Halfway through the book, I was still unfamiliar with the 'characters' and much of their personalities. If it gets better in the second half of the book, I'll never know. Go ahead...give me a poor rating for my review. Just giving my opinion as a reader of many quality classic and modern books.

posted by Anonymous on April 4, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2008

    Too 'Cluttered' For This Reader

    Having never read anything by Truman Capote and after seeing the Oscar-nominated 'Capote,' I was inspired to pick up (finally) IN COLD BLOOD. I was a bit annoyed by Capote's personality in the movie and realized that I could have never stood to be in the same room with him because his self-love would have drive me crazy. I didn't let that stop me from purchasing the book, though, as I had heard good things about his writing and his 'masterpiece.' I've often been disappointed by books, but finished them to completion for the sake of not jumping to conclusions. Unfortunately, this is one book that I had to stop halfway through because, again, Capote's personality seemed to be shining through and I was getting annoyed. I know I'm going against the grain of many critics, educators, and readers alike, but I was not enjoying one bit of my reading experience. I found his writing to be the rambling of a man who couldn't keep one consistent thought going (perhaps it was the alcohol?). It was like reading a stream of consciousness that wasn't going anywhere. His thoughts jumped from past to present and back again without any cohesiveness. Halfway through the book, I was still unfamiliar with the 'characters' and much of their personalities. If it gets better in the second half of the book, I'll never know. Go ahead...give me a poor rating for my review. Just giving my opinion as a reader of many quality classic and modern books.

    28 out of 54 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2007

    Haunting

    I have given this title five stars because the five stars represent an 'outstanding' work. In Cold Blood is certainly that an outstanding work. However, there was little to enjoy but the style, the pure ease at which this tale stretches its legs in your imagination and makes itself at home...A little too at home. I am haunted by this, Mr. Capote's masterpiece. The sheer omniscience which Mr. Capote achieved through so many hours, days, months, years of research bring to the page the godlike perspective one expects from a well crafted work of fiction. While I have heard from some sources that this work was embellished, I am hard pressed to believe that the core tale is any way affected by fabrications. Reader beware you shall know know both slayer and slain. And, if in the end you put this down untouched, unmoved, unshaken, I hope to God that you just didn't understand it. Consider this review both a reccomendation, and a warning.

    13 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 23, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Intense, moving and exciting

    November 14, 1959 started out as an ordinary Saturday morning; running errands, working on the ranch and baking apple pies. The Clutters were well known in Holcomb, Kansas. Holcomb being a small town, it's inhabitants knew everything about eachother, for example how Mrs. Clutter suffered from "nervous episodes" and how Nancy and Bobby Rupp have been dating for some time now. That same day, Dick Hickock and Perry Smith were planning a "score." Sunday morning, four bodies were discovered in the Clutter's house: Herb Clutter, Bonnie Clutter, Nancy Clutter and Kenyon Clutter. All were murdered by a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. The shocking deaths became the headlines of every newspaper and magazine. Rumors started, panic rose, paranoia struck. Meanwhile, Perry and Dick escaped and were trying to fulfill their dreams in Mexico. After some failures and money problems, they returned to the states. A former inmate of Dick and Perry hears of the murders and turns them in. The hunt is on. When they both were found, they were questioned and eventually sentenced to death. This "true account" is a never ending battle between man verses man verses self.
    A major theme is the idea of the American Dream. Herb Clutter lived what seemed a perfect life, "He was, however, the community's most widely known citizen...he had headed the building committee for the newly completed First Methodist Church...was currently chairman of the Kansas Conference of Farm Organizations, and his name was everywhere respectfully recognized..." (Capote 6). He had power, money, a beautiful family, happines and respect. This story just puts a twist on the American Dream; it can't be fulfilled in this blood thirsty world.
    My favorite part of the book was getting into the criminals' heads. Just knowing the little things that made Perry who he was, made the story that more real, "On the cover of the second notebook, the handwriting of which he was so proud, a script abounding in curly, feminine flourishes, proclaimed the contents to be "The Private Diary of Perry Edward Smith"- an inaccurate description, for it was not in the least a diary but, rather, a form of anthology consisting of obscure facts, poems and literary quotations, and passages for newspapers and books paraphrased or quoted" (Capote 146). I really enjoyed reading about the thought processes of Perry. It's easy to tell that Truman Capote took an interest in Perry's life, and really analyzed him well. I also loved the amount of detail Capote put into his research and eventually, the novel; his writing sucks you in and makes you experience every bit of the situations. I don't think there was anything I didn't like about this book, whether it was, Capote's writing style or the characters in it, i loved it all.
    In Cold Blood first and foremost, just makes you realize how far the human mind can really take you, secondly, how no one is innocent, thirdly, sometimes the world is not just, but someone has to pay, and finally, Capote makes you realize that anything can happen in this world...

