In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

85%

19 Critic Reviews

Personally I like the True Crime sub-genre when it’s done well, and In Cold Blood is done very well. It succeeds as a character study for people and place and time. While it centers around murder, this is not an exceptionally gory tale...
-All About Romance

Synopsis

On November 15, 1959, in Holcomb, Kansas, the four members of the Clutter family were dragged from their beds in the early hours of the morning and tied up. All four were shot in the head with a shotgun at close range. None survived. The killers left few clues, and there was no apparent motive for the slayings. Author Truman Capote, along with his assistant Nell Harper Lee (later would be the author of To Kill a Mockingbird), traveled to Holcomb in late 1959 to investigate the killings for an article. The article was completed, but Capote remained in Holcomb. He conducted interviews with every person in town; he pored over police records and statements. Once the killers, drifters Perry Smith and Dick Hickock, were caught and sentenced, he even interviewed them on Death Row. the result was his masterpiece: the nonfiction novel. He called his piece of creative nonfiction IN COLD BLOOD, and it so consumed him that it would be the last thing he'd ever write.
 

About Truman Capote

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TRUMAN CAPOTE was born in New Orleans on September 30, 1924. In 1948 his first novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms, was published to international critical acclaim, assuring Capote a place among the prominent postwar American writers. He won the O. Henry Memorial Short Story Prize twice and was a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. His other works include Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Grass Harp, and the nonfiction masterpiece In Cold Blood. He died on August 25, 1984.











Author Hometown: New Orleans, LA
 
Published February 1, 1994 by Perfection Learning. 343 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Travel, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for In Cold Blood
All: 19 | Positive: 18 | Negative: 1

Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Rupert Thomson on Aug 05 2011

That In Cold Blood has literary merit is not in doubt – 45 years on, it remains as vivid and unsettling as ever – but what makes it unforgettable, perhaps, is the portrait it paints of the eerie, unspoken contract that exists between the observer and the observed...

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Ed Pilkington on Nov 15 2009

There are many reasons why In Cold Blood has become so ingrained. There is the precision of Capote's writing, which resonates from the first sentence...

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by George Steiner on Dec 02 1980

...Crime and Punishment will remain inexhaustible to the imagination, where Police Officer Dewey's grilling of Smith and Hickock is dead mutton, glittering, brilliantly anatomised, but stone dead. Perhaps that is Capote's inward purpose...In Cold Blood is a significant title: it cuts several ways.

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Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by philipspires on Jul 13 2008

...In Cold Blood becomes and absorbing, multi-faceted, mid-twentieth century reworking of Crime And Punishment...In Cold Blood explores the social and the contextual alongside the psychological.

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NPR

Excellent
Reviewed by Mandy Wiener on Oct 17 2014

It's a classic of the true crime genre, the one against which all others are judged, and the most disturbing, compelling, book I've ever read.

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All About Romance

Good
Reviewed by Rachel Potter on Sep 03 2014

Personally I like the True Crime sub-genre when it’s done well, and In Cold Blood is done very well. It succeeds as a character study for people and place and time. While it centers around murder, this is not an exceptionally gory tale...

Read Full Review of In Cold Blood | See more reviews from All About Romance

Lit Reactor

Good
Reviewed by KARINA WILSON on Nov 15 2012

...In Cold Blood remains one of the most popular literary works of the twentieth century and has never been out of print. It seems Capote was right on the money when he picked his subject ("the human heart being what it is, murder was a theme not likely to darken and yellow with time").

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Lambda Literary

Good
Reviewed by Thomas Page McBee on Jul 26 2014

...Capote’s effort here—tight, dark, sharp, kind—is cause for celebration for another reason entirely: its bravery. In Cold Blood taught me that I could dive into my shadows, face my would-be killer, plumb my heart for the kind of compassion that the worst kind of men never gave me, and find myself there.

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Propeller Quarterly

Above average
Reviewed by Emily Burns Morgan on Sep 03 2014

By trying to use the best of all possible worlds, Capote in effect limits his scope, as the criticism of In Cold Blood documents. In the case of fiction vs. non-fiction one can, and cannot, have one’s cake and eat it, too. In Cold Blood is a stunning achievement, one which propelled Capote to deserved fame and fortune. But still, it is not a novel.

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KQED Arts

Excellent
Reviewed by KQED Arts on Oct 13 2005

Through enormous amounts of research and imagination, Capote miraculously re-constructs and pieces this tragic story together with a chess-like stratagem, creating a novel of epic proportions.

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Literary Exploration

Excellent
Reviewed by Michael Kitto on Aug 30 2014

I was very impressed with this book and I feel like Capote may have ruined true crime and even narrative non-fiction for the rest of the authors in these genres. Capote’s investigational skills and mastery over the written word is what makes this book a masterpiece.

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She Treads Softly Blog

Excellent
Reviewed by Lori L on Apr 13 2010

...I was curious if In Cold Blood would stand the test of time. It does, beautifully, and this is due to Capote's writing. He sets the stage; his descriptions capture what life was like in the late 50's. He approaches his subject matter as a reporter, remains unbiased, captures the facts, and sets the scene...Very highly recommended

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Sophisticated Dorkiness

Good
Reviewed by Kim on Sep 28 2011

If you haven’t read In Cold Blood, I definitely recommend it as a great, classic example of narrative nonfiction that is entirely creepy enough for an October read.

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Lit and Life

Good
Reviewed by Lisa on Sep 17 2013

If the Clutter murders occurred in 2013, it would make the national news for about one day and then disappear...But it would still stun and terrify a community as small and isolated as Holcomb and that may be one of the reasons this story still resonates with so many readers more than fifty years after it happened.

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https://suite101.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Marilyn Michaud on May 31 2009

However Capote’s text was viewed, what remains clear is that he told a quintessential American story in a new literary form that, for better or for worst, critics could not and will not stop talking about.

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Where Pen Meets Paper

Good
Reviewed by Andrew on Apr 30 2012

Overall, In Cold Blood was thrilling. At times, it was a slow read, but the suspicion among the characters made it incredibly intriguing. Reading like an NCIS or CSI investigation, it was simply fun.

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https://savidgereads.wordpress.com

Good
on Jun 15 2009

I am not the biggest fan of non fiction, I like the odd autobiography, diary or selection of letters but it’s not a genre I am drawn to. If I found more non fiction like this I think that I would possibly overdose on it all as this was utterly fantastic.

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Bundle of Books

Good
on Apr 02 2011

...it’s not a conventional murder mystery full of violent crime or soppy relatives trying to get through the ordeal. And yet it still shocking and after closing the book, I realised it would not easily be forgotten.

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https://www.heraldguide.com

Above average
Reviewed by Zachary Borey on Jun 22 2012

In Cold Blood is an interesting mystery because the reader gains a basic understanding of who did the crime just by reading the first chapter. In my opinion, the book starts off slowly and seems to drag. However, it is worth reading as the speed picks up towards the middle of the book.

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Reader Rating for In Cold Blood
87%

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