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In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences (Modern Library)

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  343,336 ratings  ·  9,011 reviews

National Bestseller

On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.

As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and exe

Hardcover, 432 pages
Published October 9th 2001 by Modern Library (first published January 1st 1965)
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Casey 'In Cold Blood' was groundbreaking in melding journalism with storytelling, the first "nonfiction novel. It is not farfetched to think prejudice and…more'In Cold Blood' was groundbreaking in melding journalism with storytelling, the first "nonfiction novel. It is not farfetched to think prejudice and stereotypes about homosexual men of that era, and even now, would lead to accusations he couldn't stop himself from engaging in sex with a murderer upon whom he is reporting. There is proof some of what Capote claimed to be fact was exaggerated and in some instances total fabrication, but these actions are everywhere in journalism, as well as memoirs of course. Regardless of what happened, whatever writing this book did to Capote, it ruined him, which is a loss to anyone who thought he might have more to contribute...(less)
Nicolina Yeah there is, kinda. The only one I know about is called Capote. It's more centered on Truman Capote but it follows the incident from start to…moreYeah there is, kinda. The only one I know about is called Capote. It's more centered on Truman Capote but it follows the incident from start to finish. I really liked the movie. It brought the book alive for me.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
Apr 30, 2015 Jeffrey Keeten rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jeffrey by: On the Southern Literary Trail
Shelves: horror
"How much money did you get from the Clutters?"
"Between forty and fifty dollars."


Top Picture Hickock, Richard Eugene (WM)28 KBI 97 093; FBI 859 273 A. Address: Edgerton, Kansas. Birthdate 6-6-31 Birthplace K.C., Kans. Height: 5-10 Weight: 175 Hair: Blond. Eyes: Blue. Build: Stout. Comp: Ruddy. Occup: Car Painter. Crime: Cheat & Defr. & Bad Checks. Paroled: 8-13-59 By: So. K.C.K.

Bottom Picture Smith, Perry Edward (WM) 27-59. Birthplace: Nevada. Height: 5-4. Weight: 156 Hair: D. Brn. Crim


4.0 to 4.5 stars. Written over a period of 7 years and published in 1966, this novel, while not technically the first “true crime” non-fiction novel, is credited (correctly) with establishing the genre and being the progenitor of today's true crime novel. I would certainly agree that most of the other true crime novels that I have read followed almost the exact "blue print" laid out by Capote in this book. That is quite a testament to the technical excellence of this novel
Amy Galaviz
After I read it, I looked up pictures of the Clutter family, and just stared for about five minutes. They endured what is probably everyone’s worst fear.

Having never heard anything of the Clutter murders prior to reading this book, the experience of reading it was intense, gripping, and suspenseful from beginning to end. Capote, with his impartial writing style, relayed facts and details in such a way as to give a complete character illustration of everyone involved: from each of the Clutters, t
It is clear from reading In Cold Blood that not only is Philip Seymour Hoffman an excellent writer, but he is also an in-depth researcher. Every line in this book is painstakingly detailed and therein, as they say, is the devil. Well, the devil had me hooked from start to finish.

Beginning with a day-in-the-life of the Clutter family shortly before four of its members were slain, Mr. Hoffman presents the real-life tale of the murders (as well as its aftermath) in a somewhat nonlinear fashion, ski
Within 10 minutes of finishing In Cold Blood you'll be on the internet searching for pictures of the killers and victims of this real world multiple-slaying narrated brilliantly by Truman Capote. The photos are there, and like a voyeur, you'll be drawn, captivated, needing to see the mug shots, the murdered family, the courtroom stills, the crime scene, each room that held a body with a head blown open like a busted melon.

Capote breathes such realism into the characters that all you'll need to m
K.D. Absolutely
Sep 05, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Shelves: 501, 1001-core, crime
A couple of weeks back, a disgruntled former senior inspector Rolando Mendoza from the Manila Police District shot and killed eight Hong Kong tourists ending the hostage crisis drama that lasted for around 10 hours. This took place at the Quirino Grandstand in the heart of Manila, Philippines. The whole nation was stunned while watching the images unfolding on TV screens. The whole world watched with us as the events are covered by CNN. Mendoza's demand was for him to get his job back. He was ab ...more
Paquita Maria Sanchez
At first I wasn't going to compose a review about this book. Considering the adapted-to-screen version, the biographical film centering around this period in the author's life, the seemingly infinite number of editions printed over the last 40+ years, the massive hype surrounding the murders/murderers even today, the more than likely THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of reviews already written about the novel, and the general rock-stardom that IS Truman Capote, it seemed about as pointless as dropping a p ...more
Reev Robledo
Capote paints perfect pictures of every character. You can almost feel them breathing right beside you. Their thoughts, their mannerisms, their physique, their psyche, etc. Bravo.

