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#360 ~ In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Published by: Random House

Published on: March 2002 (reprint)

Page Count: 343

Genre: True Crime

My Reading Format: Audiobook borrowed from my local public library

Audiobook Published by: Random House Audio

Narrator: Scott Brick

Audiobook Length: 14 hours 27 minutes

Available Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook and Audiobook


My Review

Ever since I read Capote In Kansas by Kim Powers, I’ve wanted to read In Cold Blood. The problem is, I’m kind of a baby when it comes to blood, gore and torture. I purchased the paperback, but it never left my shelf. Then, after speaking with Dave Cullen about his wonderful true crime novel Columbine, I was once again tempted to pick up the audiobook when Cullen said his book had been called the modern day In Cold Blood. I rented the audiobook from the library, but had to return it unread. Finally, after seeing @braincandybr tweet about listening to it. Although our tweet chat never happened, it finally got me listening. I loved every chilling second of this book.

I had forgotten that I attempted to listen to The Passage. After several hours, I just couldn’t take it. I’m not much of a paranormal reader and hadn’t given the book much thought since. Well, as soon as I heard Scott Brick begin his narration of In Cold Blood, I recognized that voice instantly. Associating that voice in the past with a horror story, In Cold Blood started off that much more creepy that it might have been otherwise. I kept waiting for the shoe to drop. Instead, this story built over time and honed a steady level of intrigue and suspense. Just as with Columbine, I knew the crime and the ultimate outcome before starting the book, but I couldn’t tear myself away from the story.

Scott Brick did a terrific job narrating this brilliant true crime book. I can’t imagine Capote not being pleased. Together, Capote and Brick made the world around the Clutter family hum with a thick tension you wished the family felt in time enough to save themselves. I sat vigil with the Clutter family as they lived out their last day. I didn’t want to get to know them and to care about them but to do otherwise was impossible. When I wasn’t heartsick over the Clutters, I kept an eye out for Dick Hickcock and Perry Smith even though I knew they were dead long before I was born. Capote’s characterization and story-telling coupled with Brick’s narration brought to light the actions and the inner demons of the two killers. Although criminal psychology and the ethics of the death penalty were explored, there was no defense made for the pair. As the title indicates, they certainly were not were they glorified. The reader is allowed to draw his or her own conclusions.

The scenes in which the Clutter family are held hostage in their home and through the killings was difficult to listen to, but it certainly wasn’t so horrible as to not read the book. In Cold Blood is a must read. I cannot recommend the audiobook version enough. Scott Brick more than lived up to the challenge of the subject matter and Capote’s writing.

11 Comments

  • At 2011.08.28 08:39, Beth Hoffman said:

    Capote is one of may absolute favorite authors. Have you ever read a Christmas Memory? It’s just the opposite of In Cold Blood and a masterpiece … it’s less than 100 pages long and an incredible story. I think you’d love it.

    • At 2011.08.28 08:40, Sandy said:

      I actually read this book in print, but knowing the talents of Brick, I could go for an audio re-read. I feel this book sets the standard for true crime. And what makes it even more compelling is the backstory…Capote’s obsession with Perry. Hearing about the details of the Clutter family is devastating, but still the book is so well written. One of my top ten ever I think.

      • At 2011.08.28 09:24, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

        I read this years ago and it totally creeped me out, yet I couldn’t put it down – I can’t imagine listening to it. You’re braver than I am. Your review has made me want to pick up Columbine.

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        • At 2011.08.28 09:33, Jennifer said:

          Beth, I’ll definitely pick up Christmas Memory. A happier Cape read would be really nice.

          Sandy, I need to find out more about this Perry obsession. I can see it based upon his focus in the book, but I thought it SW more to build up sympathy b/c of how this all turned out. Interesting!

          Kathy, I listened to COLUMBINE as well. It was so compelling. I guess with COLUMBINE & IN COLD BLOOD, I’m a bigger true crime fan than I ever would have imagined. Let me know if you pick it up.

          • At 2011.08.28 14:49, Aths said:

            I loved this book too, and I agree – that scene when the Clutters were stuck in their own home was one of the hardest scenes I’d ever read in a book.

            • At 2011.08.28 18:26, Jennifer said:

              Isn’t it hard to know what’s going to happen at a high level and wanting to stop it? I was shocked by how it all ended up going down. Nightmare.

              • At 2011.08.28 20:33, Melissa (Avid Reader) said:

                I read this one in college (in print) and was pretty amazed. It was so much more intense than what I expected from my previous experience with Capote. Such a wonderful piece of nonfiction.

                • At 2011.08.29 05:41, Kailana said:

                  I have always wanted to read this book, but it just hasn’t happened yet… One of these days!

                  • At 2011.08.29 10:01, Tami said:

                    I struggle with this, and other, true crime books. For the reader it’s a fascinating story, but it’s very different for the friends/family of those involved. We used to live hear Holcomb, KS, where these crimes took place. There are still people who won’t even discuss the events because they are painful and frightning, much less read the book. It was a controversy when our kids were assigned the book as a high school project. I wonder how it feels to have the tragedy of your family made into entertainment for strangers.

                    • At 2011.08.29 10:50, Jennifer said:

                      Tami,

                      Thanks for your comments. I haven’t thought about it that way. I imagine it would be horrible to have lived through that tragedy. I can fully understand why people wouldn’t talk about it. This has given me a lot to think about. It’s not a genre I read regularly. I imagine those who do have given your comments some thought.

                      • At 2012.12.20 04:01, Scott Brick ~ Baby, It’s Cold Outside! said:

                        […] Cussler, Harlan Coben, Frank Herbert, and Nelson DeMille titles. I personally enjoyed his work on In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. Those who enjoy true crime might also want to pick up The Devil in the White City […]

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