    11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2006

    One of the best true crime books I ever read

    In Cold Blood is one if not the best true crime books I ever read. The way Truman Capote describes the murders. It made me feel that I was there with that poor family. It is always interesting to me everytime I read it to decide what I would do if I was with The Clutter family to try to escape from Richard Eugene Hickcok and Perry Smith's muderous rath. It is trully a chilling masterpiece. I loved every minute reading it.

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2007

    Only if You Can Hold On.....

    In Cold Blood is a book by Truman Capote and is widely regarded as his most famous novel. Capote had read about the Clutter murders and wanted to write an exciting nonfiction novel, so he set out on a five-year journey to write this book. In Cold Blood is also widely regarded as one of the best true crime novels that has ever been written. It details on the true story of the brutal murder of the Kansas Clutter family in 1959 at the hands of Dick Hickock and Perry Edward Smith. Capote uses and incredible amount of figurative language and advanced writing techniques to make you feel that you are inside the book. He really goes into depth on the character¿s back stories to make sure that you know everything about them some of these parts however were somewhat dull and made me wonder why they were included in the book at all. He makes some strange contrasts also that make you wonder what he is getting onto, like comparing a sweet and caring girl to that tattoos that the killers have on their arms. He also makes sure that he sheds light meticulously on everything to make sure you know what is going on, even then however the story is somewhat hard to hold onto as Capote has many storylines going on at once. Capote did succeed immensely with creating suspense in the novel. You can really tell when it¿s about to get interesting because the pace of the novel is sped up and the text gains a strange air about it. The novel begins right as Dick and Perry take a long road trip across the state to where the Clutters live, hoping to get to a hidden safe inside their house. They don¿t find the safe, but they do end up taking the lives of the whole Clutter family without a tiny bit of remorse. The book concludes at the murderer¿s execution at the hands of the Kansas police. In Cold Blood is a spiraling rollercoaster ride that has you hanging on for dear life 'or understanding' throughout the book. It is a fantastic read for somebody who is into detective novels and complicated storylines. It also shows no mercy to the squeamish and impressionable, but if you can able to handle it, then I would say that it is a must for anyone who wants a long and interesting ride.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A great perspective by Capote

    Before reading this book I had never heard of Holcomb, KS or the Clutter family. I had never heard of Richard Hickock or Perry Smith either. But after reading this masterpiece I fell like I was right there along side all of them back when this took place. This is an awesome book and you can cleary see how it affected Capote.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2008

    Spine chilling

    I think this is a really awsome book... I was really into it. I had to read it for my Junior AP English class and I hardly ever get even half through with any of the books assigned in that class, but this time I actually did and I enjoyed it. Highly recomended, very suspensful. I read it in two days!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2007

    I'n cold blood is the CSI for the 1960's

    The brutal murder of the Clutter family was the news story of the day in November 1959. Newspapers carried the story and people discussed the details at the barber shop and over coffee at the local cafe. It was especially alarming because this was a well-known and well-liked family in the community. Who could be safe if the Clutters produced two suspects: Perry Smith and Richard Hickock.Truman Capote is captivated by the story and decides to write what he calls a 'nonfiction novel.' The book is the result of five years of research. The story had to be more than intresting than newspaper articles. It had to show the human side of the killers as well as the Clutters. The story weaves back and forth between the two making it sometimes difficult to follow. The book is excellent and worth the time to read. I highly recommend it.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2007

    COLD BLOODED!