He painstakingly describes every detail—with thousands of commas and dashes preceding thousands of commas and dashes—his keen sense of observation (and exaggeration) is both impressive and tiring at the same time. I felt that Truman probably held the details of every interview close to his heart hence a lot of unnecessa

Holcomb, Kansas November 15, 1959

(Herbert, Bonnie, Nancy and Kenyon)

Four of the six members of the Clutter family were bound, gagged and murdered in their home. Herb and Bonnie and two of their four children-Nancy age 16 and Kenyon age 15. The family was well-liked within the community and was generally known for being “good people”.

Two parolees had heard that Mr. Clutter was a man of wealth and that he had a safe tucked away inside his home.

( Perry Edward Smith)

(Richard Hickcock)

These two men
I originally thought this book would be a page turner on hypothermia. Being that thermoregulation keeps human blood at about 100 degrees, and hypothermia sets in at the high 90's, I assumed "cold" blood would be around 60 degrees...meaning instant death.

However, I did completely misjudge the book and its subject. Well played, Mr. Capote...well played.
Oct 23, 2014 Rolls rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tru crime fans - get it?
Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" is a highly disconcerting read. After painting an idyllic scene we'd expect from the Midwestern setting evil makes it's presence felt. The blood is chilled and the heart gripped as a result.

As everyone must know by now this is considered the first nonfiction novel. All the bare facts of this story actually took place. A family of four was indeed murdered in their home by two unknown assailants on 14 November 1959. What made this book innovative was the fact that C
As an English reader I had not heard of the Clutter massacre, and all I knew about Truman Capote was his novel "Breakfast at Tiffany's". It took a while before I recognised this novel as truly great. The 1950's domesticity did not appeal to me. It seemed alien, claustrophobic, gender-specific and rather dull. But after a while I realised the genius in describing the setting of this time and place to the minutest detail.

The "New York Times" calls In Cold Blood

"The best documentary account of an
In 1959, four members of the Clutter family (Herbert, the father; Bonnie, the mother; Nancy, the popular teenage daughter; and Kenyon, the reserved and quiet son) were tied up in separate rooms of their own home and shot in the head. All of this took place in the Mayberry-esque town of Holcomb, Kansas (a poster child for "things like that don't happen here"), and terrified the local residents. There was little evidence, no clear motive, and a good chance that those responsible would never be app ...more
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote was described by its author as a non-fiction novel.

The novel was first published in 1965 and at the time this style of writing, perhaps even the template for a new genre, was fresh and new and bold. Almost 50 years later and the disturbing images are as fresh, vibrant and malevolent as when the ink was wet.

The style of writing has no doubt inspired generations of writers since, but their imitation has done little to diminish the power of Capote’s work. Whether it
This is the first book that I've ever read for the specific purpose of reviewing it for Goodreads. I've been curious about the book for many years, but for some reason I've always found some reason not to read it. Well in 2011 I ran out of excuses and dived in.

First of all let me state that this was a very easy read. It moves along at a good clip and never drags. Well not quite true. It drags somewhat when Capote spends several pages covering Perry Smith's background. There is a touch of infatu
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 4.75* of five

BkC13) IN COLD BLOOD by Truman Capote: As good as it gets. Only really good thing he wrote.

The first statement being unassailable, I'll focus on the second.

Breakfast at Tiffany's is fun, and a little bit risqué, but deathless literature? Even a well-made novella? Not so much. Other Voices, Other Rooms? A roman à clef that, because it dealt with hoMOsexuals (plural) in 1948, was much tutted over and hollered about. Reading it in the 21st century, one is struck at just how dre
Tom Mathews
I don’t usually do this but I’m going to start this review with the negatives first. Keep reading, though. I will get to the upside eventually.

Reading In Cold Blood makes the journalist and editor in me squirm. Having been educated and trained that if something can’t document something five ways to Sunday it shouldn’t be put into print, I initially found Truman Capote’s one foray into true crime writing very presumptuous, as if only he knew what was going on in the minds of the killers and their
In Cold Blood is a very detailed account of the November 15, 1959 brutal murders of four members of the Cutter family residing in Holcomb, Kansas. This gripping and informative narrative describes the actual murder, investigation, eventual capture of Hickock and Smith, as well as their trial and executions. A sad true-crime story, but worthwhile historical read.
Another instance in which a book prevented me from sleeping; I stayed up almost all night reading this one. I can’t say I enjoyed it, but it is a very compelling look at life in the American Plains in the late 1950s, as well as into the American justice system of the time.

The dark corner of almost every bookstore is the True Crime section, shelved with scores mass-market paperbacks with dark covers and shocking fluorescent-lettered titles, promising true-to-life stories of murder and mayhem, com
Oh Truman Capote, what have you done to me? I don’t generally read true crime and yet you had me gripped. I felt compelled to read every detail of the murders even though I felt sick. I abhorred those men. And then, then!? You had me feel empathy for them and sadness at their fate – well mainly Perry but still. I think I need a lie-down.

