Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “In Cold Blood” as Want to Read:
In Cold Blood
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

In Cold Blood

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  592,389 ratings  ·  19,701 reviews
The most famous true crime novel of all time and one of the first non-fiction novels ever written; In Cold Blood is the bestseller that haunted its author long after he finished writing it.

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
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published October 9th 2001 by Vintage (first published 1965)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about In Cold Blood, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers... (view spoiler)
Casey 'In Cold Blood' was groundbreaking in melding journalism with storytelling, the first "nonfiction novel. It is not farfetched to think prejudice and s…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)
Bruce Rusk "In Cold Blood" made in 1967 is a excellent film, highly recommended.

There was a remake for TV 1996 that is inferior, I don't recommend it.

"Capote" a…more
"In Cold Blood" made in 1967 is a excellent film, highly recommended.

There was a remake for TV 1996 that is inferior, I don't recommend it.

"Capote" and "Infamous" are both really about Capote although both films center around the authors time spent with the killers, particularly Smith, and his research writing the book.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  592,389 ratings  ·  19,701 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of In Cold Blood
Jeffrey Keeten
"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. Crime: B&
Michael Finocchiaro
I just wonder why it took me so long to get this masterpiece on my currently-reading shelf. What a breathtaking story! And told in the most amazing novelistic style! The cold-blooded murders in Kansas in 1956 are described by a cold, distant narrator via the interviews of the family, acquaintances, and community around the victims and the hair-raising stories of Perry and Bobby, the murderers. It is a real page-turner - I couldn't put it down! The descriptions of the youth of all the tragic prot ...more
David Putnam
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story made a huge impact on my life. There were six of us kids and come summer my mother couldn't handle all of us so she farmed me out every year to the aunts. One aunt lived in Indio. My mother put me on a Greyhound bus and nine years old; all alone with my brown paper grocery bag as luggage. I was scared to death. A Seagull hit the expansive windshield with splat of blood and feathers. Unfazed the driver merely turned on the windshield wipers and made and even bigger mess.
I arrived in In
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An absolute masterpiece of True Crime literature, In Cold Blood is both gritty and intelligent.

This should be on everyone's list of Books to Read in a Lifetime. Capote's writing in this account is absolutely flawless.

As many of you may know, In Cold Blood is a true account of the heinous murders of the Clutter Family in 1959-Kansas.

Through Capote's words, you are transported to this small town; you get alternating accounts from the family, the killers and from other individuals close to the cr
Will Byrnes
Truman Capote - image from the NY Post

This is one of the great ones. Capote blankets Holcomb, Kansas with his curiosity. The root of this work is a ghastly crime. Two recently released convicts, seeking a fortune that did not exist, invade the Clutter family home, tie up the four family members present and leave no witnesses. It takes some time for the perpetrators to be identified, then tracked down. Capote looks at how the townspeople react to this. Many, fearful that one of their own was res
Ahmad Sharabiani
In Cold Blood, Truman Capote

This article is about the book by Truman Capote. In Cold Blood is a non-fiction novel by American author Truman Capote, first published in 1966; it details the 1959 murders of four members of the Herbert Clutter family in the small farming community of Holcomb, Kansas.

When Capote learned of the quadruple murder, before the killers were captured, he decided to travel to Kansas and write about the crime.

He was accompanied by his childhood friend and fellow author Harp
Oct 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In Cold Blood is the new school classics selection in the group catching up on classics for November 2016. Having read Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's recently and enjoying his writing, I could not wait to read this nonfiction thriller in advance of the upcoming group read. Writing in his relaxing southern style, Capote turns a horrid crime into a story to make the how's and whys accessible to the average American. It is in this regard that I rate this thrilling classic five stars.