    IN COLD BLOOD By TRUMAN CAPOTE Are you the type of reader that likes to put puzzles together? Well look no further because this book will make you feel like your trying to solve the case all by yourself. This book has a lot of good action, suspense, and mystery to sink your teeth into. Truman Capote delivers great detailed descriptions of everything so you don¿t miss one bit of the setting, plot or characters. The main characters in the story are the Clutter family, which includes Herbert (dad) Bonnie (mom) Nancy (daughter) and Kenyon (son). The Clutter families are a well-known farmer family with bright kids like Nancy a straight A student and leader of many clubs and Kenyon who is very fond of machinery and carpentry. The family overall is a well-known wealthy family and rarely has enemies. The character that caught my attention would have to Herbert because Herbert begins to have strange feelings about the days to come and begins to plan life insurances just in case. Herbert is a hard worker and always has things on time and ready for anything. But what he isn¿t ready for is still yet to come to his home in Holcomb Kansas. On the other side of Kansas are men named Perry Smith and Dick Hickock. These men have been criminals for a while always in and out of jail and almost always wanted for something. One day they decide to take a long road trip. They take very long days just driving across the state playing guitar, singing and more driving. The Clutters are still living life and unaware of what might be coming to them. They¿ve got no idea death is on it¿s way. One morning Mr. Clutter gets up, as usual, to start the day. He eats an apple because according to him ¿its perfect apple eating weather.¿ One of Mr. Clutter¿s workers approaches Mr. Clutter and tells him that his wife is sick and asks for the day off. Mr. Clutter agrees to relieve him for the day. A couple hours later the Clutter dog comes running out of the house towards the direction of where the road is. Also where a parked car is. The dog has a strange history of which when it sees a gun it tucks its tail and gets away. Mr. Clutter approaches the two men, which apparently were armed with a rifle and a knife. This as you might know already is a major clue. That night in Kansas, a cool still silent night, four shots rang out through the air that meant someone¿s life had just ended. The next morning as usual one of Nancy¿s friends comes to get Nancy to go to school together. No one answered and she began to worry so she went to the neighbors to see if they knew anything. The neighbor didn¿t know as well and they both went back to the house together to find their bodies on the floor. There aren¿t may suspects in the story except for Nancy¿s boyfriend Bobby who was with the family the night before. He is not freed until he passes a lie detector test. The people of Holcomb begin to come up with theories of how they may have been murdered. A jail inmate hears about the murders and tells the authority who it may be. All the clues add up and the Feds begin to track down the killers. The agents caught the men and the two were sent to death. I personally did not find this read amusing because I thought the author spent too much time explaining every little detail of the setting. I think this would be a great read for anyone who likes mystery and detective books. I do think that that the plot was rather complicated. I would not recommend this book for certain types of readers.

    5 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2007

    Dull

    I found this book to be boring to an extent that I wanted to read no more. The author spends, in my opinion, too much time on things that don't really need to included. The beginning starts slowly with a description of the setting and characters that seems to stretch on and on. The middle, too, is full of describing one character in particular for an annoying amount of time. The end stretches on with nothing that really need to be said included. All and all it was a pretty dull book.

    4 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2004

    MUST READ

    ¿In Cold Blood¿ has been seen as one of the best nonfiction murder stories for the past forty years. Truman Capote wrote a griping tale of a Kansas farmer and his loving family who were brutally murdered on November 15th, 1959. Dick Hickock and Perry Smith were two former convicts who had recently been released on parole. Both men made then journey to Holcomb, Kansas that November evening hoping to become ten thousand dollars richer. However, when they found no safe holding the loot, Mr. Clutter and his family paid with their lives. After years of searching the men were finally apprehended in Las Vegas and put to death on April 14th, 1965. This book has you on the edge of your seat to the very last page. The way the book is laid out for the reader is what keeps it interesting. Capote moves back in forth between scenes with the Clutter family and scenes with Dick and Perry. Capote uses great description when it comes to the characters, making it so the reader can really get to know each one. His scenes are very detailed, making it easy as a reader to picture things in your mind. Overall I enjoyed ¿In Cold Blood.¿ No scenes were too graphic and the most important thing was that it kept me interested. If you are looking for a good murder story, then ¿In Cold Blood¿ is a must read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 15, 2012

