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In Cold Blood (Vintage International) [Kindle Edition]

Truman Capote
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,222 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $9.59
You Save: $5.41 (36%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

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.



Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"Until one morning in mid-November of 1959, few Americans--in fact, few Kansans--had ever heard of Holcomb. Like the waters of the river, like the motorists on the highway, and like the yellow trains streaking down the Santa Fe tracks, drama, in the shape of exceptional happenings, had never stopped there." If all Truman Capote did was invent a new genre--journalism written with the language and structure of literature--this "nonfiction novel" about the brutal slaying of the Clutter family by two would-be robbers would be remembered as a trail-blazing experiment that has influenced countless writers. But Capote achieved more than that. He wrote a true masterpiece of creative nonfiction. The images of this tale continue to resonate in our minds: 16-year-old Nancy Clutter teaching a friend how to bake a cherry pie, Dick Hickock's black '49 Chevrolet sedan, Perry Smith's Gibson guitar and his dreams of gold in a tropical paradise--the blood on the walls and the final "thud-snap" of the rope-broken necks.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In the wake of the award-winning film Capote, interest in the author's 1965 true crime masterpiece has spiked. Capote's spellbinding narrative plumbs the psychological and emotional depths of a senseless quadruple murder in America's heartland. In the audio version, narrator Brick keeps up with the master storyteller every step of the way. In fact, Brick's surefooted performance is nothing short of stunning. He settles comfortably into every character on this huge stage—male and female, lawman and murderer, teen and spinster—and moves fluidly between them, generating the feel of a full-cast production. He assigns varying degrees of drawl to the citizens of Finney County, Kans., where the crimes take place, and supplements with an arsenal of tension-building cadences, hard and soft tones, regional and foreign accents, and subtle inflections, even embedding a quiver of grief in the voice of one character. This facile audio actor delivers an award-worthy performance, well-suited for a tale of such power that moves not only around the country but around the territory of the human psyche and heart. Available as a Vintage paperback. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1410 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 067960023X
  • Publisher: Vintage (October 9, 2001)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC1IRM
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,713 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
256 of 262 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It made my blood run cold... April 11, 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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.

On assignment from the New Yorker, author Truman Capote, along with his assistant Nell Harper Lee, traveled to Holcomb in late 1959 to investigate the killings for an article. The article was completed, but still 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 Clutter killings became an obsession for him; and that obsession turned into a book that would become a literary milestone, that would singlehandedly introduce a new genre to the literary world: 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.

I didn't expect this book to move me so deeply. In most true crime books that are written today (at least in my experience), the evidence is presented straightforwardly, unemotionally; the facts are dry and textbook-like. Such is not the case with IN COLD BLOOD. Capote's prose is mesmerizing. His descriptions of Holcomb and its inhabitants are vivid and lively. His research is impeccable, presented flawlessly, lushly, sweeping the reader away on waves of vibrant language.
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370 of 396 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It Just Doesn't Get Any Better February 8, 2000
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
** PRODUCT UPDATE ** In early 2013 the Modern Library (a division of Random House) reissued four Capote works: a new PORTRAITS AND OBSERVATIONS, a combined OTHER VOICES, OTHER ROOMS and BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S, the collected SHORT STORIES and this one -- IN COLD BLOOD. Dust jackets are in harmonizing colors and common typography (see product photos); the books themselves are hardbound, in classic ML beige. A good price, too. Of course, IN COLD BLOOD is still available in paperback, too, as it has been ever since the mid-1960s.

The magnificence of "In Cold Blood" doesn't lie in the subject matter but in its treatment. There are--unfortunately--more depraved criminals and more elaborate police investigations detailed in a great many "true crime" accounts. But I doubt that any of them is as well written as "In Cold Blood."

I haul my copy out every 2-3 years just to remind myself how wonderful the rhythms and nuances of the American language can be at the hands of a master. I am totally drawn into the lives of the prosperous and completely unsuspecting Clutter family of western Kansas and the two drifters, Perry and Dick, who by themselves didn't amount to much but together proved lethal that fall night in 1959.

A trivia note: Capote's research assistant on this book was Nell Harper) Lee, who shortly after would become famous as the author of "To Kill a Mockingbird."

I'd recommend Gerald Clarke's excellent biography "Capote" to learn about this one-of-a-kind book, its creation, reception, and how it affected the author's life.