On Nov
May 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At the beginning, In Cold Blood reads like a classic southern gothic tale. I've read about Harper Lee hanging out with Capote while he put this thing together, and at times it feels like she greatly influenced how it was written. You meet the Clutters who are just the nicest people in the world out working hard and going to school and being awesome people in the town. And, I know there's all this controversy over how the book is written since it adds fictional conversations and thoughts that Cap ...more
Amy Galaviz
Mar 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
J.L.   Sutton
Jan 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A seminal work for the nonfiction novel and the true crime genre, Truman Capote's In Cold Blood stands apart from most of its literary descendants. Not only is it compelling and suspenseful even when you know (like many crime dramatizations) what's going to happen, it's also very well-written. In fact, its literary quality gives In Cold Blood a dimension which few other nonfiction novels will match. The evolution of the form, since In Cold Blood, is nothing short of astonishing. It makes you app ...more
This book is one of the first, if not the first, true crime novel. According to Wikipedia, only Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders has sold more copies in the True Crime category than In Cold Blood. While true crime fans might read this today and think that it sounds like your basic true crime story, at the time it was groundbreaking to detail a crime in this much detail and in a format as big as a novel.

One of the things it appears that this novel set the precedence for, and t
Apr 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
as a massive bookworm and true crime enthusiast, i have no explanation for why its taken me so long to read this. maybe its because i prefer my true crime stories in the form of documentaries and podcasts. regardless, i was super excited to finally pick up the book that is considered the first true crime novel and pioneered the nonfiction subgenre.

what really surprised me about this was how capote didnt just stick to the crime and the trial. the novel-like prose explores the familys life, the c
Mar 05, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know this book is considered a masterpiece. I know that I’m supposed to love it and be touched by its revolutionary take on the True crime genre but for some reason I just kept falling asleep while reading it.

The novel addresses many key points about crime in the late 50s, about our justice system, about the pros and cons of capital punishment. I just got a little lost in all the minutia of it.

I’m glad I read the book and got a taste of Truman Capote’s work but it didn’t touched me like I th


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 no
Aug 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
“‘This is it, this is it, this has to be it, there’s the school, there’s the garage, now we turn south.’ To Perry [Smith], it seemed as though Dick [Hickock] were mumbling jubilant mumbo-jumbo. They left the highway, sped through a deserted Holcomb, and crossed the Santa Fe tracks. ‘The bank, that must be the bank, now we turn west – see the trees? This is it, this has to be it.’ The headlights disclosed a lane of Chinese elms; bundles of wind-blown thistle scurried across it. Dick doused the he ...more
Julie G
Reading Road Trip 2020

Current location: Kansas

How can I explain this? It was like I wasn't part of it. More as though I was reading a story. And I had to know what was going to happen. The end.

If you ask a random American to name a book they associate with the state of Kansas, they will most likely answer The Wonderful World of Oz (a story more popularly known by the movie's name, The Wizard of Oz).

If you ask a devoted reader the same question, you will get Oz, for sure, but you'll have a quick
Oct 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: buddy-read, 2017, classics
I thought to myself, do I need to write another review for one of the best true crime books ever written? And then I thought, yeah, you do. You’ve written reviews on terrible, stupid and boring books and a book this good, it definitely deserves another one. This is the best story about true crime that I have ever read. Hands down.

After painting a peaceful scene in the Midwest plains of America, evil makes it's presence felt. This is how the book starts and Truman Capote’s writing had my blood ch
I do not, as I have said many a time, feel things very often. I am just shy of being a sociopathic monster, mainly because I consider myself to be way too cute and charming for that. (Except sociopaths are capable of charm...huh. Back to the drawing board.)

Anyway. Even in my actual, real life, I try to experience emotions as infrequently as possible. This is only truer for the books I read.

In Cold Blood is a true crime narrative detailing the crime, investigation, and trial related to the murder
Oct 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Cold Blood is a non-fiction recount about the murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas on a November night in 1959. Admittedly, I knew very little of the story prior to reading this book, as this took place well before my time, nearly 30 years before I was born. This is the first Capote book I’ve read and despite the somber subject, I found it to be an engaging read.

