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

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

16 out of 20 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

34 out of 62 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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  • 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 August 15, 2007

    Fascinating Yet Boring

    Scott Brick does a pretty good job of narrating and making distinctions between characters (even though not all Kansans have southern accents). The downfall was that Capote went into too much detail on too many people. In short, he overcomplicated the story, which was interesting although difficult to follow.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2014

    The novel In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, Capote reconstructs t

    The novel In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, Capote reconstructs the murder of the Clutter family, and the investigation and hunt for the two killers, Dick and Perry. In the beginning of the novel Capote repetitively uses the words last when he is foreshadowing the deaths of Herbert and Bonnie, and their kids Kenyon and Nancy. [...] "unaware it would be his last(13)."Herbert is a very wealthy man, running a large farm and his death shocked many Holcomb residents. His death as well as his family, cause residents in Holcomb to panic and feel unsafe. Dick involved in the murder has a straight personality where he does crimes without regret or guilt. Perry is more of the imaginative character developed from a rough childhood. Capote switches by and forth between a KBI agent named Dewey investigating the case day and night and Dick and Perry the essential murderers. Dick and Perry go around Kansas writing "hot" checks or checks where they buy something with a check without actually having the money for it. They travel across states and go to Mexico City though they eventually run out of money. Floyd Wells tells the agents who might have killed the family and now it is the hunt for two men. In the middle of the novel Capote thoroughly goes through Perry's background. Capote displays that Perry had a very rough childhood, and though he had a life of crime he was imaginative. Throughout the novel Capote tries to give the readers knowledge of the killers; however, he keeps their motives till the end of the novel and how exactly the murder went down, when Dick and Perry are questioned by Dewey and the other KBI agents.
    I liked this book because Capote shows that not all criminals are the same, as Perry goes through a rough childhood but as a criminal he is still imaginative. "His favorite old theatrical fantasy, the one in which he thought of himself as, "The One Man Symphony," returned in the guise of a recurrent dream."(319) This shows Perry's' imaginative personally as he waits in his jail cell. Though I liked this book, there were some parts that were difficult to comprehend. [...] " spongy displays of liver-colored carpet intermittently abolishing the glare of varnished, resounding floors, immense modernistic living-room couch covered in nubby fabric interwoven with glittery strands of silver metal'(9). This displays the layout of the Clutter family home in immense detail. I also liked the book because Capote used personification to describe the character. "We lived like animals, stealing baked beans, canned spaghetti, and gobbling it cold in the car." This shows how Capote describes Perry and Dicks life as the are completely out of money and have to start stealing can foods. I would recommend this book to others because the in-depth story of two murderers and the investigation that follows the murder keeps you reading and turning to the next chapter.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2014

    In Cold Blood The non-fiction novel, In Cold Blood by Truman Cap

    In Cold Blood
    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 mental 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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2014

    great book!

    great book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2014

    This novel was somewhat appealing.  However, I felt that it was

    This novel was somewhat appealing.  However, I felt that it was a bit uninteresting because at times since it was similar to a research report, which is what sparked my disinterest.  Throughout the book I felt uncomfortable reading about a murderer’s life.  The Clutter family, the victims of Dick and Perry’s murders, seemed like they were very involved with the community.  After they committed the crime, their escape did seem a bit odd when it got to Mexico City.  Perry did seem to have a “broken” childhood if you could call it that since his parents were falling apart and the majority of his siblings committed suicide.  Also, when Floyd finally gets involved, I became a bit unaware of the whole situation, but I soon caught on to what was happening.  One of the most intriguing parts, in my opinion, was when Floyd was describing how he could have stopped the whole crime.  Floyd should have persuaded Perry to not commit the inhumane act.  But, obviously, that didn’t work out and it ended up with the murder of the Clutter family.  Once Dewey, the KBI Agent, heard about Floyd I was back on track.  By then, I knew the inevitable would happen, which it did.
    Overall, this was generally unappealing to me.  When going into it, I thought it was going to be one of my favorites, but I soon lost interest quickly as the book dragged on.  Capote’s writing style was one of the main reasons I lost interest into the book.  Although some parts were compelling to me, the majority of the book did bore me.  The least interesting part happened to be the beginning, when he described the daily life in a small town in Kansas.  Also, I didn’t find the beginning of Perry and Dick’s escape to Mexico very riveting.  Basically, the only part of the novel that I actually found interesting was the ending and when Floyd was involved in the manhunt.  I would not recommend this book to people who are not find news stories or reports very interesting.  But, if you are into those types of news stories that you would see on 20/20, then you might want to consider getting this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2012

    A Little Slow

    The first part of the book is a little slow, but helps you get to know and connect with the victims. Otherwise the book is a great read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2012

    RECOMMEND

    NOT THE BEST BOOK I EVER READ BUT IT'S WORTH READING. VERY SAD STORY OF HOW SOME PEOPLE HAVE NO HEART OR SOUL.