PRODUCT UPDATE (2012): The hardcover edition of IN COLD BLOOD with a photograph of the Clutter house on the cover is a quality edition issued by the Folio Society of Great Britain.
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63 of 65 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have meant to read this book for some time. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that seeing the Capote film is what finally induced me to read it, but I suppose that must be true. I had seen the film the previous weekend, bought this book during the following week, and just this past weekend, devoured it in all of two days.

Capote's masterpiece tells the story of the senseless, brutal killing of a rural Kansas family in 1959. It is beautifully written from start to finish -- in an understated way. If you come into this experience, as I did, conscious of the narcissism of the author, you might be surprised at the writing style. It is very humble, no Joycean or Nabokovian literary showing off. The story is paramount; the author does an amazing job of staying invisible, and respecting that story.

Respect is the feeling that is conveyed throughout the book. The telling is very respectful of the Clutter family; you learn of what remarkable people they were, even as they met their ends. The author is also fundamentally respectful of the people of the town, and of the local law enforcement. The book is not without its implied questioning of the judicial process, but again, I greatly appreciated the empathy and respect that pervaded the book.

This fundamental respect for human dignity even, in a more disturbing way, pervades even the discussion of the lives of the killers. The author candidly relates the biographies of these two men. On one level, this conveys an understanding of how they came to be what they were, but on a deeper level, it's all still a mystery. Left unanswered, still, is what really causes a man to be a killer.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Best True Crime I've Ever Read
"I think there must be something wrong with us, to go and do something like that."--Perry Smith

The progenitor of the true crime genre, Truman Capote's 1966... Read more
Published 20 hours ago by Sarah B
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional
Great read Story had such amazing detail, you just wonder all the research and work Capote put into writing this great true crime novel.
Published 2 days ago by Kevin N
5.0 out of 5 stars even good, aspect of -not only the two main figures
I am more of a consumer than producer. However, even I know of Mr. Capote's work and reputation, though living in the Czech Republic my choice of reading matter pre-Kindle was more... Read more
Published 2 days ago by maurice jensen
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, well written story
Excellent book. Very well written. It is a true story but told in an exceptional narrative Truman Capote.
Published 4 days ago by Peter Philips
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
As dealer described.
Published 5 days ago by Michael and Stacie Reyes
5.0 out of 5 stars It a great one
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to read true crime books ! I rated 5 stars because the book was a page turn . Read more
Published 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars "The suffering. The horror. They were dead. A whole family. Gentle,...
"The suffering. The horror. They were dead. A whole family. Gentle, kindly people, people I knew - murdered. Read more
Published 6 days ago by sally tarbox
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
excellant! A must read!
Published 7 days ago by martha martel
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gripping True Story
One of my all time favorites!
Published 9 days ago by Carly B
5.0 out of 5 stars Bone chilling
It scares me to think that people on this planet can be so cold blooded. This isn't an episode of CSI or a Lifetime movie of the week. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Bobby Stolp
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More About the Author

Truman Capote was born in New Orleans in 1925 and was raised in various parts of the south, his family spending winters in New Orleans and summers in Alabama and New Georgia. By the age of fourteen he had already started writing short stories, some of which were published. He left school when he was fifteen and subsequently worked for the New Yorker which provided his first - and last - regular job. Following his spell with the New Yorker, Capote spent two years on a Louisiana farm where he wrote Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948). He lived, at one time or another, in Greece, Italy, Africa and the West Indies, and travelled in Russia and the Orient. He is the author of many highly praised books, including A Tree of Night and Other Stories (1949), The Grass Harp (1951), Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958), In Cold Blood (1965), which immediately became the centre of a storm of controversy on its publication, Music for Chameleons (1980) and Answered Prayers (1986), all of which are published by Penguin. Truman Capote died in August 1984.

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Is this based on a 'real' true story or a faux one?
Yes, "In Cold Blood" was one of the first "TRUE" crime novels, and also written by a truly gifted writer, the late Truman Capote.

For more detail: please see two films: "In Cold Blood", from the ?1970's? I think; and from a year or two ago the film... Read More
Dec 8, 2009 by gilly8 |  See all 17 posts
Similar fiction?
Try two books on the Leopold & Loeb murder of Bobby Franks: COMPULSION (fiction) by Meyer Levin, while CRIME OF THE CENTURY by Hal Higdon (non-fiction). Both have psychological insight into the killers' minds, as the trial saw much psychiatric testimony. Like with in IN COLD BLOOD, Leopold and... Read More
Dec 16, 2008 by K.A.Goldberg |  See all 8 posts
Disliked "In Cold Blood"--Am I the only one on the planet? Be the first to reply
I don't understand the price-point Be the first to reply
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