    Still Gripping after all these Year

    Somehow, I just never got around to reading this, but now that I have, I understand why it made such a stir when it was first published. Despite the horror of these senseless killings. Capote has helped us understand the perpetrators as broken human beings whose lives had caused irreversible damage, including the loss of a moral compass. It's great fodder for a book club discussion. If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2006

    The Daddy of All True Crime Books

    Having recently watched the excellent movie Capote about the writing of In Cold Blood, I decided to read the book, and I am glad I did. Capote's book defined the true crime genre with excellent writing, meticulous research, and an even-handed approach toward the perpetrators of a senseless, violent crime that shocked rural Kansas. Although Capote identified strongly with (and may have been somewhat attracted to) Perry Smith who actually killed the Clutter family, I was not sympathetic to Smith or his partner Dick Hickock in the least. The detail in the setting that Capote provides often drags the narrative down a bit, but it pays off by giving you the feeling that you are witnessing the events unfold first-hand. Patience is rewarded for those who appreciate excellent writing.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2003

    A True Tale of Murder

    This book was by far one of the best books I have ever read.The way Truman Capote explains and meshes in each character in the book was the best part. You could just smell and feel the warmth of the Clutter home, the fresh farm air, the coziness of the farm home.Until their murderers came along and you smell the fresh scent of gun powder and senseless violence.He weaves a tale that is as fascinating as it is true.A definite read, a true classic.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2002

    In Cold Blood is Chilling

    In the sixties after reading an article about the multiple murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas, writer Truman Capote went to investigate. The product of his six years of research, interviews, and investigation was released in his book, In Cold Blood. In Cold Blood is a book with many different angles and ideas. The book was at the forefront of a new genre known as New Journalism, in which true events are treated in a fictional way. Capote's book is one of the most fascinating and intelligent true-crime books ever written. In his book, Capote gives his readers a behind the scenes look at the Clutter family. He lets you get to know Herb Clutter who is undyingly devoted to his invalid wife, Bonnie. You soon feel close to the two teenage children, Kenyon and Nancy who are polite, good students with good values. Right when you start to fall in love with this family living the American dream, Capote takes his readers on a journey that begins with the family's murders and ends only with the deaths of their two killers, Dick Hickock and Perry Smith. Throughout the remarkable story Capote's keen sense of detail and description puts the audience in the story and allows them to see it from all angles. Not only to you read about the murder, but also how it affected the family and friends of the Clutters, the killers, the detectives who work diligently, and the whole tiny town that was shocked into terror. The best aspect of Capote's book and the most attacked is his account on the killers. He tells his readers of whom Hickock and Smith are, what they grew up like, and how they feel and think. He also tells of the effect the tragedy has on the town, who in the midst of a nightmare found themselves distrusting their own neighbors. It is an honest and eye-opening account on how tragedy affects people. Capote's story is chilling mostly because it is true. That there are people like Hickock and Smith and no matter where you live, tragedy can strike you in the "safest" of towns. Capote really did spend years of research and getting to know all the people involved. It is an amazing and detailed account of murder, but can get a little too wordy. Unfortunately, Capote uses too many journalistic techniques at times and goes off into unimportant facts and data. These tangents can get quite annoying, especially when you just want to hear what is going on. However, Capote makes up for his innumerable facts by his keen detail and engaging style that makes it almost impossible to put this book down. It is truly a gem and I recommend it to all that are interested.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2014

    The non-fiction novel, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote details ab

    The non-fiction novel, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote details about the brutal murders of the Clutter family in Holcomb Kansas, in 1959. Mr. and Mrs. Clutter and their two teenage children were cruelly killed by Dick Hickock and Perry Smith with no apparent motive. Because the killers leave behind a few clues, the KBI leader Alvin Dewey has a very difficult time finding the criminals. Throughout the story the protagonist Alvin Dewey searches for the motive and criminals who committed the sadistic murder.
    On the other hand, the criminals are on the run hoping that they will not get caught.