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  • Posted March 21, 2012

    I believe the real life events make this book. At the time, I w

    I believe the real life events make this book. At the time, I was living alone out in the country. Definitely creeped me out! To be reminded of the dark and horrible actions of people, in a time and place where murder was unheard of, is chilling.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2012

    Not as good as I had hoped it would be ...

    One of my all time favorite reads is "To Kill a Mockingbird". Someone recommended this to me, based upon that observation. The book ...

    Started out great, but bogged down in the middle, especially when developing some of the characters, e.g. Perry's father's account of Perry's childhood and adolescence, etc..., then towards the end, rather than telling a story, for me it felt more like a diatribe against capital punishment.

    So ... just good, not great.

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  • Posted December 9, 2011

    Not a bad book if you have the time

    Long book. It really gets you into the heads of everyone involved. It¿s a slow start with a lot of in depth character details. The narrator sounds like a tv evangelist and tells the story nicely. Lots of character building and details that spiral from the point from time to time. Overall though, it¿s a good listen if you are into stories along this line.

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  • Posted October 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Pretty good book, but not the best

    This book starts out slow, as Capote gives the reader an image of the kind of people the victims, the Clutters, were. He recounts their final actions the day before they died. Now, I know this sounds horrible and I'm sorry, but the book got much more interesting once their bodies were found. Capote then gives a detailed account of the actions of various people involved in the case: the murderers, Dick and Perry, as well as the K.B.I. agent in charge of solving the clueless and apparently motiveless crime, Alvin Dewey. I found the whole process of identifying and eventually catching and executing the elusive killers fascinating, and I enjoyed reading this book. However, I felt that Capote was trying too hard to make us, the readers, feel sorry for the murderers, which I was definitely not ready to do.

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  • Posted October 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Recommended, good not great

    The reason I chose to read In Cold Blood was curiosity. I wanted to know why there was so much controversy surrounding this book. I thought the book was good and for the most part kept my interest; although, I didn't feel like it was a book I couldn't put down. In fact, at the end it started getting a little boring and drawn out. I felt like a really got an idea of what the characters and town were like. However, I was somewhat bothered by the sympatric tone the author seemed to feel towards Smith and Hickcock. Overall, I thought it was a good book, and different from anything else I have read lately. Anyone who is interested in true crime should read this book. I also think it would be a good choice for book clubs. I could see a lot of interesting discussions generated from this book.

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  • Posted June 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Very detailed

    I do not regret reading tgis book at all. It is long and does get kind of boring at times but all in all it is a great story. To read this book you must be willing to concentrate.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2011

    In Cold Blood

    In Cold Blood is the story of a family murdered by two men seemingly for no apparent reason. Based on true events, the novel mostly goes into detail to describe what happened and what their motivations were. I think this novel was intended for young adults and those curious or who needed closure of the real murder cases. I did not particularly like the ending to In Cold Blood because it was extremely predictable. I like some suspense; which up until Dick and Perry's side was revealed, the novel was filled with suspense. Once their reasoning was revealed, it felt as though there was almost no purpose to continue reading because the event had already happened, and now we had just found out why it happened.
    The most interesting part of the book was when Dick and Perry's true motivations were revealed because until then, the reader and the characters had no clue as to why they would cause such a terrible event.
    The most exciting part of this book was the beginning because all anyone knew was what had happened. The characters didn't know who did it or for what reasons and the reader didn't know if they would get caught or why they did it. It was suspenseful to continue reading to find out these things.
    Capote liked to switch it up in this book and tell it from different viewpoints. I liked that because it made it a little easier to understand and relate to because I felt like I really could understand how the people felt and what they were going through from inside their minds. Capote also describes things in great detail; which at times got lengthy and dragged on, but other times it made it easier to understand things and relate to the characters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2010

    Pretty Good for Someone Who Doesnt Like to read!!!

    In Cold Blood is about the murder of a family in Holcomb, Kansas. The book explains what happened to the family and why they were killed. Truman Capote also tells what happens to the town over the next five years; how safe the town feels, how people are interacting with each other, and how trusting they are with one another.
    I thought this book was very good considering I usually dont like the books teachers assign. This one actually kept me reading and interested in what would was going on in the book. This book also was very suspensful because you never knew what happened next. I would reccomend this to anyone who loves (or hates) reading!

