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In Cold Blood

A True Account of A Multiple Murder and Its Consequences

Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
In Cold Blood
Random House, Inc.

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 execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy.In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.

Baker & Taylor
An account of the senseless murder of a Kansas farm family and the search for the killers

& Taylor

Presents Capote's masterful account of the senseless 1959 murders of four members of a farm family in Holcomb, Kansas, and the search for the killers, Richard Eugene Hickock and Perry Edward Smith. Reissue.

Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 1994
Edition: 1st Vintage International ed
ISBN: 0679745580
Branch Call Number: 364.1523 C
Characteristics: 343 p. ; 21 cm.


From Library Staff

1966 winner. This tale of a brutal multiple murder committed on a Kansas farm in 1959 is considered a groundbreaking work in the true crime genre.

1966 winner. This tale of a brutal multiple murder committed on a Kansas farm in 1959 is considered a groundbreaking work in the true crime genre.

From the critics

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Aug 01, 2014
  • lbarkema rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Mostly I thought it was good and a fast-paced book but I could have done without the last fourth of the book, it dragged for me.

Jun 08, 2014
  • wilqser rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Account of a brutal murder of a family in Kansas during the 1959 by a couple of drifters. The book takes us into the lives of the family and the rationale of the killers. Very well written novel; I wouldn't say it was a thriller, but more of whether capital punishment - whether moral or not - should be invoked and whether the mental state of the killers should be considered. Good Storytelling.

Mar 08, 2014
  • KateHillier rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

It's a very well written book that reads more like a novel. You know full well how it ends, or how it must end if you're completely unfamiliar with the case, but you wonder about how and if the murderers are going to get caught. You are anxious about what is going on with the investigation. It's really a lot more like reading a novel than a nonfiction book. My only regret is that I wish I didn't know so much about it already before reading it. I think that would have helped a little bit with the experience.

Feb 11, 2014
  • Lauraparr rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Excellent book! Even when you know the story, you can't help wondering when they're going to get caught or event if they'll ever get capital punishment.

Nov 05, 2013
  • vwruleschick rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

When this was published back in the sixties, I can see that this would have been controversial and thriller like with how the story was written. I enjoyed how the POVs kept changing so you got different ideas/thoughts from the many characters regarding the situation, as well as, the killers. American classic.

Well-written, moving, factual without being judgmental. This is one of the best-written books I’ve read all year. Yet, I couldn’t help feeling saddened by the fact that most—if not all—of the townspeople we meet through Capote’s eyes are probably long gone by now.

Mar 10, 2013
  • Rowho366 rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

This book starts out really good and ends really well. But, there is so much included that i found of no interest to this murder case. Also, It reads more as fiction for a nonfiction book.

Jun 22, 2012
  • oldhag rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Just as disturbing today as it was when originally published. Even though I knew the facts of the crime committed, Capote wrote this so masterfully that I experienced a roller coaster ride of anxiety, first, about when and how the killers would be caught, and, second, whether the killers would escape punishment. My favorite line, referring to one of the killers on death row: "When that boy read a book it stayed read". Heartily recommend even if you've read it before.

Nov 28, 2011
  • BigMoose rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Thoroughly researched and reported, masterfully written!

Apr 21, 2011
  • YamMit rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

In Cold Blood, a rare exception where the MOVIE is better than the book. I read the book first and was appalled by the author's insertion of his personal opinions. I was troubled by this and hoped that his tawdry opinions would disappear into the text/story. It didn't... like an old racist, it stole away the face of inhumanity and replaced it with Truman Capote's prejudice.

I was thoroughly disgusted by his views by the end of the pages... as much as the senselessness of Perry Smith and Richard Hickock actions. I could barely stomach the book and forced myself to read it and finish it! It was a horrible read, the most vile book, I ever read and the author is someone abhorr for his portrayal of these two vicious killers as non-human.

I saw the movie and was impressed by the acting, the humanity, killers given a human face without being so dogmatic(book). I would never own or buy the movie myself but I'd see it again as opposed to reading the book. I understood the main two characters for the very first time by seeing the movie and even understanding "how" they could kill an innocent family in Kansas. I do not 'CONDONE' any kind of violence, in word, literary, live-in-person or in art form. I don't like the idea of killing anyone for any reason, even in self-defence is the last resort.

So, my fellow readers avoid reading the book and see the movie - it does a better job/representation of the human condition.

Mitch Yamamoto

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