This is one of those books that’s always on the lists of "must read" classics, which ironically often has the effect of putting me off. So this had been gatherin
Martha Matthews
Meticulous reconstruction of the brutal murders of a helpless family, with an emphasis on the movements of the killers after the crime and their eventual convictions and executions. Felt like the source material was doing the driving, not the author. In fact, I became tired of slogging through page after page of first-hand accounts from the killers, their family members, and their former cell-mates - a pitiable bunch.
David Sarkies
Jul 24, 2015 David Sarkies rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like true crime
Recommended to David by: Harper Lee
Shelves: true-crime
The mind of a monster
25 July 2015

I discovered this book through reading To Kill a Mockingbird namely because my bookclub mentioned that Harper Lee and Truman Capote were quite good friends (and Capote even dedicates this book to her at the beginning). Anyway, I also thought the title was really cool (and Capote sounded like he was some Chicago mob boss – though I am probably getting him mixed up with Capone) that when I was scouring through the book shop later that week I was keeping my eye out
It's a pity that this book was out there for so long and I just got around to reading it. Capote doesn't use the typical murder/non-fiction ploy of maximizing gore and downplaying the character sketches; he makes sure that you are well introduced to the principal participants and, I think, tries to drum up some sympathy for the culprits in the case.

(view spoiler)
Dan Porter
With the glut of crime-related progams - both factual and fictional- on primetime television and the daily bombardment of crime we receive from the news media, you might assume this would be just one more crime story. The fact is, it is a very compelling description, by those involved as well as by Capote, of the brutal murder of a family and of the investigation, trial, and execution of those who committed it. The accounts of the individuals who first found and first investigated the the scene ...more
Truly a classic! A paragraph from the book...
In his confession, Smith said, "I didn't want to hurt the man. I thought he was a very nice gentleman. Soft-spoken. I thought so right up to the moment I cut his throat. They (the Clutters) never hurt me. Like other people. Like people have all my life. Maybe it's just that the Clutters were the ones who had to pay for it."
Kristin ❋extols death with luminescent brilliance❋

A-Z Challenge with Karly and Jess

c = Capote, Truman

3.5 stars

Interesting read for sure, but a little dry and slow. To be fair, I don't read a lot of non-fiction for this reason. Maybe I watch and read too many gruesome things that this one seemed rather tame. Sad yes, but there are so many sickos out there that I guess I was expecting more than two sociopathic derelicts.

I did find some interesting articles after reading the book claiming that this novel wasn't as accurate as Capote claimed it to
Shannon Brennan
We've all heard quite a lot about (from?) Truman Capote these past 12 months. Between Philip Seymour Hoffman's Capote and what's-his-name's (Toby Jones') performance in Infamous, it's rather difficult to even crack the spine of this over-explicated text without hearing the faint cackle of new-york-high-society-types, or picturing Mr. Capote himself, before a crowd, holding the book (a tome, in my mental image) above his head, in that fantastic anecdote about the primacy of the text. So, perhaps, ...more
Mar 23, 2011 Mariel rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: reader meet author
Recommended to Mariel by: eskimos
Morrissey once said that Truman Capote wasn't so much a writer than someone who wrote down stuff that happened ("He was funny though". That's the only exact part of the quote I remember, not having 100% conversational recall). I wouldn't ever want to pin down Morrissey to one thing he ever said (the man changes his mind a lot). I think about Truman Capote and his party boy reputation, what he was pinned down to and feel sad there's gotta be an angle to look for at all. For me this book is from a ...more
3ish stars. I can see how this book was startling, disturbing and new when it was published. I get why it was an award winner several decades ago. I am not sure if In Cold Blood stands the test of time.

In Cold Blood is a true crime non fiction book centered around a horrific set of murders that took place during the middle of the twentieth century in the middle of the United States -- rural Kansas. It was a crime unlike anything the small town had seen before. In Cold Blood tells the story of t
Before starting this book I didn't want to delve into the details but wanted to understand why some reviewers say this is fiction and others classify it as non-fiction. Wiki to the rescue! I am only copying the relevant information that answers this question:

"Some critics consider Capote's work the original non-fiction novel, although other writers had already explored the genre, such as Rodolfo Walsh in Operación Masacre (1957). The book examines the complex psychological relationship between
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Truman Capote was an American writer whose non-fiction, stories, novels and plays are recognised literary classics, including the novella Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958) and In Cold Blood (1965), which he labeled a "non-fiction novel." At least 20 films and TV dramas have been produced from Capote novels, stories and screenplays.

He was born as Truman Streckfus Persons to a salesman Archulus Persons
More about Truman Capote...
Breakfast at Tiffany's Other Voices, Other Rooms A Christmas Memory Music for Chameleons The Grass Harp, Including A Tree of Night and Other Stories

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“The village of Holcomb stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area that other Kansans call “out there.” 345 likes
“It is no shame to have a dirty face- the shame comes when you keep it dirty.” 111 likes
More quotes…