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  • Posted December 7, 2010

    In Cold Blood

    In the book, In Cold Blood there's a sense of mystery as pieces of the story unfolds. It all starts when a well- known family in the rural town of Holcomb is murdered. The motive is unknown and the town is left with questions of who did it. There was no evidence left behind and leads as to who committed the crime were slim. The murderers Dick and Perry, flee the country and leave to Mexico, where they return back after they spend the money they had stolen.While they were away, clues and tips arrived and police found out who had done it. Once they return, authorities are already looking for them and capture them. They are put on trial and receive the death penalty for all four murders.
    This book is not the typical book you find. It's a non-fiction story that includes feedback from the characters in the story as events are taking place. I hadn't read a book like this before in any class and this a suspense book that had me thinking of how criminals behave and how their past can affect their future and the actions they make.

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  • Posted December 7, 2010

    Recommended-A really good read!

    In Cold Blood, written by Truman Capote, is a thrilling novel about the murder of the Clutter family. Capote starts off the novel by setting the scene on the Clutter estate and giving an in-depth description of each member of the Clutter family living on the Clutter estate: Herbert, Bonnie, Nancy, and Kenyon. Capote then moves on to explain the the horrible events of November 15, 1959. He details the murder in a very real way. Capote then describes the after events of that tragic murder and everything that happens with Dick and Perry and all those affected by the Clutter's death. Capote ends his novel with the eventual hangings of the Clutter's murderers, Dick Hickock and Perry Smith.
    I found In Cold Blood to be a very capturing read that kept me entertained and 'wanting more,' throughout the entire novel. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a book that takes a different, but interesting look at the way a a murder is covered and written about. In Cold Blood was a very satisfying read that I think anyone of any age could thoroughly enjoy.

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  • Posted December 6, 2010

    In Cold Blood

    The book In Cold Blood, a nonfiction novel by Truman Capote, tells the story about the killings of four members of the Clutters family. This novel is a very thrilling, adventurous and overall sad story that took place nearly 51 years ago; in a small village of about three-hundred people called Holcomb, Kansas. Truman Capote started his novel by explaining a little about the victims, Mr. Herb Clutter, his wife Bonnie, and their two teenager children, Nancy and Kenyon. The Clutters family was very wealthy due to Mr. Clutter owned a ranch. Herb Clutter was a well known respected man who was very organized with his business. Bonnie Clutter, was a stay at home person. She suffered from mental disorders, and would spend a lot of her time in bed. This made Dick and Perry (The killers) think they had the perfect catch. But it all went horribly wrong when their plan completely changed once they were in the Clutter's house and realized their was no safe. The outcome, death. Perry and Dick put a shotgun to everyone head and pulled the trigger. Months later, they were caught and sentence to death.The author has a unique way to describe the story almost as if you were watching a movie. Very different from any other non-fiction book. The reason being, Truman followed the case of the murderers up to the point of their execution. He would visit them every chance he could get, and they would often exchange letters throughout a period of five years. Truman Capote wrote a true-crime masterpiece.

    The book itself is really well written, but the fact that it was about a real true crime made me continue reading it. This book get's straight to the point and you don't have to wait until the last page to find out who the killer is. Right from the start, introduces the victims, then the killers, and where its all taking place. If you are a fan of that, this book should be quite interesting.There are parts when the author gives way too much detail about one thing and sometimes one may feel uninterested in the book. The plot was sometimes confusing as well, because it switched back and fourth a lot. So it's more of a "you like it, or you don't" book. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes mystery and detective books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2005

    In Cold Blood

    In this horrific true tale, a very well liked family in the city of Holcomb, Kansas, was brutally murdered. The beginning of this story tells of the family and their contributions to the city they lived in, and the family¿s characteristics of each individual. It showed how this family was so well liked and well known that it was odd that they would be the ones targeted. Continuing on in the book it tells how they are murdered and the major effects the killings has on the town they live in, and also in the United States. It goes on telling how the men are finally captured, through their trial of them being convicted, and also through their death sentence. The one downside I had thought about this book was that the beginning didn¿t grab my attention the way I felt it should. I wasn¿t drawn in and interested to even finish the book at first. It did however finally increase the pace and I found it to be a page turning book in which I recommend to those readers who don¿t mind ¿waiting it out¿ until a book gets better. I had heard from many people that this was an excellent book, I do agree. There is such vivid detail that, even though it can make you feel uneasy just reading it, you feel as if your right there watching these horrendous attacks occur.

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