    Truman Capote’s purpose in writing this non-fiction novel is to challenge the government about the death penalty if the person’s mental state is unstable. “[…] when Smith attacked Mr. Clutter, he was under a mental eclipse, deep inside a schizophrenic darkness” (302). Obviously the author is not trying to justify the murder, but this quote shows that Perry was at an unstable mental state when he killed Clutter family.

    Also, “[…] my mother put me to stay in a Catholic orphanage. The one where the Black Widows were always at me. Hitting me. Because of wetting the bed. Which is one reason I have an aversion to nuns. And God. And religion” (132). This quote shows Perry is a victim of terrible child abuse. The author may be trying to tell the readers that Perry's unstable mental state and horrifying behaviors are affected by the abuse during his childhood.

    “In summary, he shows fairly typical characteristics of what would psychiatrically be called a severe character disorder. […] It might have substantially influenced his behavior during the past several years and at the time of the crime” (295). This quote displays that Dick has a severe character disorder, and his mentality is very unstable during the murder and robbery. So the question is.. if they get caught, should they be sentenced to death?

    Another reason Capote wrote this non-fiction novel was to inform us about the different minds of the criminals. “’Know what I think?’ said Perry. ‘I think there must be something wrong with us. To do what we did’” (108). This quote informs us that Perry was regretting the crime that they committed.

    “Why the hell couldn’t Perry shut up? […] Especially since they’d agreed, sort of, not to talk about the thing. Just forget it” (108). On the contrary, this quote shows that Dick was trying to forget all about the crime and showed no signs of regret.

    The author reveals very well about the minds of criminals throughout the book.

    Without giving away the ending, I thought the novel; In Cold Blood was a page turner because this book reads like a fiction mystery building tension and wanting me to keep reading.

    “[…] I’ll wager whoever did it was someone within ten miles of where we stand. Approximately four hundred miles east of where Arthur Clutter stood, two young men were sharing a booth in the Eagle Buffet” (88-89). I thought this quote well-displayed suspense because while reading the passage, I thought, 'Will they really get away with their crime?' This made me very curious, so I just kept on reading in order to find out.

    In addition, I liked this book because of the author’s use of imagery. “She was lying on her side, facing the wall, and the wall was covered in blood” (62). Although the descriptions were gory, I loved the fact that I could picture the wall covered in red blood and the dead victim. I felt like I was actually seeing the body, blood, and wall.

    Moreover, “the land is flat, and the views are awesomely extensive; horses, herds of cattle, a white cluster of grain elevators rising as gracefully as Greek temples are visible long before a traveler reaches them" (3). This quote displays the description of the land of the town Holcomb. Again I love this quote because I can picture a bunch of cows munching away on the grass and grains so tall that they can reach the sky.

    On the contrary, there was something I did not like about this book. Capote spent a lot of pages to describe many characters but did not talk about all of them.

    “Special Agents Harold Nye, Roy Church, and Clarence Duntz” (80). This quote states there were three other agents working on the case with Alvin Dewey, but Capote did not talk a lot about their point of views, except for their theories on the murder.

    Also for some reason, Capote gave us far more detail about Perry Smith than Dick Hickock. I wanted to understand more about Dick.

    Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to others who like crime stories because I think In Cold Blood is better than many other fictional crime novels I have read. I was actually caught up from beginning to end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 29, 2013

    Interesting but tedious to read. As a true crime fan, it was was

    Interesting but tedious to read. As a true crime fan, it was was worth the read. Especially considering the historical factors. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2012

    Just read it!

    I'm not one who reads a lot of true crime stories, but I'd heard so many good things about this book over the years that I just had to give In Cold Blood a shot. If nothing else I just wanted to know what all the hype was about!
    This was not an easy read. I found myself interested in both the Clutter family and the men that murdered them. The ease at which Capote pulls you into the story is so amazing considering the topic is so awful. You already know what happens and yet you still can't put it down.
    There are a million reviews out there for this book, so I won't try to live up to them. I will simply say to you, read this book. Just read it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2012

    Review

    Having met members of the clutter family and seeing how the murders still devastates the family to this day, this book is a good one to inform u of what happened so u can just maybe understand their grief.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 14, 2012

    One of the great books of the 20th century.

    One of the great books of the 20th century.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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