Thursday, April 12, 2012

In Cold Blood [Capote]

Book: In Cold Blood
Author: Truman Capote

Review: In 1959, a wealthy farmer, his wife and two teenager children were shot to death in a small town in Kansas. There were few clues and no motive-the family was well liked and the killers stole less than $50. The murder shocked the small community of Holcomb, Kansas and the case gained national attention. Truman Capote, a reporter for the New Yorker, traveled to Holcomb to research the case. He interviewed everyone in the town, reviewed all the police records and had extensive interviews with the killers. His completed work, 'In Cold Blood' introduces readers to the Clutter family (the victims), Dick Hickock and Perry Smith (the killers), and follows the crime, investigation, arrest, court case and death row.  

Widely considered Capote's best work, 'In Cold Blood' is the first non-fiction crime novel. Although the Clutter's are written almost too "American pie wholesome", Capote was successful in creating sympathy for both the victims and the killers (at least Perry Smith; I did not feel sympathy for Hickock who seemed like a complete sociopath). Well written, you almost forget the story is "real" this was an engaging read. This was a good book club discussion book as it sparked good discussion regarding criminal responsibility (is a person guilty of murder if they didn't technically commit the crime?), fairness of a trial and the death penalty. If you are a fan of true crime, you will enjoy this book.

Grade: B+

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