It’s impressive that Capote was able to reconstruct the story, background and investigation with the level of detail pro
This honestly is one of the best books I have ever read and it certainly was the best non-fiction book I have ever read.
I was utterly captivated by it, from start to finish. The way it was written was just so perfect and fitting - incredibly suspenseful and matter of fact, but still with a touch of emotion.
I think the official term for this book is "non-fiction novel" and while I get why it gets this label, I personally wouldn't actually call it that. Sure, it has the quality of a novel and sh
Peter (on semi-hiatus)
An outstanding and powerful work of literature, even more impressive because it conveyed true crimes, a profound investigative insight, the vivid sense of time and place, and the atmosphere that cloaked the evil events carried out on November 15 in 1959, in Holcomb, Kansas. Truman Capote is an artist that painted every detail of the story with such a detailed flow that causes us to stop and appreciate the surroundings rather than wishing the story was being pushed at a faster pace.

Nilufer Ozmekik
Nov 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am embarrassed to wait too long to read two brilliant true crime story novels : one of them is Helter Skelter and the other is of course this blood chilling, disturbing book I’m reviewing right now as I’m slapping my forehead. Sometimes I have hard time to prioritize my reading list and my chubby tbr may direct me wrong kind of books! But today I’m so happy to find my way to this classic after watching it’s amazing movie adaptation.

After four members of Herbert Clutter family were brutally k
Mark Porton
Dec 29, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime, classics
There is no doubting Truman Capote is a writer extraordinaire. For those of you who haven’t read this classic piece (I think I was the only person on this planet not to do so - oh, and Antoinette, Annie, Jonathan, Rebecca, Lori et al) – it’s really an excellent work of journalism. Capote spent six years researching the brutal murders of four members of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas back in 1959. During this time he got to know the two murderers Perry Smith and Dick Hickock.

One aspect of
I almost gave up on this classic. The reason I didn't is that this was the very first book I added to my want-to-read shelf when I signed up for this account in 2014! It'll bring bad juju if you know what I mean. 😶‍🌫️

I thought he was a very nice gentleman. Soft-spoken. I thought so right up to the moment I cut his throat.

This is a true crime classic published in 1965. In Cold Blood covers a detailed account of the murder, investigation, trial, and execution in the Clutter family
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, recs, 2017
A sprawling, unflinching look into a grisly small-town murder motivated by greed and enabled by an astounding indifference to human suffering, written in arresting prose that fully renders the psychology of the perpetrators and victims alike.
Ɗẳɳ  2.☊
This book is a perfect example of why I’m not all that interested in nonfiction, or maybe it’s just True Crime in general. Because the writing was stellar, the characterizations were excellent, the scenes were vividly captured, and the dialog was spot-on. And yet this story somehow failed to captivate me. In fact, it took me nearly the same amount of time to read Stephen King’s kitten squisher of a novel The Stand as it did this book, which is roughly ¼ the size.

At first glance, there are only
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
Dec 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Bionic Jean
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Book Review 1 2 May 22, 2022 07:29PM  
Old Books, New Re...: September 2019 Book Discussion PART IV: Sept 22-30 (In Cold Blood) 11 56 May 18, 2022 12:18PM  
Reading List Comp...: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote 15 20 Apr 20, 2022 07:06AM  
Nonfiction Naviga...: True crime 1 1 Dec 06, 2021 09:19AM  
Reading the 20th ...: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (September 2021) 38 39 Oct 12, 2021 10:31AM  
The Pedro Pascal ...: General Thoughts 1 3 Sep 05, 2021 02:56PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
  • Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders
  • Into the Wild
  • Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster
  • I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer
  • The Godfather (The Godfather, #1)
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
  • Slaughterhouse-Five
  • Sharp Objects
  • Una Historia de Ayer
  • And Then There Were None
  • 밀레니엄 1 상: 여자를 증오한 남자들 (Millennium 1: Phase Millennium: The men hate women)
  • The Big Sleep
  • The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1)
  • Dark Places
  • A Study in Scarlet (Sherlock Holmes, #1)
  • The Catcher in the Rye
  • On the Road
See similar books…
See top shelves…
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

Articles featuring this book

Pageturners are by no means limited to the world of fiction. In fact, a great narrative nonfiction book can often read like the most twisty of...
55 likes · 19 comments
“The village of Holcomb stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area that other Kansans call “out there.” 436 likes
“It is no shame to have a dirty face- the shame comes when you keep it dirty.” 191 likes
More quotes…